Defenders Showrunner Talks Show’s Tone, Characters Meeting, and More

Following the new photos that debuted yesterday for Marvel’s The Defenders, EW says it sat down with executive producer and showrunner Marco Ramirez to talk about the series, including its tone, the meeting of the title characters, and even a tease of what brings them all together.

“It’s ultimately a story about a family of orphans who are very grown-up but still have more growing up to do,” Ramirez said. “This was something I told the writers: It’s taking the questions that were posed in the finales of each of their shows. So the last times we saw them, where are they, and what are they going to need to do in order to grow up? What do they, as they come out of their own seasons, need?… We never wanted anyone to feel like they’re a guest on anyone else’s show. It’s weirdly about all four of them. It’s about all of their collective stories finally folding in on each other.”

When asked about the tone for the series, which combines four shows that are all quite distinct from each other, he replied:

“One of the good things about how the other shows all operate is they’re all about a central protagonist, and at the end of the day, they’re not about superpowers. They’re all about someone who has some major flaw and some major crisis and also heroically somehow overcomes it. One of the things early on that I found helpful was not to think about how many differences they have but to go the opposite way and think about how much they have in common.

“And aside from the fact that they are all Marvel characters, there’s a recurring theme here with people who are orphans or people who don’t understand this urge but feel the need to do good and are constantly fighting inner turmoil and having that affect their personal lives. There’s a certain amount of maturity with how they deal with the superhero-ness of it all… We didn’t think about it in terms of how we’ll combine all the tones. We thought about the tone as its own thing. It’s about making sure this thing is something that could encapsulate all four worlds.”

The topic of mixing up the characters together also came up, with Ramirez saying:

“When it came down to it, there was just no way we would get away with telling this story and not have Danny Rand and Luke Cage have some chemistry, just because of what’s been established in the comics for them in Heroes for Hire. Danny and Matt’s relationship is really exciting to me. The Luke and Jessica and Danny dynamic is exciting. And that may be one of the most fun parts of the show to some people. Everyone needs a relationship with everyone else here…We look up at a bunch of boards in the writers’ room, at the full season, and say, ‘Oh wait, we haven’t seen an interaction between these two,’ or, ‘These three haven’t been together yet.’ So what does that mean? Where does that lead? It was almost like a checklist, like, ‘Where’s our great Luke and Jessica scene? Where’s our Danny and Matt scene?”

In addition to the tone of each of the four Netflix shows, they each have their own style of fighting for their title heroes, a blend that Ramirez compares to a musical composition.

“Everyone has their own instrument. We have to work our way for Matt to do some cool parkour-y stuff, Danny to use his fist in some awesome way, Luke to use his strength and invulnerability in some cool way, and Jessica to just be a badass brawler. Coming at them from an emotional perspective is how we write those fight scenes, so Luke ends up being the protector, and Danny and Matt end up becoming the offense. Jessica is kind of the reluctant punk rock member of the band who doesn’t want to be there, but who’s really awesome. It’s making sure each of the characters can really pop.”

In the exposé on the series, EW also confirmed that writer Doug Petrie, who was attached to co-showrun the series with Ramirez, stepped away to pursue other projects in October, after the eight scripts had been completed.

The Defenders stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist. In addition, Elden Henson will be reprising as Foggy Nelson along with Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Eka Darville as Malcolm, Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth, Scott Glenn as Stick, Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, Elodie Yung as Elektra, Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, and Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple. It has been hinted that Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher will return for the series as well, but that remains unconfirmed.

The eight-episode series will premiere in 2017 along with Marvel’s Iron Fist and Marvel’s The Punisher.