Predicting The Defenders’ Next MCU Appearance

The heroes of The Defenders Saga seem to be set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper, so take a look at where they could pop up next.

On March 16, 2022, Disney+ finally added the popular Marvel series that originated on Netflix onto their own streaming service. Announced in 2013, Marvel and Netflix made an agreement to produce four series and one crossover event to grow both the still young Marvel Cinematic Universe and Netflix which was looking to get into the original series creation. In 2015, Daredevil premiered and was a smash hit for both Marvel and Netflix, with the streaming service quickly ordering another season of the series. 2015 also saw the premiere of Jessica Jones, and the two shows with their adult content and more mature themes stood in contrast with the more lighthearted MCU films that year, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. 2016 saw Daredevil season 2 and Luke Cage season 1, with 2017 seeing three different series. Iron Fist was the first true bomb of the MCU-related projects, then The Defenders followed shortly to mild reactions, and finally, The Punisher spun off from Daredevil. By this point the Marvel Netflix series had begun to lose interest from audiences, and as Disney announced plans for their own streaming services Netflix started canceling the series. In 2019, Jessica Jones and The Punisher aired their final seasons ending the Marvel/Netflix era. A contract stipulation prevented Marvel from using the characters again for two years following their cancellations. It has now been over two years and it appears that the characters are set to return.

While these series originated on Netflix, the move over to Disney+ sees the various shows rebranded as The Defenders Saga. With them joining the umbrella of Marvel series on Disney+ as opposed to Hulu, it lends some credence to the idea that Marvel has major plans for these characters and wants audiences to be able to watch them alongside the various other Marvel programs. With the appearance of Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin in Hawkeye, it appears it is almost a guarantee more characters from these series will show up, although how much of their established backstory is canon remains up in the air.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a vast growing franchise, with multiple films and television series planned in the coming years. With various threats and forces at play being established from the Celestials, a multiverse in danger from Kang the Conqueror, and various mystical threats there will be a need for more heroes and plenty of projects for these characters to appear. The great aspect of the MCU is these characters can either show up in one episode guest roles, become supporting players in other people’s stories, or get spun off into their own new adventures with exciting new pairings. Here are a list of the various characters from The Defenders Saga and where they could appear next and what characters they could interact with.


Arguably the most famous character in The Defenders roster before the series and after, Daredevil aka Matt Murdock was a fan favorite from the day his first season hit Netflix in 2015. After years of fans waiting for the character to make an MCU movie appearance, Matt Murdock finally made his cinematic debut in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home with Charlie Cox reprising his role. While the character did not suit up, the film did tease his superhero alter ego and the character is the most likely to appear.

The most obvious answer is in She-Hulk, as that series will also focus on a superhero lawyer. It is likely that Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, and Karen Page could cross paths with Jennifer Walters in the series, and would allow for further teasing of the Daredevil persona without suiting up. The other prospect is Echo, as Daredevil and Echo have a complex relationship in the comics. When Sony decides to make another Tom Holland Spider-Man movie, teaming up Daredevil and Spider-Man is a good way to keep the ‘Marvel Team-Up’ element of the MCU films but a more street-level hero could set up a smaller scale Spider-Man film. Since Daredevil is one of Marvel’s most famous heroes, the character is likely a high priority and will show up in a number of film and television series.

Jessica Jones

With Jessica Jones being a private eye, the character can pop up in a number of MCU projects for one-off appearances. She-Hulk seems like a great place to implement her character, as she could have a working relationship with Jennifer Walters who is a super-powered attorney.

In the comics, Jessica Jones also has a close friendship with Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. The original plan for the Jessica Jones series when it was planned for ABC back in 2010 was to feature Carol Danvers in her Ms. Marvel persona, but by the time the series went to Netflix the character was replaced with Trish Walker aka Hellcat due to Marvel Studios having an interest in Carol Danvers in a film. While The Marvels is far into production, there is always a chance Jessica Jones could factor in a small cameo similar to Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home and could be expanded upon in another Captain Marvel sequel.

Realistically (an odd choice of word regarding this franchise) Jessica Jones is one of the most powerful superheroes in the MCU, and the most interesting thing about her character would watch her being recruited to another team. She has often been running from being a hero, and while she may not be a traditional superhero she has the ability to do a great deal of good, and watching her bounce off other more traditional heroes like Sam Wilson’s Captain America, Spider-Man, or even someone like Doctor Strange opens the door for a lot of exciting pairings and possibilities.

Luke Cage

Luke Cage is one of the harder characters to integrate into the MCU full time not because of the character but the actor, as Mike Colter has commitments to the hit Paramount+ series Evil. However, Colter could likely still schedule time for a few cameo appearances as Luke Cage in the MCU, across different series and films.

When audiences last saw Luke in his own series and in the final season of Jessica Jones, Luke had taken over the club to become the new ‘Sheriff’ of Harlem, essentially acting as a noble crime boss. Race was a major part of Luke Cage both in terms of themes and identity, so with Sam Wilson becoming the new Captain America Luke Cage likely has an interesting point of view and perspective to offer that could be shown in the planned Captain America 4. Another possibility is Armor Wars, which is set to deal with the fallout of Stark technology making its way to the public and falling into the wrong hands. On Luke Cage it was already established Hammer Industries weapons were being funneled through Cottonmouth’s empire, so if Stark tech found its way across Cage’s path he would likely have something to say about it.

