Disney Plus adds Marvel Netflix shows under new name — but are they in the MCU?

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Finn Jones as Danny Rand, Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, Mike Colter as Luke Cage in The Defenders
(Image credit: netflix)

While changing my Disney Plus settings this morning so I could see the Defenders shows (and any future mature content that Disney Plus hopefully gets), I noticed something moderately interesting in the Disney Plus app.

Disney Plus is using a new name for (most) of its newly acquired Marvel shows — the batch that's comprised of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Defenders and Punisher — and it is ... drumroll please: The Defenders Saga. And right now, I can hear some of you asking "Why does that matter?"

Well, the easy answer is that it shows that Disney Plus and the folks who work on it know that fans probably want an easy way to find those shows. Disney Plus is relatively good at collecting related content. For example, it organizes Marvel movies in order by phases, by characters (such as Loki, Black Widow and Hawkeye).

And if you're confused by this big batch of new shows, we've sorted them all, so you can watch the Marvel Netflix shows in order.

Expect minor spoilers for previous Marvel events below:

Analysis: What non-Disney Plus shows are MCU canon?

The other reason this is interesting is that this naming could be interpreted to help people figure out if these shows are canonical. The first three "phases" of the MCU, for example, are called The Infinity Saga. Saying that these shows are in their own "saga" practically suggests they were in their own multiverse. Or, you could see them as just being a different chapter. The upcoming Marvel movies and shows in phase 4 and beyond are likely to get their own "saga" name are canonical, aren't they?

But we're not getting our hopes too high for each of these shows mattering greatly. First of all, Disney Plus didn't include them in the chronological sorting of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and shows — which makes it seem like they're definitely non-canonical.

Also, The Kingpin we've met in Hawkeye, for example, seems to be operating out of a car lot (though that might just be a front). As for the Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home? We didn't meet him long enough to get any clues that he is or isn't a part of the MCU. 

Charlie Cox and Elodie Young, fighting as Daredevil and Elektra, in the Daredevil show

(Image credit: Netflix)

When Kevin Feige told our sister site CinemaBlend that Charlie Cox would be Matt Murdock in the MCU, he didn't give any hints about if the Marvel movies and shows will incorporate the actions from the Netflix Daredevil show.

S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't even include "the blip" that saw Thanos snap out half of humanity for five years

So, for every Marvel fan wondering "Is The Defenders Saga canonical to the MCU?" there may be no definitive answer yet, but thanks to the multiverse laws we learned in Loki, the answer to that question is probably "no." We'd wager that Marvel Studios will likely pick and choose moments or events of those shows to consider as canonical. And then say those shows existed in a different multiverse. That would be similar to how the Star Wars extended universe is handled, as most of it was thrown out by Disney, but elements of Rogue Squadron will be used in the upcoming movie of the same name.

There's also the matter of the other Marvel show that just came to Disney Plus, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which aired on ABC and isn't in The Defenders Saga. S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't even include "the blip" that saw Thanos snap out half of humanity for five years. All of which goes to say, "if it didn't happen in an MCU show, don't bet on it mattering in the MCU." 

That likely doesn't matter to the legion of Defenders fans, though, as they're just happy to have Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio back — which gives them hope that Krysten Ritter, Jon Bernthal and the rest of the actors from the Netflix shows will reprise their own roles.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.