We had a chance to sit down with the team of The Defenders, including Executive Producer Marco Ramirez, to chat about the upcoming addition to the Marvel Netflix universe. After building separate homes for the big four currently headlining their Netflix run, the writers room had the task of trying to bring them all together into one home.
What we didn't want to do was make it feel like everyone was visiting Jessica Jones’ world, or everyone was visiting Matt Murdock’s world. It really felt like we needed to make another show as it's own stand-alone thing, with elements borrowed from each of the other worlds. So that in and of itself, I think, created its own tone if that makes any sense. So it almost felt like we got to do a Greatest Hits kind of cherry picking. “The musical element on Luke Cage feels really good, so let's do some of that on this show. Oh, the fights on Daredevil and Iron Fist have a certain flavor, what if we bring some of that over here? There's a film noire sort of sensibility to everything Jessica Jones does, with a certain badass attitude to it. Let's bring some of that over here!” So it really felt like a collage, if that makes any sense. So then we put it together and then sat back and realized that we have a whole different show. SJ Clark directed the pilot, and also Jessica Jones’ pilot really helped us give it some flavor.
In addition to bringing four worlds into one, the team also had to find a way to up their other offerings, particularly in the fight scenes department. When you've had four seasons of fight scenes, you've got to find a way to up your game without pulling from other areas, but Marco mentioned that they felt the pressure more between other seasons than when moving into The Defenders.
I definitely felt that pressure in Daredevil going from season one to season two. The hallway fight in season one is so incredible. But in this one we just knew that the fight scenes needed to be different. In this world, we've never seen a scene where four super powered people are in a fight tighter. So it felt like it would demand a certain amount of spectacle, but also I didn't want them to lose their attitude or the musicality to the ways that they fight. Every character, from Luke Cage, to Jessica Jones, to Colleen, everyone fights in a specific way, and they all work so hard to get the choreography right. I think they work on it as much as they work in memorizing the lines. Specifically someone like Jessica here. It's just incredible the amount of work that goes into it. So all that is to say, that's my really long-winded answer.
Thankfully the team had a lot of freedom going into The Defenders. Their team-up show will be only eight episodes vs the usual thirteen. Something like that would have been a huge issue with a traditional network, but the same cannot be said for Netflix.
Netflix was actually really wonderful about saying, well, we know there's a schedule because Jessica Jones season two is going to happen, so we need to free up Kristin. Luke too. We knew those were coming, but we were really given a lot of leeway in terms of how many episodes we wanted. So, the writers room got together, plotted out a story that made sense to us, and we said we think it's eight episodes. Everyone talks about the creative freedom that Netflix gives you, and they're pretty correct. They [netflix] just said, “Cool. Good number.” and there was never really a mandate saying, “No, no, no, you have to have this number of episodes.”
The Defenders head to Netflix August 18th