The Marvel Cinematic Universe currently has two primary superhero teams: the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now this gigantic franchise is about to get a third team, thanks to the upcoming miniseries, Marvel's The Defenders. When the House of Ideas announced their original slate of Netflix shows in 2013, that included revealing that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist would eventually band together. Longtime comics fans know that this isn't the traditional Defenders lineup from the comics, but for the MCU, these characters will be confronting a yet-to-be-revealed adversary that threatens the streets of New York.

The Defenders will be overseen by Daredevil Season 2 showrunners Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, and while there's still some time before the show premieres on Netflix, various tidbits have come out that begin to paint a picture of what fans can expect. Here's everything we know so far about the upcoming Defenders miniseries so far.

When Will The Defenders Air

It was confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that The Defenders will air sometime after Iron Fist in 2017, with shooting beginning right before the year is over. While we're grateful to at least have a year cemented, this doesn't help us with when we should mark the date on our calendars for the big session. For the sake of argument, let's assume that Iron Fist premieres around the same time as the Daredevil seasons did, i.e. in March or April. The previous gaps between the Marvel Netflix shows have varied between four to seven months, so that means The Defenders could air at the earliest in August and at the latest in November. For those wondering if that could change should Marvel want to squeeze in a third series in 2017, that's not happening. Along with the year confirmation, Marvel also revealed that Daredevil Season 3 and Jessica Jones Season 2 won't premiere until 2018 at the earliest. You'll still see these characters participating in The Defenders, but their solo adventures won't continue for a while.

How Long Will The Defenders Be

Unlike the its predecessors, The Defenders is a miniseries rather than a full series. So rather than being 13 episodes, it will only be eight episodes, all of which will surely be released at once just like with most of Netflix's other TV content. The Marvel Netflix shows, like many cable shows, have been praised for telling tight stories without a lot of filler, and The Defenders is only going to make things tighter. It remains to be seen whether one will need to have watched all of the previous series' to understand what's going on or if it will be easy to jump into by itself. Of course, given how well these shows have been critically received so far, we would recommend the former. Also, just because this is a miniseries doesn't mean that the Defenders couldn't someday reunite. After more seasons of these Marvel shows have aired, maybe The Defenders 2 miniseries could air, but that would be a long ways away.

What's The Defenders About

No specific plot details have been released about The Defenders yet. All we know for sure is that something will happen in the New York neighborhoods that will result in Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist joining forces to stop this threat. Think of this as the culmination of Marvel's first Netflix "phase." Marvel's Phase One of movies introduced Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America in their own adventures, with Black Widow and Hawkeye being set up in those as well. Then The Avengers brought them together in 2012. The Netflix shows are operating under the same principle. Set up all your main heroes beforehand in a season or two, then bring them together for the big team-up. Whatever brings the street-level heroes together obviously has so be something big, whether it's crime-related or something mystical. However, don't expect whoever or whatever that this threat is to offer a challenge on the same global scale as Avengers villains like Loki or Ultron. The Marvel Netflix shows have been self-contained to the New York City neighborhoods, and we don't expect The Defenders to be any different.

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