In November of 2013, Netflix announced that they would be collaborating with Marvel to create four live action series and one mini-series. Four years later, we’re finally getting the completion of that announcement.
Matt Murdock, who would later become Daredevil, first appeared 1964’s Daredevil #1. Matt has made the most appearances of the Defenders, both animated and live action, appearing in his own movie played by the current Batman, Ben Affleck, and in the 1977 Incredible Hulk series before getting two seasons of his own show. Matt, the son of a boxer, pushes someone out of the way of an oncoming truck. The truck spills some chemicals, splashing Matt’s eyes, and while he loses his sight, his other senses are enhanced. The story has been told many times, and the popular team of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even parody it (and Daredevil as a whole, Foot soldiers = Hand ninjas, etc.). Matt’s the oldest character in the comics, debuting 8 years before Luke Cage, the second oldest, he’s also arguably the most popular. Matt has over the years also built up quite a rogues gallery, including the ever popular Kingpin, Bullseye, and Elektra (though she’s more of an anti-hero). Daredevil season 2 was also a launching pad for another one of Marvel’s more dark heroes; The Punisher, who will be getting his own series this November.
Danny Rand, later to be known as the Iron Fist, was created in 1974, first appearing in Marvel Premiere #15. Since then he’s had a large number of appearances, and currently has 2 ongoing comics (Iron Fists and Iron Fist). Danny’s father was obsessed with returning to the mystic city of K’unn L’unn, taking his family with him. On the way there Danny loses both of his parents but is saved by the people of K’unn L’unn, staying there for years. After passing all the trials, Danny is chosen to fight Shou-Lao and after defeating the dragon gains the mantle of the Iron Fist. Danny saw his first live action appearance earlier this year, but has made appearances in animated series before, first appearing in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, before becoming a main character in Ultimate Spider-Man. Danny is often seen with his best friend Luke Cage, as they started the Heroes for Hire together. Danny is also commonly in a relationship with Misty Knight, a supporting character in the first season of Luke Cage.
Jessica, the newest creation of the show’s lineup, was created by Brian Michael Bendis in 2001’s Alias (although she did unofficially show up in Amazing Spider-Man #4, back in 1963). She has yet to make an animated appearance, most likely due to the mature nature of her character and origin. A young girl loses her family in a car accident, and after finally waking up from her coma discovers she has powers. She is then held captive by the Purple Man, a demented villain with mind controlling abilities, until she finally manages to escape from his control. Her self-titled show was her first and only live action appearance (and adaptation outside of comics). Eventually in the comics, Jessica married and had a child with a fellow Defender, Luke Cage.
Luke first appeared in Luke Cage: Hero For Hire in 1972. A prison experiment results in an inmate, later to take on the name of Luke Cage, getting bulletproof skin and super strength. Luke has gained a decent amount of popularity over the years, eventually resulting in him getting a supporting role in 2015’s Jessica Jones before getting his own show the next year. Luke later ended up in a relationship with Jessica Jones, eventually getting married and having a child together. Luke had a few animated appearances, most of the time with his best friend, Iron Fist.
The Defenders first appeared in Marvel Feature #1 in 1971, created by writer Roy Thomas. They were originally the team of The Hulk, Namor the Submariner, and Doctor Strange. The team was sold as a dysfunctional group and this has held fast up to the modern incarnation of the team, or the one we’ll be seeing on the show. After that first lineup the team saw a lot of new additions, at one point or another featuring Ant-Man, Black Cat, Red She-Hulk, Black Knight, Hellcat, Hawkeye, and much more. The team has seen one animated appearance, in Avengers Assemble, the episode titled Planet Doom. The team was made up of Clint Barton, using the name Bullseye, Spider-Man, and the Falcon, with Thor joining them. Since the Defenders do have such a different lineup all the time, it’s often difficult to recognize the team at a glance, despite this, people were still upset after the announcement, claiming that the team we’ll be getting in the show is inaccurate the Defenders, and is more like the Heroes for Hire, despite that the show has received a lot of excitement in the last few months, and has generally positive reception, despite some people taking issue with certain parts of the miniseries. It’s currently streaming on Netflix, so now that you’re familiar with their background, make sure to check it out.
Written by: Ari, @R_E_L_K on Twitter