By Shirley Li
January 17, 2017 at 05:57 AM EST
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

For more on Marvel’s The Defenders, including exclusive photographs and interviews, pick up Entertainment Weekly on stands, or buy it here now. And don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

They may seem like old friends now, but the four stars of Marvel’s The Defenders — Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), and Finn Jones (Iron Fist) — had a memorably raucous first meeting.

Last October, the leads met at New York Comic Con to the cheers of hundreds of fans. Cox, Ritter, and Colter had hung out before — Ritter and Colter worked together on Jessica Jones as well — but it was their first opportunity to meet Jones, who had been cast a few months earlier. “We clicked in this magical way right away. When I met Finn, the first time, we were just like, ‘Blah blah blah blah blah!'” Ritter tells EW as she forms puppets with her hands, miming their first conversation. “It was like, obviously we’re going to be best friends.”

On stage, the experience of being together felt just as exciting, even for Cox, who says he tries to avoid crowds as much as possible. “It was nuts,” Cox says. “I don’t like that kind of attention, as Charlie. It’s not my idea of fun, but I’m very proud of the show, and those guys are so enthusiastic, you do get to feel momentarily like you’re Bono. You feel like a proper rock star.”

Just don’t say it’s like the Beatles. “Everybody keeps going, ‘It was like the Beatles!’ I’m like, ‘It’s not like the Beatles, come on,'” Colter says. Even so, he says it was hard to argue against the riotous reaction Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb received when he announced Sigourney Weaver’s casting and brought her out to meet the fans:

Jones had the most surreal experience, after shooting a 16-hour day shortly before the meeting. “To put it in context, I’d just been filming for six months, I’d just finished shooting Iron Fist and wrapped it the morning of Comic Con,” he remembers. “I wrapped at, like, 10 a.m. in the morning, I went home and slept for two-and-a-half hours, and then I had to go to Comic Con.”

“And then suddenly thrown in to an audience of thousands of people, showing them the work for the first time, meeting the Defenders, meeting loads of screaming fans, it was just insane,” he continues. “I was numb for the whole thing, because it was overwhelming. Suddenly, I’m on a stage in front of everyone, Sigourney Weaver comes out, which I didn’t know about, and then the rest of the Defenders, meeting them for the first time, in front of thousands of people. I was just like, ‘What the f— is going on?!’… It was honestly one of the most intense days of my life.”

At least that intensity led to a first cast photo:

Marvel’s The Defenders hits Netflix this summer.

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