‘The Defenders’ Ending Explained: What’s Next?
The Defenders has landed! Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones find themselves in an unlikely team-up to take down the villainous forces of the Hand in the Netflix miniseries. The Hand, being an ancient ninja cult with the ability to resurrect the dead, has decided to bring back Matt’s ex-girlfriend Elektra as their weapon of choice, dubbed the “Black Sky”. The Hand is led by newcomer to the Marvel Netflix cadre Alexandra, played by Sigourney Weaver, along with four other leaders aptly named “The Fingers of the Hand”. While the series acts as a continuation to the four heroes’ adventures from their individual series, The Defenders ending finds these characters in very different places in their lives than where these first eight episodes began. These new beginnings have heavy ties to storylines found in the Marvel comic series for each character, which we’ll take the opportunity to dive into here.
Warning, if you have not seen the entire first season of The Defenders, we’re entering major spoiler territory.
Daredevil: Get Thee To A Nunnery
As Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Elektra (Elodie Yung) embrace one last time, the pair are considered dead at the end of The Defenders by the trio of remaining superheroes as a building falls down around their heads. Matt Murdock, however, is not as dead as folks believe and finds himself bandaged up in what appears to be a nunnery, looked over by a concerned sister of the faith. What the show doesn’t reveal is how close to Matt the nun in fact is, as she is none other than Maggie Murdock, Daredevil’s mother. While Matt took after his father, Battlin’ Jack Murdock, before his death as a result of his boxing career and his unwillingness to throw a fight, Murdock’s mother was pretty much completely out of the picture. Maggie Murdock, while Matthew was growing up, had found herself suffering from post-natal depression, threatening her son and being forced to reevaluate her life by her husband Jack.
Maggie found her calling with the Church, deciding to become a nun and leave her family for a higher calling. Originally appearing in 1986 in Daredevil #229, from creators Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, Matt’s mom appears in Matt’s life from time to time, mostly offering him advice and helping to heal his wounds following any particularly nasty fights he gets into while wearing the horns. I think that it’s a pretty safe bet that Maggie will have a heavy presence in Daredevil’s third season.
Iron Fist: The New Devil of Hell’s Kitchen
Danny Rand (Finn Jones), since leaving the mystical land of K’un L’un, has been attempting to find his place in the world while battling the forces of the Hand. Taking back the reins of the Rand Corporation at the end of the first season of Iron Fist, Danny dealt with the ending of The Defenders’ first season by finally discovering that New York City was his home. With a hole left in the city given the loss of Daredevil, for the foreseeable future, Danny sits upon a rooftop in the shadows, illuminated only by the light created from his “iron fist”. Rand as the sole protector of Hell’s Kitchen should be an interesting twist for sure and we’ll have to see exactly how long he holds the mantle before Matt Murdock makes his return.
This series of events also took place in the comics, albeit fairly differently from how things went in The Defenders Netflix series. In the Daredevil comic book run from writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark, Matt Murdock found himself in prison after his identity is revealed to the world. As a way to protect New York City, while also giving Matt the cover story that he might in fact not be Daredevil, Danny donned the red horned costume and patrolled the city as the new “Man Without Fear”. When Matt eventually was released, he ran into Rand on the rooftops of the city and the two traded places once again after a brief misunderstanding of punches and kicks like so many other superhero stories.
Misty Knight: The Sound of One Hand Clapping
Attempting to keep the New York City Police Department off the trail of the Defenders as they fought the Hand, Misty Knight (Simone Missick) finds herself in the troubling predicament of fighting one of the Hand’s “Fingers”, Bakuto. Bakuto of course was one of the main antagonists from the first season of Iron Fist, who returned in order to help the Hand reach their goals of continuing their immortality, at the cost of the city of New York. Misty and Bakuto came face to face at the tail end of The Defenders, with Bakuto eventually being killed by Colleen Wing, but not before cutting off Misty’s right arm at the elbow. When we last see Misty in The Defenders, she’s recovering in a hospital bed, her future with the NYPD uncertain.
Misty losing her arm is a nod to the comics, as early in her comic book career, the NYPD officer lost her arm while attempting to stop the detonation of a bomb, to little avail. Tony Stark came into her life with the save, building her a bionic arm similar to that of Captain America’s Winter Soldier. From here, Misty began transitioning from an officer of the law to a full-blown superhero, finding a partnership with Colleen Wing and dubbing themselves the “Daughters of the Dragon”. Eventually, Ms. Knight would even find herself in a relationship with Danny Rand, the two meeting in their super heroic exploits. Considering The Defenders television series has been sticking to a somewhat “down to earth” model, it is yet to be seen whether Misty will eventually be donning a robotic arm or not.
Luke and Jessica Sitting In A Tree
Last but not least, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) found themselves somewhat rekindling their lost love, though considering Luke is still with Claire, the “Night Nurse”, this could be a little tricky. With the Hand defeated, Jessica finds her usual happy place at the bottom of a bottle in a nearby watering hole as Luke swings by to share a shot with her to celebrate their victory. As Luke turns to leave, Jessica adds that maybe they can “grab some coffee sometime”. Of course, the two found themselves at serious odds at the tail end of Jessica Jones’ first season after it was revealed that Jessica, under the thrall of Killgrave, killed Luke’s wife. The two had little to no contact from there, but if you followed the pair’s relationship in the comics, you knew that it was only a matter of time until they were brought back together once again.
Much like in the Netflix series, comics Jessica and Luke begin their relationship as casual acquaintances, both happy to meet someone else with super powers, amongst other reasons. In the comics however, Luke and Jessica are married and have a young toddler named Danielle (named after her “uncle”, Danny Rand). Rather than spending most of their time as “Defenders”, the superpowered couple is actually part of the Avengers, with Luke even leading the team himself at one point. Their daughter, in an alternate future, even becomes the next Captain America! At the present, Luke and Jessica have hit a road bump in the comics, the two somewhat separated thanks to some problems on Jones’ end, though considering how big of a power couple they are, it’s only a matter of time before they reunite.