There’s an old saying that a hero is only as good as their villain, so when you’ve got four heroes, you better have one hell of a villain. With The Defenders, Netflix unites the stars of their Marvel Universe — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, most of whom are meeting for the first time after headlining their own series. The team of street-level heroes are teaming up to take on The Hand, and while Daredevil and Iron Fist have shown us plenty of the shadowy criminal organization, The Defenders is introducing a new foe to battle our team of heroes and she’s their most dangerous adversary yet.
In an impeccable piece of casting, Sigourney Weaver steps up for the role of Alexandra, the mysterious business woman who finds herself at odds with The Defenders. The details of Alexandra’s plans are being kept under lock and key until The Defenders debuts all eight episode on Netflix next month, but we do know that Alexandra is a power player in New York and, considering her relationship with the newly revived Elektra, you can bet she’s somehow tied up with The Hand.
While any mention of The Hand is likely to send half our team of heroes into a fighting frenzy, when we spoke with Weaver at Comic-Con, she insisted she doesn’t see Alexandra (or Elektra for that matter) as a villain.
“I don’t think we’re villains, we’re antagonists. Complex characters with other goals than their goals. What I love is — and I think this is true of what I saw in Daredevil too with Vincent D’Onofrio — His character, yes, he’s not on the same side as Daredevil, but he’s a very compelling character with a real history and a real reality to him. I felt they wanted to create the same idea with Alexandra. I tried to base her on actual, on what we thought would be an actual person in New York. A New Yorker with a great deal of wealth and experience, a patron of the arts. Very complex because I think the eight shows gives you a chance to develop things more than you would in a movie, which is one of the appeals to actors I think.
To make Alexandra the peak of power, Weaver looked to real life businessmen in New York for the way they carry their confidence and their indifference to the way their business dealings harm the world around them.
“She has a lot of confidence and a lot of assurance. Really, I based it on people I’ve met in New York who are in business and who are so powerful they don’t put a lot of effort into lording it over you. Nothing is that important to them except their own goals and their priorities. So they’re very offhand in a way about their power. They wear it very lightly even though it’s deep and dense…My role models for this were all men in business, actually. Men I’ve met who are great patrons of the art and all their money comes from fossil fuels or some awful other thing, and they think they’re terrific. They just love what they’re doing and they want to keep on doing it. And your objections to it because of the planet makes them giggle secretly inside.”
Oh, and she can also kick your ass. She probably won’t because she has people who do that kind of thing for her, but she absolutely could. Asked if she wanted more fight scenes or if she’s happy with the amount, Weaver said,
“I felt it was the right amount for Alexandra, because I feel like she has those skills but she’s at the point in her life where she’d rather talk. She doesn’t do all that. She has people to do that for her. She battles people a different way, using her wits, using her charm, and her intuition. I certainly was totally game to do whatever, and I have a red belt in karate, but that’s not really what they do. I think they had a different idea of Alexandra. But I do get in there when I have to. Sometimes they’re all over me. She has a lot of priorities and it was weighing what was most important at the moment.”
Finn Jones echoed those sentiments,
“She really believes in what she’s doing. And actuall, it’s quite sensible when you think about it. It’s not like an ‘evil plan,’ it actually kind of makes sense. Especially from Danny’s perspective, she knows how to prey on the individual’s weaknesses and with Danny, she knows he’s vulnerable, and she knows that above anything else he needs friends, and she knows how to tap into that. I think that makes her incredibly dangerous because she fucks around with [your head].”