The Defenders: What to Know Before You Binge

In case you haven't had enough superheroes this summer, a new Marvel mashup is here to feed your Netflix addiction. The Defenders will premiere on Netflix on Aug. 18 and will comprise just eight episodes.

Credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix

(Image credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix)

The miniseries is the culmination of four other Netflix shows: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Each of these shows takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sometime after the first Avengers film and features a Manhattan-based vigilante cleaning up crime and corruption in the Big Apple. With so many superheroes in one city, it was only a matter of time before their worlds collided.

Who are The Defenders?

Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil (Charlie Cox) is a lawyer by day and vigilante by night. As a child, he was blinded in an accident that enhanced his other senses to superhuman levels. Now, he works with his law partner, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), to root out corruption in Hell's Kitchen. But when his law-abiding lawyer role becomes too limiting, Murdock seeks to deliver justice with his fists.

Credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix

(Image credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix)

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a former superhero who starts her own private detective agency after a traumatic experience. Jones gained superhuman strength and the power of flight in a car accident that killed her parents. Her life derailed, however, when she fell under the influence of a man named Kilgrave (David Tennant), who has mind-control powers.

After suffering sexual and emotional abuse at his hands, Jones now struggles with alcoholism and PTSD. But rather than see other women suffer, she confronts Kilgrave repeatedly and tries to rescue his victims.

Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is an ex-convict with superstrength and unbreakable skin, which aid him as he fights crime in Harlem. He used to be a police officer named Carl Lucas but was framed for a crime and sent to prison, where an experiment gone awry gave him superpowers. After escaping from prison, he reinvents himself as Luke Cage and fights both criminals and police corruption — all while trying to clear his name.

MORE: 30 Best TV Shows on Netflix

Credit: Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist (Finn Jones) is a lot of things: a billionaire, a Buddhist monk, a martial arts master and the wielder of a mythical power called the Iron Fist. In the Netflix version of his story, he survives a plane crash that kills his parents, then finds his way to the mystical city of K'un-Lun. There, he trains in kung fu and becomes the Iron Fist, capable of concentrating his chi in one hand, which packs quite the punch.

After many years away, Danny returns to New York City to find out what really happened to his parents and faces off against an evil organization known as the Hand.

What's happened in the other Netflix shows so far?

Daredevil: Thiswas the first Marvel series on Netflix, debuting in April 2015. The show begins shortly after the events of the first Avengers movie, and New York is still reeling from the Chitauri incident. Matt Murdock starts out his vigilante career as the "Man in Black" to pursue criminals whom he can't take down in court.

Matt sets his sights on taking down the gang boss Wilson Fisk. A nurse named Claire Temple, who knows about his superpowers, aids him and tends to his wounds. His law partner, Foggy Nelson, also inadvertently learns about Matt's vigilante identity and comes to accept it after some initial hesitation. Matt and Foggy begin building a case against Fisk, assisted by their secretary Karen Page and journalist Ben Urich. At the end of the season, Matt dons his signature red Daredevil costume and defeats Fisk, turning him over to the police.

Credit: Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

In Season 2, which premiered in March 2016, Matt comes up against an opposing vigilante called the Punisher, who has been murdering criminals. As Daredevil, he defeats the Punisher and turns him over to the police; as Matt, he and Foggy defend the Punisher when he's put on trial.

While this is going on, Matt's old mentor, Stick, brings him into the war against an ancient ninja clan called the Hand, whose members have been resurrected from the dead. To complicate matters further, a troublesome old flame, Elektra Natchios, comes back into Matt's life. She turns out to be the Black Sky: a weapon worshipped by the members of the Hand. In the last episode of the season, Matt convinces her that she can choose her own path, and she sacrifices herself to save him.

Jessica Jones: This series premiered six months after Daredevil. This series received a lot of attention for dealing with heavy subjects like mental illness and sexual assault. In the first few episodes, Jessica becomes romantically involved with fellow superpowered New Yorker Luke Cage. But when Cage discovers that Jones killed his wife while under Kilgrave's control, he ends their relationship.

At the same time, Jessica works to get her fledgling private detective business off the ground while she tries to free other victims from Kilgrave's control. As she investigates their cases, Jessica discovers that Kilgrave is still obsessed with her. Eventually, Kilgrave uses Luke Cage to get to Jessica, which forces a confrontation between the two heroes. Jessica shoots Luke Cage in the head (his unbreakable skin saves him), then goes on to confront Kilgrave. Kilgrave uses a drug to enhance his mind-control powers, but Jessica still manages to resist his commands and snap his neck. Season 2 is slated for a 2018 release.

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Luke Cage: Picking up his story where it left off after the Jessica Jones finale, Luke Cage hit premiered in September 2016. Luke Cage tries to lay low in Harlem, working odd jobs at a barbershop and a nightclub. But when his barbershop boss gets killed, Cage swears to take down the gangster Cottonmouth, whose men were responsible.

Cage also comes into conflict with Cottonmouth's cousin, Councilwoman Mariah Dillard. Meanwhile, Cage's half-brother Willis Stryker (aka Diamondback) tries to frame Cage for attacks on local police and turn public opinion against the hero. At the end of the season, Diamondback gets a powered suit so that he can take on Luke Cage in a fistfight. Despite Diamondback’s artificial superpowers, Cage manages to defeat his half brother, but his victory is short-lived when federal marshals show up to arrest Cage for breaking out of prison.

A second season is scheduled for 2018.

Credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix

(Image credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix)

Iron Fist: The newest series, Iron Fist appeared on Netflix in March 2017. The show begins with a peripatetic Danny Rand returning to New York City after years in K'un-Lun. He tries to find his father's business partner, Harold Meachum, but Harold's children, Ward and Joy, tell Danny that their father has been dead for years. However, Danny soon discovers that Harold has been kept alive and under the control of the Hand, led by the ruthless Madame Gao.

Danny begins working for his father's old company while he tries to figure out how to destroy the Hand. He befriends a fellow martial artist, Colleen Wing, and the two develop a romantic relationship. When her mentor, Bakuto, turns out to be a member of the Hand, the two defeat him with the help of Davos, Rand's friend from K'un-Lun.

In the end, Harold attempts to frame Danny for drug running, forcing a confrontation between the two. Afterward, Danny tries to bring Colleen with him to K'un-Lun, but they find the gate closed and surrounded by dead assassins.

What to expect from The Defenders

The new series, The Defenders, will pick up where Iron Fist left off, with the four outcast superheroes coming together to form a reluctant team. Elodie Yung will reprise her role as Elektra, who met her fate in Season 2 of Daredevil.

Credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix

(Image credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix)

The trailers emphasize an impending full-blown war for New York and show off the main villain of the series: Alexandra, a mysterious character played by Sigourney Weaver. Fans can also expect to see more of the Hand and its members' creepy resurrection powers. That sounds like a lot for our four troubled heroes to take on, but if they can stop squabbling among themselves long enough, they may just manage it.

Credit: Netflix