Why The Defenders Is Very Different From The Avengers, According To Jeph Loeb

The Defenders

In Joss Whedon's The Avengers, the titular team is forced to come together with the Asgardian God of Mischief, Loki, makes a deal to unleash an alien invasion upon the Earth. It was a totally logical approach for the 2012 blockbuster -- but fans shouldn't expect something similar to go down in Marvel's first small-screen team-up adventure: the upcoming Netflix series The Defenders. For while it was a massively powerful villain and world-ending stakes that brought Earth's Mightiest Heroes together, it will be a completely different set of factors that wind up uniting Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

With Luke Cage hosting its big San Diego Comic-Con presentation later tonight, the cast and filmmakers behind the show participated in roundtable interviews with press earlier today -- and it was while talking with Marvel Studios' Head of Television, Jeph Loeb, that I took the opportunity to ask about the future of The Defenders. I asked about how the Marvel Netflix shows would potentially be ramping up to the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's next superhero team, and Loeb explained why fans really shouldn't expect just a 13-episode riff on the same ideas that The Avengers played with. Said the executive/producer,

The question that we want people to ask is, 'What happens when these people meet each other?' Because they each look at the world in a very different way. So when that happens, that's ultimately what Defenders is all about. It's not about 'Who is the bad guy?' or 'What's at stake?' or any of those things. We're still working in a very real, grounded world. The sky is not going to open up, and aliens aren't going to come flying out of it. That's The Avengers job! That's what their supposed to do.

While also expressing his personal love of Joss Whedon's 2012 film, Jeph Loeb then took it a step further -- explaining the contrast between The Avengers and The Defenders, and what their personal duties are in the larger context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It all really comes down to what it means to be a "street level hero." Loeb explained,

The street level heroes always come from a very real place. If The Avengers are here to protect the universe -- and nobody loves those movies more than I do -- that's an epic, action-adventure story that has great humor and great pathos. What we're trying to do is tell stories about men and women who are here to save, in some cases, the neighborhood, and in some cases themselves. And if that's the case, and you're involved, and you'll stick around for 13 hours, that's an enormous commitment that we want!

Unfortunately, the exact timetable for how all of this will play out with The Defenders remains its own mystery. Luke Cage is set to arrive on Netflix this fall, and will be followed by the first season of Iron Fist next year, but everything beyond that is totally up in the air -- including when we might see Daredevil Season 3, Jessica Jones Season 2, and the recently announced Punisher show. Of course, while we don't know answers to those questions now, you can be sure that you'll find the answers here as soon as they become available.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.