Where Do Marvel’s Defenders Go from Here?

They came.  They saw.  They kicked some….you know. Marvel’s long-anticipated Netflix series, The Defenders, has come and gone.  The fallout from the crossover event — both critically and narratively — is soon to follow its release.  All that we know now is that nothing will ever be the same for small-screen superheroics.

So where does Marvel go from here?  How do you follow up a series this unprecedented for this modest a scale.  Well, as it turns out, we already have some idea about that.

Every single series from Netflix’s “Phase 1” is getting another season.  This means second seasons for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and, believe it or not, Iron FistDaredevil, always ahead of the curve, is getting a third season.

This means that there won’t be quite as many team-ups as Marvel could — probably should — be doing with Netflix.  I’m not just talking a Defenders Season 2 either, although it’s inevitable at this point that it’s going to get greenlit, and soon.  Superhero crossovers are just too big of business to stay away from.

I mean smaller team-ups: pairing up less successful heroes with more successful ones to keep interest in both characters high.  The obvious choice here is to put Luke Cage and Iron Fist together in a Heroes for Hire series.  When faced with lagging sales that threatened both characters’ books, Marvel paired the two together into a new comic, which proved successful enough to continue publishing.

The same could be said for their Netflix series.  Although Luke Cage proved to be a smash hit with anybody who saw it, the same couldn’t be said for Iron Fist.  Even those who liked Danny Rand’s solo series — at least enough to see it through to the end — aren’t very enthusiastic about it.  And when faced with the prospect of a second season, more fans than not seem content just to find something else to watch.

Heroes for Hire would be a perfect fit for the MCU.  It would show a far less altruistic side of the Marvel Universe: one willing to sell out for cold, hard cash.  It would also give Danny Rand something more interesting to than flounder as a businessman and appropriate “exotic” cultures.  Besides, it would be a lot of fun to play the Hero of Harlem off of the privileged White boy.

Another surefire hit that Marvel seems happy to pass on is Daughters of the Dragon: a potential team-up between some of the women saving the day in the peripheries of the Netflix series.  Colleen Wing, already the single best part of Iron Fist, adopted the moniker as her cage fighting name, so it’s already floating out there in the aether.

Misty Knight was similarly one of the highlights from Luke Cage, and the ending of that series pretty much set her up to work outside of the law.  Throw in Claire Temple, the so-called Night Nurse, as a field medic and light backup for the two heavier-hitting women, and you have a perfect recipe for small-screen action.

Already underway is the highly-anticipated Punisher solo series.  It’s going to be interesting to see how Frank Castle plays out as a hero of his own story, rather than the villain of somebody else’s, but it’s bound to be a show-stopper when it finally comes to Netflix.  And with Punisher actor Jon Bernthal’s assurances that Castle will be cast in strictly anti-heroic light — in a series without superpowers — you can expect a lot more bullets in a lot more gangsters by the time its thirteen episode run as expired.

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