An over-analysis of The Defenders trailer
Just four 'friends,' saving New York
A bulletproof man, a blind ninja, a smart-ass detective, and a kid with an iron fist walk into a bar, except that bar is New York, and there’s a war brewing. What could go wrong?
Netflix dropped the trailer for its long-awaited small-screen Marvel team-up series The Defenders Wednesday morning, and it’s a doozy of first impressions among the titular foursome with enough plot points and Easter eggs to fill up a hole in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen. As Jessica Jones would say, let’s start at the beginning.
“Jessica Jones. Stop Talking.”
Jessica’s in trouble when The Defenders begins, but what else is new? A couple of things, in fact: She’s in trouble with Luke Cage‘s Misty Knight, who’s interrogating her for screwing up an investigation, and she meets Matt Murdock, who walks in to represent his future ally.
This scene should get fans of the original Jessica Jones comics Alias excited. In issue No. 3, Daredevil and Jessica meet the same way with roughly the same lines, albeit with a different case (involving Captain America, by the way!) and a different interrogator cornering the P.I.:
Also in the comics, Luke calls up Matt to help Jessica out of her tight spot — and Jessica, being Jessica, forgets that she’s met Matt once before. In the series, it looks the two are complete strangers, with Matt simply stepping in to help Jessica out of a tight spot because he smells a case worth pursuing.
For eagle-eyed (and obsessive) viewers, there’s one more small clue to inspect from the opening moments of the trailer. Take a look at the labeled file folders Misty drops on the table:
Now take a closer look. (Enhance!) What’s the name on the bottom folder?
It’s “Ducasse, Malcolm,” as in Jessica’s Kilgrave’d neighbor-turned-unofficial-assistant. Now, this could just be a small detail underlining the fact that Malcolm is squarely on Jessica’s side now and worked with her on whatever she did to attract Misty’s ire. But it could also have something to do with what Misty’s saying: She chides Jessica for getting in the way and getting her one lead killed. “I was trying to help him,” Jessica pleads. “But you didn’t,” Misty replies.
With that in mind, could the lead who died be Malcolm, a man Jessica tried to help who had deep ties to both Kilgrave and Will, Jessica Jones‘ secondary villain? Could Malcolm’s death be the catalyst for Jessica’s dogged investigation into Midland Circle? And where’s Trish in all this?
“I’m the Immortal Iron Fist.” “You what?”
Leave it up to Claire to bring the heroes together. After Luke is released from Seagate, he leaves Harlem behind and reunites with the Defenders’ designated healer, who introduces him to Danny Rand. Their first meeting doesn’t go smoothly, it seems: Danny chases an intruder to Colleen’s dojo, only to be interrupted by Luke, who takes Danny’s punch in a shot that echoes this one from Luke Cage:
And yes, that is Colleen with Danny heading back to her dojo:
In an interview with EW earlier this month, Jessica Henwick, who plays Colleen, teased that her character begins The Defenders abroad. Maybe this scene comes a few episodes in?
One more takeaway from this sequence between Luke and Danny: Luke’s bewildered reaction to Danny declaring he’s the immortal Iron Fist plays a lot like this scene from Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s not the only moment from this trailer reminiscent of a Marvel film — but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Stick’s back… to lead group therapy.
The inimitable Scott Glenn returns from down under in The Leftovers to Hell’s Kitchen as Stick, who preps the Defenders for a looming war. His voiceover’s pretty much the same thing that played over the teaser trailer last summer, complete with the sounds of “Come As You Are,” only this time it’s peppered with extra-nifty descriptions of the anti-heroes he’s tasked with protecting the city. (Picking on Danny seems to be a running theme, but hey, Marvel’s The Kid With the Glowing Fist would have been a much more amusing title.)
Better yet, this montage gives us a few clues to what’s going on with the scrappy teammates: First off, Matt’s got his suit tucked away neatly in a chest, and he doesn’t look too eager to put it back on:
That tracks with actor Charlie Cox’s tease about where Daredevil begins in The Defenders. As he told EW in January, Matt’s “perhaps a little bit lost, and the best he can do for now is to not engage in his vigilante activities.” Hanging up the suit — or rather, keeping it in a box — is one way to do that.
There’s also this intriguing moment in the trailer showing the team facing off against someone off-screen. Look carefully, and you’ll notice that Matt’s back in his suit to the left behind Danny, which means these scenes arrive shortly after Matt comes to terms with his vigilante identity. But are they training as a team? Is Stick choreographing the Defenders’ new dance routine? Whatever’s going on, they chose quite a run-down location to do it: The place looks trashed enough to rival the remains of the Fyre Festival.
Moreover, we see a shot of a mysterious figure holding a katana, just as a voiceover from Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra plays. “The more connections you have,” she says, “the easier it will be to break you.” Who could this connection be? We get a few more clues as the trailer moves on…
A new war, and a known enemy
Midway through Stick’s warning about the war for New York, we catch a new glimpse of Alexandra. She’s again elevated above the streets of New York dressed in white, but this time, she’s looking over her shoulder. Maybe she knows what Stick’s up to with his motley crew of heroes, or maybe that smirk at the end points to her having something else:
As in, the Hand’s weapon Black Sky, a.k.a. Elektra. The Defenders hasn’t been shy with teasing her return, and here we see the urn — tagged with kanji characters that mean “resuscitation” in Japanese — opening and revealing a very-much-alive-looking Elektra inside. She quickly gets back in action: It’s hard to tell, but it’s Elodie Yung as Elektra in the shots of a woman fending off (or maybe training?) with a group of men. (Note the reddish top.)
The Hallway Fight Scene you’ve been waiting for
What’s a Marvel-Netflix series without a hallway showdown? EW was on set for the filming of this sequence, in which all four Defenders get a chance to knock out at least one of Alexandra’s expendable henchmen while inside the offices of the shady Midland Circle. Look to Matt’s outfit again for when this takes place in the series: He’s dressed in his civilian clothing, with Jessica’s scarf wrapped around his head to hide his identity. (When she points out that he looks like an idiot, he fires back that “it’s your scarf,” which really isn’t the best comeback for a lawyer, but who am I to judge?)
More importantly, take a closer look at what’s going on behind the shenanigans in the scene. While everyone’s fighting, Elektra casually strolls in from the other end of the corridor. Her target?
Matt, of course. Ouch.
The Defenders family dinner
And lastly, we get The Defenders‘ very own shawarma scene a la The Avengers. Unlike their big-screen counterparts, though, they’re eating Chinese food — and they’re quite chatty during their meal. At least, Danny is, much to Jessica’s chagrin:
She doesn’t have to listen to Danny for too long. According to some shots earlier in the trailer, Alexandra — and whoever’s carrying this katana (Elektra? Colleen? Stick?) — arrive while the foursome are eating to warn them to stay away from her operation, whatever it may be.
Knowing these four, they’ll do the exact opposite.
The Defenders hits Netflix on August 18.
Marvel's The Defenders