- "Bulletproof. Blind ninja. Whatever it is you are."
"I tried being a one-man army, and it failed. But this... This feels like something else is at work here. The four of us show up to fight a criminal organization at the same moment? How obvious does it have to be? This... This cannot be an accident."
- ―Danny Rand and Jessica Jones
The Defenders were a team of street-based superheroes who operated in New York City, specifically Hell's Kitchen.
The Street Heroes of New York
- "That must be a sign."
"That we have allies. We're not alone in this. [...] All I'm saying is you're not the only person the Hand has ever hurt. It was his fight, too. And mine. You're not alone in this."
"So what? We just go and find a team to join? An army?"
"He sent us back to New York. Maybe there are people here. It's a shot in the dark, but I think it's one worth taking."
- ―Colleen Wing and Danny Rand
Since the Battle of New York, a series of criminals and their organisation took advantage of the event to rise to power. Wilson Fisk built a powerful crime organisation and aimed to take control of Hell's Kitchen. Crime bosses like Cottonmouth held a strong grip in the community of Harlem. The sinister organisation known as the Hand held influence over Fisk's organisation as well as wealthy companies like Rand Enterprises. Independent criminals like Kilgrave and Diamondback committed their own series of crimes in New York City.
With the Avengers occupied with worldwide matters, street heroes rose to challenge these forces. One of the first of these heroes was Matt Murdock, also known as the The Devil of Hell's Kitchen, who began a one-man war against Fisk's organisation. He succeeded in systematically dismantling it and got Fisk arrested for his crimes. Soon after the public gave this new street vigilant the name Daredevil.
His fight to keep the streets safe led him into a conflict against the Hand and their presumed leader, Nobu Yoshioka. Joining forces with his former lover and member of the Chaste, Elektra, Daredevil managed to defeat their leader, but during the fight, Elektra was killed, which caused Daredevil to disappear and stop his war on crime.
Jessica Jones was an enhanced human who used to be a victim of the mind-controlling Kilgrave. She broke free of his control in an accident that caused Reva Connors's death and Kilgrave's disappearance. She began working as a private investigator and was eventually contracted to investigate Hope Shlottman. This investigation led to Jones discovering Kilgrave's survival. Jones managed to kill him but couldn't prevent the death of Shlottman and many innocent people were harmed by Kilgrave.
In the community of Harlem, there was an enhanced individual known as Luke Cage who had bulletproof skin. Cage kept a low profile due to being an escapee from Seagate Prison. When his close friend, Pop was killed by Cottonmouth's enforcer Tone, Cage began a fight to rid Harlem of crime. During the conflict, Diamondback revealed himself to the underworld of Harlem and began a vicious campaign against Cage, due to their past and to Diamondback's personal vendetta against Cage.
Cage managed to defeat Diamondback and get him arrested, but the fight caused Cage's real identity, "Carl Lucus" to be exposed. The authorities arrested Cage and returned him to Seagate Prison.
Returning home after 15 years, the presumed deceased heir of Rand Enterprises, Danny Rand returned home to New York City. Having spent years training in the mystical city of K'un-Lun, Rand had become an accomplished martial artist and latest user of the Iron Fist. Rand managed to reclaim his fortune, which led into a conflict against the Hand who held influence over his company through Harold Meachum. As the sworn enemy of the Hand, Iron Fist fought against them and succeeded in driving the Hand out of his company. His decision to leave K'un-Lun also resulted in the city getting attacked by the Hand.
When the Hand made their move on New York City, their action attracted the attention of the four street vigilantes. Jessica Jones investigation on the missing John Raymond led her to discover his involvement with the Hand. During her investigation, she was arrested by Misty Knight due to stealing evidence. This allowed Jones to meet Matt Murdock who approached as her attorney at Foggy Nelson's request.
Luke Cage was pardoned from his crime due to evidence recovered by Bobby Fish. He returned back to Harlem and at Knight's request, he began looking after Candace Miller's brother, Cole Miller. Cage learned that Cole was under the payroll of Sowande, also known as White Hat. During his task, he encountered Iron Fist, who has returned to New York to continue his fight against the Hand. Danny Rand's own investigation led to their encounter.
The four street vigilantes were united for the first time when their individuals goals led them to Midland Circle. A fierce battle ensued in the Midland Circle Building, where the Defenders fought together for the first time against the Hand led by Alexandra Reid, who had resurrected Elektra as her enforcer. They managed to defeat their attackers and made their escape from Midland Circle.
