The increase in street-level heroes means it is very possible to see The Defenders form in the MCU sometime in the future–just not as the same lineup in the Netflix series. Street-level heroes are making a prominent comeback in the Multiverse Saga with characters such as Daredevil, She-Hulk, and Kate Bishop set to make big appearances throughout Phases 5 and 6. While Marvel Studios has been bringing back characters from the Netflix series like Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin and Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock, it’s more likely that the MCU’s Defenders could be made up of different members as compared to those in the original Netflix show.
The Defenders from Netflix, which is now streaming on Disney+, includes Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Iron Fist as its main members. The show had one season in 2017, but each character got at least two or three seasons of their own shows. With only legitimate confirmation of Daredevil returning to the MCU, it is unknown whether the other three heroes will appear in any future projects or not. What’s interesting about this specific appearance of the team is that those heroes aren’t the original members of the Defenders in the comics.
Now, those four individuals do appear as the Defenders later on in the comics, but there are many other members that join the group before they do. The original team actually isn’t even street-level focused when they first form, which is another way the Netflix series is different from the comics. This isn’t a surprise as Marvel Studios does often switch up its projects from the storylines of the comics it adapts. Some original characters of Marvel’s Defenders in the comics are already in or set to debut in the MCU, which makes it highly possible that a Defenders project could look entirely different from the original cast of the Netflix series. Here is a breakdown of the current MCU characters who could make up a new Defenders alliance.
The Hulk is one of the three main founders of the Defenders in the comics back when the team first assembled in 1971. It’s hard to say where the direction of Bruce Banner and his radioactive alter-ego is headed in the future of the MCU, but giving him the chance to be a leader of a new team of superheroes may be a great opportunity to ground his character moving forward in the rest of the Multiverse Saga. Yes, there are two Avengers movies coming out in MCU’s Phase 6, and he is still technically an Avenger, but it seems as though the MCU is building to a Young Avengers team, allowing room for smaller teams such as the Defenders and the Midnight Sons to be a part of the universe. With things pointing at the potential of a World War Hulk project in the future, it may be unlikely that Banner joins the MCU’s Defenders, but anything is possible in this film franchise.
Namor The Submariner
Namor the Submariner is another one of the three founders of the original team from the comics. Set to debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there are plenty of opportunities to implement him as a part of an MCU Defenders team in future phases. As an antihero, it is up in the air how he will be perceived in the MCU. Perhaps he will be like Deadpool, where he prefers to work alone and not join up in a team setting. To give Namor a strong future in the MCU, it makes sense to give him a position on a team that is made of loose alliances between different types of heroes. A clearer picture may come to light once Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is released.
The final founder of the Defenders in the comics in Doctor Strange and his potential to be a part of this team in the MCU is very high. He is one of the more reckless heroes in the MCU as he tends to do what he believes is best despite what others tell him, which makes him perfect for a team of temporary alliances that tend to change as time goes on. After the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, viewers see him join up with Clea, who is the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension in the comics, to stop an incursion. As a third installment of Doctor Strange’s story is imminent, Doctor Strange could recruit different heroes from the MCU to form the Defenders in order to fight whatever multiversal threat he faces next.
Yes, MCU’s Valkyrie from the Thor movies is a part of the Defenders in the comics. Her skills in warfare and combat make her an incredible warrior and her new role as a leader of New Asgard show her capabilities in leading those in battle and in times of struggle. Valkyrie has gone up against ruthless foes in the MCU such as Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder and Helena in Thor: Ragnarok. She never runs away from a threat no matter how big it is, which is empowering to see in the MCU. Her strength and endurance as an individual make her a great candidate to be a part of an MCU Defenders team.
The newly introduced MCU superhero, She-Hulk, is another member of the Defenders from the comics, and her character fits perfectly with the team. Struggling with her new green alter-ego, Jennifer Walters is finding her way in the MCU and how she fits into society as a superhuman lawyer. In the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, She-Hulk reveals that she wants nothing to do with the responsibilities of being a superhero. Making her a part of an MCU’s Defenders gives her the opportunity to dive deeper into the world of superpowers if the MCU decides to make the Defenders more of a street-level team instead of a Guardians of the Galaxy type of team.
Another new face in the MCU is also connected to the Defenders in Marvel comics. It’s unknown when Hercules will return to the MCU as he is only seen in one of the two end-credit scenes from Thor: Love and Thunder. Still, that’s what makes his appearance in an MCU’s Defenders team all the more likely. It can be insinuated, though, that the next time Hercules appears in the MCU will be in a project where he goes against Thor, as the God of Thunder stole Zeus’s famous lightning bolt in his last film. Another thing to note is that if an MCU Defenders team happens to form in the future and focuses solely on street-level threats, it isn’t very fitting for the demigod to be a part of the team.
As one of the newest and most major MCU characters, Daredevil is a member of the original Netflix series, but he is also a part of them in the comics. He is to appear in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Echo, and lead Daredevil: Born Again. His presence in the Multiverse Saga is set up to be fairly important, and he can fit into a wide variety of alliances as he moves forward. Maybe he has a future with a potential Midnight Sons team in the MCU or continues on with his own street-level vendettas with potential team-ups with heroes such as Spider-Man or She-Hulk. With all the Netflix series being canon to the MCU, it makes it possible for Matt Murdock to join another team of The Defenders in the future as he has familiarity with working with other eccentric heroes in a loose capacity.