Marvel is really embracing the dark side of being a superhero with all four of its Defenders series. For those unaware, Daredevil and Jessica Jones take place in the same cinematic universe as the Avengers. Their darker storyline will soon be joined by Luke Cage and Iron Fist when they have their own shows, and then be combined for the television equivalent of an "event comic" with The Defenders. The big question is what will they face, and it could be that the villains could get personal.
We previously mentioned last year that Daredevil could adapt one of its most famous storylines of its source material into a season-long
story arc based on "Born Again". This was a storyline in which Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, learns that Matt Murdock is Daredevil from Karen Page. Yes, the show does have an established Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), and Daredevil (Charlie Cox) informed her of his identity. In the comic, Karen becomes an addict and essentially sells the identity of Daredevil for a fix.
When that happens, the Kingpin doesn't just order a hit on Matt Murdock (Daredevil's real name), but he utterly destroys him by burning down his apartment, cancelling his credit, and leaving him destitute. This affects Matt mentally, and he goes crazy to hunt down the Kingpin. This eventually leads to Matt finding his mother, who is a nun. He also finds Karen and his Daredevil costume, and then dukes it out with a drugged-out mercenary/psychopath named Nuke in Hell's Kitchen.
Could this plotline be worked into the show into Daredevil/Jessica Jones/Defenders its present form? Quite easily. Daredevil's sister show Jessica Jones hasn't really tied in well, but it did introduce a character who is essentially Nuke in this Netflix universe. Karen has killed Wilson Fisk's best friend Wesley in Season 1, which was not brought up on the show at all. Season 2 did bring up some element in Karen's past, that apparently she was ashamed of. It would not be difficult for Karen to turn to drugs to cope with the pain, and this would lead her to selling out Matt.
Yes, that is a stretch, but every adaptation strays form the source material in some manner. Maybe Karen Page doesn't become an addict, but it was very apparent in Season 2 that Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) wants to deal with Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson personally. There is a scene in a cell block where Fisk swears his revenge, so what better way to take revenge on Matt Murdock than to destroy him personally? If Fisk were to find out that Matt Murdock and Daredevil are one in the same, that would be an added bonus.
When the "Born Again" plotline surfaced in the eighties, it was considered a masterpiece by writer Frank Miller, who has gone on to do many comic books, and his works of Sin City and 300 have been adapted into film. The issue was that no superhero had ever been exposed to their arch-enemy like that, and it faced all the problems that most comic books don't face because they want to keep the hero's personal life intact. The idea of this storyline would make a great basis for the new Defenders series.
The idea of villains strike at a personal level is what made Jessica Jones Season 1 so interesting. Jessica (Krysten Ritter) had to face the fact that her greatest enemy Kilgrave (David Tennant) was still alive and personally coming for her. Since Jessica Jones doesn't have an alter-ego like Daredevil, facing a villain like this became really intense drama.
Jessica Jones introduced audiences to Luke Cage, and his show is going to be different as it takes place in Harlem. According to showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, the tone of the Luke Cage show (coming September 30, 2016) will be very different, and yet still be a superhero show. Like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage doesn't really have an alter ego, and a trailer showed him getting shot by bad guys. It would be hard for Luke to keep his secret, and villains have no qualms about hitting the hero where it hurts.
As for Iron Fist, not much is known about this program other that it has been cast with Finn Jones as the lead character Daniel Rand, and that Jessica Henwick will play Colleen Wing, who is described by iDigitalTimes as an ally to Rand.
Iron Fist is a character with a mask, but what would happen if he was unmasked? Considering all the action that happened in Daredevil Season 2 with ninjas and more, it could very easily tie-in with Iron Fist better than it did with Daredevil and Elektra.
So perhaps The Defenders would be about a group of villains who realize that the same group of heroes is always thwarting them, and so they use some serious deceit in order to break the good guys personally.
It has been discussed that events in Captain America Civil War are going to reshape the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it is possible that it will affect the Netflix storyline as well. The trailers show a film where Iron Man and Captain America are fighting, which would mean that the general public might not like having superheroes in their midst. Events in Avengers: Age of Ultron were actually caused (intentionally) by superheroes with the creation of Ultron, so perhaps even the public would want villains who would be willing to strike the heroes personally. It is something to think about.
It will be a while before audiences get to see it. With Luke Cage arriving this fall, this means that Iron Fist won't probably arrive until Winter of 2017, as these Marvel series have three months of space in between. This would mean that in lieu of a new season of Daredevil or Jessica Jones, Netflix subscribers would receive The Defenders Season 1, but no release dates are set in stone as yet.