They found shelter at Royal Dragon restaurant to regroup. They were soon greeted by Stick last member of the Chaste. He explained the situation to the Defenders. The Hand's plans will cause the destruction of New York and the Defenders were the only force available to prevent their plans from happening.
The Hand found them at the restaurant. During the battle, Cage managed to capture one of the Hand's leaders, Sowande. The Defenders brought him to an abandoned building where they interrogated him about the Hand's plans. They learned that the Hand intended to use the Iron Fist to destroy an indestructible stone of K'un-Lun origin. Sowande was killed by Stick when he attempted to escape.
The revelation caused a splinter in the group, as the rest of the Defenders wanted to keep Rand contained in order to prevent him from being captured by the Hand. Rand disagreed with their decision and he fought against them. The fight ended with Jones knocking him out and the group tied him up. The Defenders decided to learn the Hand's location. Murduck and Jones went to investigate while Cage stayed behind with Stick to watch over Rand.
Murdock and Jones found Raymond's building plans on Midland Circle and they learned about the massive cave tunnels beneath the building. As they moved to rejoin the group, Elektra attacked them. During the fight, Elektra killed Stick, defeated the Defenders and captured Rand. The rest of the Defenders were brought to the precinct by the NYPD due to the discovery of Stick's and Sowande's corpses. The Defenders managed to make their escape from the precinct and began making their way back to Midland Circle. During the time, Elektra had usurped Reid's as leader of the Hand and managed to antagonize and coaxed Rand to use the Iron Fist to break the stone beneath the building. The Defenders reunited again to battle the Hand led by Elektra beneath the tunnels of Midland Circle.
During their battle, their allies, Colleen Wing, Claire Temple and Knight managed to set explosives to cause a cave-in beneath the building. Murdock chose to stay behind to keep Elektra at bay and tried to save her as the rest of the team made their escape. He didn't succeed in time to escape as the explosion caused the Midland Circle Building to collapse and he was presumed dead.
With the Hand defeated, the Defenders disbanded and returned to their lives. Jones continued to work as a private investigator. Cage moved back to Harlem. Rand decided to honor his ally by taking up his duty to protect New York as a street vigilante. It turned out that Murdock survived the cave-in and is currently nursed by nuns.
- Name: Jessica Jones
- Description: A private investigator, Jessica Jones lost her family in her youth and was adopted by the Walkers. The accident had for unknown reason granted Jones superhuman abilities. She eventually spent a brief period working as a crime fighter, only to gain the attention of the malevolent Kilgrave. Brought under his mind control, she spent several torturous months under the man's control. She succeeded in freeing herself, but the experience broke Jones and gave her severe post-traumatic stress. Jones was forced to face her past when Kilgrave resurfaced. During this time, she encountered another superhuman, Luke Cage, who she was connected to through his deceased wife. She managed to defeat Kilgrave, but she failed to save Hope Shlottman from the man's crimes. Months later after dealing with Kilgrave, during an investigation on John Raymond, she was led into a conflict against the Hand. Joining force with her one-time lover, Cage and new allies, Daredevil and Iron Fist, Jones helped defeat the sinister organization before returning to Alias Investigations and continuing her work as a private investigator.
- Name: Luke Cage
- Description: A former policeman turned bartender, Carl Lucas or better known as Luke Cage was a superhuman with an unbreakable skin and enhanced strength. After he went to prison for a crime that he did not commit, he was tormented by Albert Rackham in Seagate Prison. In prison, he befriended the therapist, Reva Connors. After he was forced by Albert to enter a fighting pit, Lucas retaliated by exposing the corruption in Seagate. Horribly beaten and injured for his action, he was put in an experimental tank by Reva and Noah Burstein in an attempt to save his life. The process succeeded. He used his newly gained powers to escape prison. Renaming himself Luke Cage, he married Conners and tried to settle for a quiet life. After losing his wife in an accident, Cage continued to live by himself. He met Jessica Jones and briefly became lovers before discovering she killed Conners under the control of Kilgrave. Cage eventually moved to Harlem and found work under his old friend, Pop. Cage was pulled into a conflict against Harlem's crime lord, Cottonmouth. Their conflict gained the attention of the ruthless weapon-dealer Diamondback also known as his former friend and half-brother Willis Stryker. Cage defeated Diamondback, but his true identity as Carl Lucas was exposed by Black Mariah to the public, forcing Cage to return back to Seagate Prison. Months later, Cage was eventually freed from prison, thanks to Foggy Nelson and the evidence recovered by Bobby Fish. Returning to Harlem and reuniting with Claire Temple, Cage resumed his vigilante work. While assisting Misty Knight to help the deceased Candace Miller's brother Cole Miller, Cage's task led him to discover the Hand. He met Iron Fist and eventually the two teamed up with his former lover, Jessica Jones and Daredevil to fight the Hand. Once they defeated the organisation, Cage returned to Harlem to continue assisting his community.
