This week sees the launch of Marvel’s The Defenders, the crossover event that will see the stars of all Netflix’s superhero series – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, played by Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter and Fin Jones – join forces to fight a greater evil over 8 episodes.
But if you never found the time to watch all 65 episodes of backstory for the series (that’s including a second series of Daredevil), then never fear – because we’ve collected the details of where we left our heroes the last time we saw them.
Starting with the man without fear…
After defeating evil crime boss Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in series one, in his second run blind lawyer-turned hero Matt Murdock (Cox) found himself taking on deadly vigilante The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and ninja cult The Hand, the latter a job he’d been trained for his entire life by mentor Stick (Scott Glenn) and The Chaste (the organisation dedicated to stopping The Hand).
Teaming up with old girlfriend Elektra (Elodie Yung) and drifting further apart from his friends Foggy and Karen (Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll), it seemed like Matt was finally committing himself to the cause – but after Elektra’s death, he decides that he can’t live without emotional attachments like Stick wants, and tells Karen his secret.
Now, as The Defenders begins he seems to have given up the Daredevil mantle for good – but how long can he keep that up when the city is in danger? And what plans do The Hand have with Elektra’s body?
After being given super-strength in an accident that killed her family, Jessica Jones (Ritter) started trying to be a hero – that is, until falling under the spell of cruel mind-controller Kilgrave (David Tennant).
After months in his thrall, a traumatised Jessica tried to move on with her life and become a private detective, only to find her abuser active again and manipulating her friends, superpowered boyfriend Luke Cage (Colter in his first appearance) and foster sister Trish (Rachael Taylor) to get close to her.
By the end of the series, Jessica had overcome some of her trauma and finally ended Kilgrave’s life – but the scars of her torment remain.
Following the events of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage moves to Harlem and tries to hold down an honest job – but the actions of local crimelord Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and his politician cousin Maria Dillard (Alfre Woodard) prompt him into action, fighting for the rights of the little guy as Harlem’s hero.
In the course of the series, we also learn the secrets of Luke’s powers of super-strength and unbreakable skin, forced upon him as a test subject at Seagate prison back when he was a wrongly convicted man named Carl Lucas – and by the end of the series Cage ends up back behind bars, giving up his freedom after defeating Cottonmouth and friend-turned-foe Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey).
As The Defenders begins, we find Luke still in prison serving time for his original escape, but he won’t stay there for long…
Missing since he was a boy after a plane crash, Danny Rand (Jones) returns from the wilderness as a grown man to regain his family fortune and old life – much to the chagrin of his childhood friends Ward and Joy Meachum (Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup), who’ve been running his family company with their father since he was assumed dead.
But Danny was busy in their time apart too, finding himself adopted by monks when he crashed in the Himalayas and taken to a mystical hidden land named K’un-L’un, where he trained in martial arts and defeated a dragon to be named their champion, the Iron Fist.
Like The Chaste in Daredevil, the Iron Fist is tasked with destroying The Hand at any cost, which proves no easy task when Danny realises that his own company has been infiltrated by the group over the years. Teaming up with dojo owner Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), Danny battles the forces of evil, uncovers the corruption in his business and finally makes the return journey to K’un-L’un – only to find it closed and surrounded by the bodies of dead Hand assassins.
What happened there remains a mystery.
So there you have it – you’re all caught up and ready to watch the series when it hits Netflix this Friday. All Hands on deck!
Marvel’s The Defenders will stream in its entirety on Netflix UK this Friday 18th August