Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Connections between the Defenders and the MCU

Note:  My meeting went too long to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night, so I'm going to flip-flop my articles for the next two days.  This was supposed to publish tomorrow, but I'm publishing it today.  Tomorrow morning my review for "One Door Closes" will be up (assuming nothing gets in the way).

One of my favorite parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is how interconnected all of the movies and TV shows are, so the second part of my mini-series looking forward to Daredevil and The Defenders (so is the team-up going to involve them starting a band?) will be a look at connections between The Defenders and the rest of the MCU.

As of now very little is known about Daredevil, and almost nothing has been revealed about A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders, so the list of known connections is very small, and all of them come from Daredevil.  There may be a couple spoilers in this article for the comics and from the promotional material released for Daredevil, but not a lot.  After all, the shows aren’t out yet!

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The first connection comes from a fight billing released a couple months ago.  Matt Murdock’s father, “Battlin’ Jack” Murdock, is listed to fight against Carl “Crusher” Creel, aka “Absorbing Man.”  Creel appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the beginning of Season 2 as a “gifted individual” brainwashed into working for Hydra.  There haven’t been any set photos to indicate whether or not Creel himself will appear on the show, or if he will have his powers yet, or if he will actually fight Daredevil, but he is at least being referenced.

The second connection is in the background of the second Daredevil motion poster, above Matt Murdock and a little to the right:

In the New York skyline behind Matt Murdock, you can see the silhouette of the Avengers Tower.  In The Avengers, it was the Stark Tower until Loki commandeered it to open his portal.  At the end of The Avengers, Tony started working on blueprints to turn the tower into a base of operations for the Avengers.  It does not appear in Iron Man 3, but by Captain America: The Winter Soldier the outside has been completed (and is even visible when the Insight Helicarriers are starting their target identification program).  During The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers will be using the Avengers Tower as their base of operations.  Will any of the Avengers appear in Daredevil?  It’s doubtful, but they are certainly going to be present in spirit in Matt Murdock’s and Wilson Fisk’s efforts at rebuilding Hell’s Kitchen and cleaning up the crime.

The final connection—following in the same vein as the previous one—is in a throwaway line of dialogue from one of the trailers in which one of Daredevil’s friends makes the comment that it would make more sense for him to be fighting crime if he had a metal shield or a super powerful hammer or a metal suit.  As I said above, I don’t think any of the Avengers will actually appear on Daredevil, but they will still have a presence.

Okay, here’s one that’s not from Daredevil.  There is one other possible connection, this time with Luke Cage:  Seagate Prison.  Seagate Prison is where Trevor Slattery (aka the Mandarin Impersonator) and Justin Hammer are serving their sentences in the Marvel One-Shot “All Hail the King.”  In the comics, Luke Cage serves his prison sentence there as well, and it is where the experiment which gives him superpowers takes place.  So far as I know, they haven’t said anything about bringing the Seagate Prison connection into his MCU origin, but it is entirely possible that they will.

As far as I can tell, these are really the only connections between The Defenders corner of the MCU and the rest of the MCU.  From what Marvel and Netflix have said, all of the series will be taking place in New York City, where portions of four movies (The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers) happened, but those scenes involved different areas of New York—not Hell’s Kitchen.  None of the characters who appear in the movies or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been announced as having parts in Daredevil or A.K.A. Jessica Jones.  However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other connections which we will discover as we watch the series, so here are some of my thoughts on other possible connections.

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Given the timing of the Marvel/Sony deal, I don’t expect this to happen in the first season of Daredevil.  However, given the connections between Spider-Man and Daredevil in the comics, I think it would be possible at some point in the future to see both of them share the screen in a TV episode or movie.  This could come in Daredevil season 2, [The Spectacular] Spider-Man, or The Defenders—and since the new Spider-Man movie and The Defenders season 1 will both (likely) come out the same year, it would be a really wild connection for them to make between the two properties if Daredevil cameos in Spider-Man and Spider-Man shows up for an episode of The Defenders in return.  Considering the rumors that they are setting up Spider-Man to be the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years to come, it would make a lot of sense to use him as a bridge between the Netflix properties and the big screen Avengers, since he is at home in both realms in the comics.  And considering that they are introducing him as a high schooler so we can watch him grow up into the Peter Parker we know from the comics, it would make a lot of sense to work him into several different properties so we can see him in action and watch him grow and mature as a character and as a hero.

