Breaking down the first trailer for Netflix's The Defenders

Contributed by
May 3, 2017

The separate corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to collide with each passing movie, and the same can be said about Netflix’s New York corner with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist converging in The Defenders miniseries on August 18.

They join forces to protect New York from a threat that’s bigger than corrupt city politicians and Kingpin crime bosses. We’re not exactly sure what they’re ultimately up against, but we can assume there will probably be ninjas. Lots and lots of ninjas. The first trailer officially dropped today, set to Nirvana's "Come As You Are," we've picked it apart to try and gauge what the first season of Defenders is about.


If you scratched your head at how all the four stories would converge, wonder no more, as the trailer starts out with private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) being questioned by police, wearing blood on her face and being questioned by Misty Knight (Simone Missick). It seems as if Jones stuck her nose where it didn’t belong as Knight accuses her of stealing evidence from a crime scene and getting her one lead killed. Matthew Murdock, Attorney at Law AKA Daredevil (Charlie Cox) bursts into the box claiming to represent Jones. This looks to be the first time Jessica meets Matthew in the MCU.

After the Netflix and Marvel place card, we pick up with what appears to be a morning after conversation between Claire (Rosario Dawson) and Luke Cage (Mike Colter). We'll recall at the end of Luke Cage Season 1, Claire and Luke struck up a relationship and she seemed willing to wait for him to serve out his jail sentence. Someone is taking surveillance pictures of trains and given Jessica's line of work, we'll assume that's her.


While Luke has been in Jail, Claire has appeared in the first season of Iron Fist, where we find out that she is taking self-defense classes from Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) and meets Danny Rand (Finn Jones). Claire asks Luke how being Harlem’s hero allows him to live an actual life? Luke answers that he just wants to help people, which prompts Claire to suggest he meet someone.

Cut to Danny Rand (Finn Jones) roughing up someone in an alley before meeting Luke Cage, without getting that proper introduction by Claire because, after a measuring of powers and abilities...  this happens...

We’ll assume that this punch ends the alley fight and Iron Fist takes Cage back to the No. 1 meeting place in all of Hell’s Kitchen, Colleen Wing’s dojo. Claire assures both Danny and Luke that they’re fighting on the same side of the law. This is the first of what should be many Heroes for Hire moments as we get a handful of Cage and Fist moments in the trailer.


A voiceover of Daredevil's childhood mentor and sometimes adversary Stick (Scott Glenn) begins, who is addressing the Defenders. “You, four. The devil in Hell’s Kitchen, the smart-ass detective, the righteous ex-con, and the kid with a glowing fist. The war for New York is here...” As a picture of Elektra (Elodie Yung) lying in a sarcophagus in the red sheet that the Hand wrapped her in after digging up her grave. The uncovering of her corpse is to show she’s baaaaaack. Wow, Elektra just can't stay dead, no matter the medium.

A ripple of energy rips through a handful of scenes, flipping parked cars, chairs and putting Luke and Danny on their behinds. We also get Sigourney Weaver with a villainous look over the shoulder shot as she looks down at the city. Her character Alexandra is a Wilson Fisk-type villain, pulling puppet strings, but she has no obvious ties to the comic books, but this is a Marvel Netflix series so she likely will at some point and while we don't know it yet, the magnitude of having Weaver involved in the Defenders must mean it's a big baddie. That the scenes of that ripple of energy ended with her reveal in the trailer, leads me to believe she may have some Inhuman or supernatural type powers. 

Stick continues, “So you better get your s#!t together.” There are flashes of two action scenes with Colleen Wing and Murdock, as henchmen begin flying around the screen.

Race to another Marvel-Netflix hallway fight scene; this time it’s amplified by four now, which may thrill you or bore you, depending on how long it is, or how tired you are of seeing these. While these can be thrilling to watch and satisfy the inner martial arts fan in you, every time we see them we expect to see something different or innovative to raise the bar. At least Elektra is involved so it’s not just the usual throngs of henchmen throwing themselves at our Defenders to no avail, though there is sure to be plenty of that too. Elektra gets at least one good lick in, sending Murdock flying through one of the walls. That may be the difference here as the fight gets so big that they have to go through the walls to finish it... in other hallways. Then again, Murdock deserved it for putting Jessica's gray scarf around his head to "hide" his identity. 

Alexandra does speak once, saying "The more connections you have, the easier it will be to break you." She could be speaking to any one here since they are now all connected, but we'll assume it's one of the Defenders and not someone like Claire.


Unfotunately, the trailer ends on a bad note, with Danny Rand opening his mouth and inserting his foot as he has a catchy description for everyone except Jessica. Hopefully they keep this to a minimum as the last thing the Defenders need is Iron Fist mansplaining throughout the season like he did in Iron Fist, in fact, Iron Fist weakened my excitement for the Defenders. I don't know if I was alone in that thought but for now, I'm willing to give this a shot. However, Danny and Jessica may be supplying the comic relief to make sure the series doesn't take itself too seriously. So be prepared.

The Defenders is developed by Marco Ramirez (who has worked on series such as Sons of Anarchy, Da Vinci's Demons, and Daredevil) and Douglas Petrie (who was a staff writer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Horror Story: Coven, and was the showrunner on Netflix's Daredevil Season 2). While the first season of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage were widely acclaimed by critics and fans, the second season of Daredevil and first season of Iron Fist were hit and miss, continuing the plague of weak villain treatments (not counting Cottonmouth). We're hoping they take all of the good elements of each of the show and find a way to stich it together to feel as one. Already one improvement already is that The Defenders Season 1 is only eight episodes long, as one of the common complaints about all Marvel-Netflix series is the length.

Regarding this trailer, Elektra wasn't necessarily a surprise given how Daredevil Season 2 was left, but Stick was and that makes me excited, and any scene with Claire is a good one. What was that city-wide investigation that Jessica interrupted? Who is Alexandra and what origins does she have to the comics, if any? Will she be a just a crime lord or will she have some supernatural power too? What did you think of the first trailer of The Defenders?