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It would be a Marvel Comics’ fan’s dream come true: a crossover of epic proportions, of characters coming together from their individual worlds, to work as a team.
Marvel’s The Defenders will make that happen with its four street-level heroes in New York City, but the team-up of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist does add another series for fans to binge. Yet the Marvel machine doesn’t worry about superhero fatigue — even with the addition of The Punisher, starring Jon Bernthal, to the Marvel-Netflix lineup. “I don’t know that you’d be asking this question if we were a medical show or a law show or a cop show,” Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb explains. “I think the other part that separates us from, let’s just say, our distinguished competition” — obliquely referencing DC shows like Arrow and The Flash that populate The CW — “is that we take place in a very real, grounded world. We’ve always said that there is a fifth Defender, and that is New York.”
Speaking of New York, does that mean that The Defenders will visit New York-based Doctor Strange, cross over with other Marvel series like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or enter the realm of the films? “You’re trying to trap me into saying, ‘Hashtag, it’s all connected,'” Loeb says, chuckling. “If the story warrants it, we will obviously do our best to have folks cross into each other’s story lines.”
For now, the company’s film and television arms continue to make sure each of the superhero stories can stand alone, no matter the size of the screen. “We certainly communicate with each other in terms of what we’re doing and what we have planned and the characters that we’re using and where it’s all going,” Loeb says of working with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who oversees the films. That helps limit the fatigue, but also poses a personal problem for Loeb: “Unfortunately for me as a fan,” he says, “I tend to know more about what’s happening in the movies than I want to know.” Only fans receive spoiler alerts, after all.
Marvel’s The Defenders hits Netflix summer 2017.