Since the events of Daredevil look to be picking up where the battle with the Chitauri in The Avengers left off, another possible connection is for some of Matt Murdock’s cases to involve citizens suing the government/S.H.I.E.L.D./Tony Stark personally for damages as a result of the destruction caused by the battle.  This—or contractors gouging their customers while billing for repair jobs—could be just the push that Matt Murdock needs to start his vigilante career.  A side benefit of this connection would be seeing the effect of super-powered battles on ordinary people, helping to set up the need for a Superhuman Registration Act (or whatever the MCU equivalent turns out to be) to make sure that someone is held accountable for damage caused by super-powered battles.  Seeing how people were hurt by the Chitauri invasion could be exactly what we need to sympathize with Tony Stark’s position on registration in Captain America: Civil War—even more than seeing his guilt over creating Ultron during The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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A.K.A. Jessica Jones

As I mentioned last week, Carol Danvers and Jessica Jones are actually very good friends in the comics:  Carol is a regular client of Jessica’s detective agency.  They could build this friendship into the MCU through the A.K.A. Jessica Jones series by introducing Carol Danvers into the MCU as one of Jessica’s first clients.  For all we know that is actually part of their plan, especially if the rumor that Carol Danvers has already secretly been cast turns out to be true.  [Note:  Nerdist News has a source saying that at least part of this rumor is false—the part about Danvers appearing in The Avengers: Age of Ultron—but she may still have been cast, so an introduction in A.K.A. Jessica Jones is still a possibility].

We know very little about A.K.A. Jessica Jones, but we do know that she will be working as a private detective.  I wonder if at least a couple of the first episodes will focus on Jessica working cases (one of which could be for Carol Danvers)—in other words, a “case of the week” format.  I doubt that will hold true for the entire series—or even more than say 3-5 episodes, but a couple of episodes like that would help to set her up as a super-powered private detective who’s been active for a while.  In any event, if they choose the “case of the week” format for a couple early episodes, one or more of her cases could be related to the Chitauri invasion. Alternatively, she could be hired by an Avenger.  Imagine if Tony Stark were to show up and hire Jessica Jones to figure out who leaked his Iron Man designs to North Korea!

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Luke Cage

(Note:  Marvel Studios announced a showrunner for Luke Cage on Tuesday, and also confirmed that the show will be released in 2016)

Given Luke Cage’s longstanding position in the comics as an anti-hero/super-powered mercenary and only reluctantly as a hero, he might be the easiest to connect to the larger MCU of the four characters.  Given that he really works both sides in the comics, both heroes and villains from the MCU could be involved as clients, customers, or even targets.  He could end up being hired by his old Seagate Prison buddy Justin Hammer to provide security for one of Hammer’s facilities, only to turn around and stop whatever illegal activity is going on there.  Alternatively, Bruce Banner might hire him to help Betty Ross escape from her overprotective father.  Will something like this happen?  It’s doubtful, but certainly not impossible.

After the “prison break” staged in the Marvel One-Shot “All Hail the King,” what if the first season of Luke Cage involves Luke attempting to track the fake reporter down to avenge a friend from prison who was killed in the escape?  This would help connect Luke Cage to Iron Man 3, and even set up the “return” of the Mandarin—this time the actual Mandarin.  The “Real Mandarin” might be too big for a Netflix show, but they could certainly use Luke Cage to set him up to appear in Iron Man 4 if and when it happens.  Again, is this going to happen?  Probably not, but it would be really cool if it did happen!

Iron Fist

Danny Rand’s family company has already appeared in a promo for Daredevil as possibly being responsible for the chemicals which blinded Matt Murdock and enhanced his other senses.  However, his company could also be revealed as business partners or rivals of one of the other major companies appearing in the MCU, specifically Hammer, Stark, or Pym.

The Defenders

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This holds true for all of the series, but especially for this one:  S.H.I.E.L.D.  I’ve seen some speculation that the character of Claire Temple, whose character is being combined with that of the “Night Nurse” (Linda Carter), could play the Nick Fury role in bringing the Defenders together.  However, what if Phil Coulson shows up in Hell’s Kitchen and asks them for help tying up some loose ends on the Hydra front?  Maybe Coulson decides he needs his own team of superheroes—an equivalent to Fury’s Avengers team—and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in New York City tells him about the four new superheroes emerging in Hell’s Kitchen.

Another option in The Defenders is to look at possible villains they could face.  Any of the (living) villains in the MCU are options, even super villains like the Abomination who are too powerful for any individual hero (short of Thor or the Hulk) to take on alone.  There are also numerous villains who had been in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody but were freed by Agent Garrett as part of his campaign to spread disorder and confusion.  Could one of them (maybe even Graviton) be the main villain for The Defenders?  They may even use one of the Spider-Man villains to which they now have access, setting him up to play a larger role in [The Spectacular] Spider-Man, which (as mentioned above) may be coming out around the same time that The Defenders is released—which would set up The Defenders as a prequel of sorts to the Spider-Man solo film.

So what do you think?  How will Daredevil and The Defenders be connected to the MCU?  What possible connections can you think of that I missed?  Let me know in the comments!

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  1. What powers does Jessica Jones have?

    1. I went through all of their powers in my first Defenders article last week (

      In the comics, her powers include flight, limited invulnerability, and super strength, among others. Think a "Poor Man's Super Girl" and you've got the idea (at least in terms of abilities; the characters themselves are vastly different).