The Defenders Saga: 10 Things Newbies Need to Know Before Starting the Marvel Series


The Defenders Saga has made its impact on Disney+, but those unfamiliar with this collection of connected shows might be quite confused in regards to the origins, the characters involved with them, how they impact the future of this shared franchise, and what their link is to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

New viewers are sure to be diving into these many shows and there’s a proper viewing order for the series as well. So for those looking to get some hints and tips about what to expect, this should be a roundup of all the major headlines regarding this superhero saga.

Netflix Origins

Unlike the many other Marvel Studios shows on Disney+, The Defenders Saga did not begin its life on the streaming platform. Its development was overseen by Marvel Television, a company under the umbrella of Marvel Entertainment and separate from the MCU.

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The shows were made in conjunction with Netflix and placed on the streaming service as exclusive originals. While the rights might now belong to Disney, the general idea was that Marvel and Netflix would work in partnership to craft their shared universe, involving these street-level vigilantes.

Original MCU Status

Even though they shared a universe, the shows in The Defenders Saga were partially linked to the wider MCU. The TV shows would acknowledge the events of the movies, from the New York incident to the existence of Thor and Iron Man flying around.

However, the movies in turn never referred to these Netflix series. Interestingly, Marvel’s wider television shows, whether that’s Cloak & Dagger, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., or perhaps The Runaways made direct reference to the scenarios and powerful characters from the Netflix series.

Arrival On Disney+

The arrival of the Netflix shows on Disney+ caught plenty of people by surprise. Not only was Marvel Studios previously hesitant to mention the series, but it seemed impossible to imagine Disney bringing the shows under their brand once more. However, Disney+ made a huge deal of their arrival.

With Netflix losing the rights to the characters and series, Disney ensured that they could bring them home with every other Marvel character. The many shows were titled The Defenders Saga and put together in a single collection. It was the first instance of Disney bringing these street-level characters closer to their projects, but they still weren’t included in the official MCU timelines.

Characters Involved

The characters involved in these shows perhaps won’t be quite as well known to mainstream audiences but are massive names in the comics. Colleen Wing, Kingpin, Misty Knight, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Elektra, Daredevil, Micro, The Punisher, and Hellcat are just a few iconic figures from the source material to feature on screen.

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The series introduced such a wide array of characters from the comics that its impact on the wider Marvel saga could not be ignored. Interestingly, The Defenders team of the comics features very few of these screen characters, with the team instead consisting of the likes of Hulk, Namor, Doctor Strange, and Silver Surfer.

Best Marvel Casting

The original Netflix shows are widely considered to have some of the best castings in Marvel history. Almost every single actor that has been placed in their role has embodied the comic book hero or villain most unbelievably. There are of course some major standouts though.

Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin, Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, Kristen Ritter as Jessica Jones, and Jon Bernthal as The Punisher are some particular standouts that are being talked about in regards to a return to the Marvel Universe because of their performances.

Age Rating

It’s really important to know that this isn’t exactly a family-friendly saga in comparison to the rest of the MCU. The ratings of these shows are R, meaning that there’s blood, sex, and a lot of strong languages. There are frightening sequences and moments of sheer brutality.

For many, that has been a breath of fresh air, with an edge being added to this Marvel content. If it is to be brought into the MCU in the future though, those clashing tones will have to be dealt with, in the same way as Deadpool’s emergence into the shared universe.

The Watch Order

Is there a specific watch order for these shows? Well in general it’s best to view them all in release order, which can be found quite easily on the release date information. The Defenders hits at a very specific time for instance and because the shows crossover, it’s vital to get there at the right time.

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However, in regards to the wider MCU, it’s a lot more lenient. It’s perhaps best to view these stories as taking place before Thanos’ invasion, as there’s no mention at all of those events. What’s more, all the stories conclude before Phase 4 of the MCU.

Current MCU Connections

The Marvel Cinematic Universe couldn’t ignore the Netflix shows any longer and in reaction to their arrival on Disney+, the main timeline decided to introduce these characters. The continuity appears to be the same, but there is a soft-reboot happening of sorts so that viewers don’t have to go back to the shows.

Spider-Man: No Way Home first brought in Matt Murdock, before Hawkeye saw the return of the Kingpin. These events are taking place years after the Netflix shows and thus the characters have moved on a great deal since audiences would have last seen them.

Lack Of Conclusion

The Defenders Saga never actually got the conclusion that it deserved. It was canceled before all the shows could fully wrap up. That seemed like such a shame at the time, as the series had gained a loyal following and these characters had earned some kind of finale.

However, now that the characters are being brought into the MCU, their screen time can be greatly extended. That means that it wasn’t a farewell, but simply a minor goodbye for the time being. Now that Kingpin and Daredevil’s stories are confirmed to continue, fans are excited to see others as well.

Future Of The Saga

The future of these characters seemed up in the air for a long time. However, the street-level side of the MCU appears to be making a comeback. Echo, a Disney+ series that is spinning off of Hawkeye, has seemingly confirmed that both Kingpin and Daredevil will return.

What’s more, the likes of Jessica Jones will also have her presence felt here, alongside potentially shows like She-Hulk. The future is wide open for so many more opportunities. Newcomers need to know that if they start on this saga, the plots and individuals involved will potentially have a major impact on future releases.



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