- Name: Danny Rand
- Description: Daniel 'Danny' Rand was the billionaire heir to Rand Enterprise. While on a flight to China with his parents, the plane crashed into the Himalaya Mountains. Losing his parents, he was found by monks of K'un-Lun who took him in and trained him. Rand spent 15 years training as a fighter under Lei Kung and became close friends with his son, Davos. He eventually earned the mantle of Iron Fist and gained the power to summon his chi into his fist, which gives him enhanced strength and reflexes. Still haunted by the memories of his parents, looking for answers and finding his purpose as guardian unfulfilling, Rand left K'un-Lun when the passage opened. He returned to New York and reunited with the Meachums. After a difficult struggle to prove his identity, Rand succeeded and regained his wealth and his company. He became close friend with Colleen Wing. He was eventually dragged into a conflict by forces who wished to use his powers for their own purposes. Rand defeated Madame Gao and her drug syndicate, the Hand under Bakuto and the true culprit responsible for his parent's death, Harold Meachum. Wishing to make up for his actions, Rand traveled back to K'un-Lun with Wing by his side, only to find the Hand had attacked the passage and the gate to the Heavenly City closed and severed from the world. Rand and Wing spent months tracking the Hand across several countries, before returning to New York by the advice of Shaft. During his war against the Hand, he encountered Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Working together with the vigilantes, Rand fulfilled his destiny to destroy the Hand. During the final battle, Daredevil was lost and presumed dead. Honoring his fallen ally's final word to protect New York, Rand firmly began his career as a street vigilante.
- Name: Matt Murdock
- Description: Matthew 'Matt' Murdock was a lawyer in New York. Blinded by an accident in his youth, he gained enhanced senses that allowed him to 'see' the world in a radar/sonar-like sight. After losing his father, he was found and trained by Stick who helped him train and control his senses as well as teach him martial arts. When Stick left him to his own devise, Murdock eventually became a lawyer alongside his best friend, Foggy Nelson. When his senses showed him the rising criminal activity in New York and the suffering it caused to many innocent people, Murdock became a vigilante and spent every night fighting crimes. Eventually donning the name Daredevil, he engaged in a one-man war against the crime lord Wilson Fisk and managed to defeat his criminal empire. His action eventually led to a conflict against the Hand, a powerful organization with sinister plans for New York. Fighting alongside his one time lover, Elektra, he succeeded in stopping the Hand's plans but lost Elektra in the fight. After months of inactivity as Daredevil, Murdock resumed the fight when the Hand returned and caused trouble in New York. He joined forces with other street-level heroes to form the Defenders and succeeded in defeating the Hand. During the final fight, he chose to stay behind to try and save the resurrected Elektra as the cave beneath Midland Circle collapsed. When he failed to leave the crumbling building, he was presumed dead by his loved ones and allies; in reality, he had survived and was under the care of nuns.
- Stick †
- Claire Temple
- Colleen Wing
- Misty Knight
- Trish Walker
- Foggy Nelson
- Karen Page
- Malcolm Ducasse
In chronological order:
- In the comics, the original Defenders lineup consisted of Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Silver Surfer. However, all the Marvel Cinematic Universe members have been members of the Defenders in the comics, with the exception of Jessica Jones.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of the Defenders share similarities with other groups of street-based superheroes, like the Marvel Knights and the Heroes of Hire.
- ↑ Daredevil (TV series)/Season One
- ↑ Daredevil (TV series)/Season Two
- ↑ Jessica Jones (TV series)/Season One
- ↑ Luke Cage (TV series)/Season One
- ↑ Iron Fist (TV series)/Season One
- ↑ The Defenders: 1.02: Mean Right Hook
- ↑ The Defenders: 1.03: Worst Behavior
- ↑ The Defenders: 1.04: Royal Dragon
- ↑ The Defenders: 1.06: Ashes, Ashes
- ↑ The Defenders: 1.07: Fish in the Jailhouse
- ↑ The Defenders: 1.08: The Defenders