The Defenders (August 18, Netflix, eight episodes)
I know very little about The Defenders as a team, a theme that will appear over and over in these pieces. That won’t ever stop me from speculating and over-thinking about any of them.
I haven’t really been following any news about the show with regards to the plot. I have picked up a few things in the meta-game of the wider Netflix universe, which does colour my speculation somewhat. For example, each of the four main characters in the show have confirmed seasons after The Defenders, so we can assume that there is no permanent death for any of them in the show.
We also know that Elektra is in the show, and in the recent SDCC trailer, we see her with Sigourney Weaver’s character, currently known only as Alexandra, implying that Elektra is on the same side as her.
There are a bunch of secondary characters appearing as well, from Foggy all the way to Bakuto. It’s possible that some of these characters are marked for death, but I feel like that is unlikely simply because most of them haven’t really been used enough for their deaths to mean anything.
In terms of what actually happens in the show, I don’t really know. I don’t know a lot about The Defenders as a comic series, which isn’t really an issue, since the team in the books hasn’t matched the show line up until the most recent run.
Judging from what we’ve seen in the shows leading up to this, and the trailers, my best guess is that Alexandra wakes Elektra up, and uses her to start the war that Stick warned Matt about in season one of Daredevil.
There’s also a scene in the trailer where Madame Gao and Alexandra seem to face off against each other, implying some hostility between various factions within The Hand itself, and while Gao’s faction are certainly hostile towards The Defenders, I think at some point they will ally with each other – at least temporarily – to bring down Alexandra’s faction, a group we’ll be told is the most powerful early on, even more so with Elektra on their side.
At the end of it all, after The Defenders have brought down Alexandra and her group, Gao will presume to have the most powerful, and go off smug in her confidence that she now leads The Hand, however, Elektra will use what’s left of Alexandra’s group and any other Hand factions who come to her after the resurrection news spreads and end up swallowing Gao’s faction. Gao will escape and turn up again with a new group in either Daredevil season three or Iron Fist season two.
As to how this sets up the future of the Netflix side of the MCU, my best guess is that nothing really substantial will come of it; none of the title characters will die, we’ll get interactions between characters who are usually found together in the comics (Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, for example) but they’ll be winks to the audience, rather than plot threads we’ll see picked up in new shows.
The only thing I see that stands a chance of spinning out of this is the combined second season of both Luke Cage and Iron Fist being merged into a single show, most likely not Heroes for Hire, but a version of Power Man and Iron Fist.
As for Frank showing up, I’m not counting on it, but if he does, it’ll be only the most minor of cameos. But, I wouldn’t be surprised to be wrong. After all, his show comes out in November, and this is a good excuse to remind people of that. Still, don’t hold your breath.