While no Avengers film is planned at the moment, there is almost 100% certainty another Avengers movie will be made, just it might not be a for a while. In the comics when the original Avengers disbanded and a new team formed, fittingly titled The New Avengers, Luke Cage was one of the recruits and went on to become a major member of the team including as the new leader following Captain America’s death. Upgrading Luke Cage to an Avenger in the films seems like the right call for the Hero of Harlem.

Iron Fist

Listen, Danny Rand is part of the Marvel Universe and he has to be dealt with. It is highly unlikely he would be a big part, maybe a one-off cameo if anything before everybody just never speaks of him again. Yet his series did leave him and some of his supporting players (who we’ll get to in a minute) in an interesting place that can be delved into future projects.

The clearest play to integrate Iron Fist is in a sequel to Shang-Chi, and a great meta moment could be having the two heroes fight and Shang-Chi just making quick work of Iron Fist in battle showing who the real martial arts hero of the MCU is. If the sequel works in the approach of a martial arts tournament, Iron Fist is an easy pick for a combatant the audience would immediately recognize and doesn’t need much explanation but is then taken care of quickly. The character could also appear in Echo, but one more interesting place is for the character to crossover with Moon Knight. While Moon Knight is currently only scheduled as a limited series, the character of Marc Spector and his wife Layla could reappear and have a history with Danny Rand who was last seen traveling the world.

The Punisher

The Punisher is easily the trickiest character as far as the MCU to work in. The character has a complicated legacy in the real world, due to the characters skull logo being co-opted by police and the fact that the character’s main superpower is basically the second amendment making the character a hard sell, particularly as gun violence continues to rise (the release of The Punisher series on Netflix was delayed due to the Las Vegas shooting in 2017).

Now that isn’t to say that The Punisher could not work within the MCU, as he has appeared in animation with some of his edges sanded off, but then is that the version of the character anybody wants to see? Even some recent attempts to move the character in different directions like making him a Cosmic Ghostrider or a Frankenstein-type monster have never quite landed, although one has to imagine Marvel Studios is actively considering one of those approaches.

The simplest answer would be one scene in an upcoming fourth Spider-Man movie, as it would be a nice callback to the character’s first comic book appearance. Yet given how much of the character’s story in the MCU so far has been focused on military veterans and PTSD, the best place for the character might be a small but pivotal role in Captain America 4. Sam Wilson worked as a counselor at the VA hospital. In the comics, Frank Castle had great respect for Steve Rogers as Captain America which was probably most highly shown in Civil War when the character refused to lay a hand on Captain America even when he was being beaten by him. Exploring Frank’s view of Sam, and also how Sam can assist and help Frank would be a great way to reintroduce the character.

Misty Knight & Colleen Wing

Misty Knight and Colleen Wing may have seemed like supporting characters, but in the comics, these characters were stars in their own right and formed a team of their own, The Daughter of the Dragon. Fans wanted the characters to get their own spin-off series when the characters were on Netflix, yet it sadly never happened. Now there is the ultimate chance to spin off these two great characters who almost stole the shows from their lead stars and led by two talented performers in the form of Simone Missick and Jessica Henwick respectively.

However, there are some issues as far as bringing the duo back as a team. Like Mike Colter, star Simone Missick has commitments to another series, All Rise so it is unlikely that the character can headline two series. Yet the character could pop up in a number of supporting roles and cameos, like in She-Hulk working with Jennifer Walters. In the comics, Misty Knight even works alongside Valkyrie so while it is unlikely that she will appear in Thor: Love and Thunder any future projects Misty Knight could cross paths with Valkyrie, possibly transferring to New Asgard.

At the end of Iron Fist, the series finally (but far too late) corrected its biggest mistake and rightfully transferred the power over to Colleen Wing, the series’ best and most interesting character. Star Jessica Henwick has become a much bigger name since the series ended having landed roles in Love and Monsters, The Matrix Resurrections, and will appear in the Russo Bros. directed The Gray Man and the Rian Johnson film Knives Out 2. The actress even passed over auditioning for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to work on the fourth Matrix film in the hopes to reprise her role as Colleen Wing in a future MCU film. With a supernaturally powered sword, she seems like an ideal fit for the pairing of Black Knight and Blade that was teased at the end of Eternals.

Trish Walker

The character arc for Trish Walker was one of the most fascinating ones to witness across the course of the MCU, as the character went from Jessica Jones’ most trusted and loyal friend and sister to becoming the final villain of the series, so consumed by the idea of being a superhero that it drove her down a violent path that only Jessica could stop her. The series ended with Trish being taken into custody, where she would be held on the Raft which was first shown in Captain America: Civil War as a prison for super-powered criminals.

In the comics, Trish adopts the superhero identity of Hellcat, and the character’s costume was teased in Jessica Jones. The character is a superpowered prisoner opening the door for her to reappear in a number of places in the MCU. While there have been no words on a Thunderbolts project and might be unlikely due to the two Suicide Squads films, if Marvel did want to integrate the team into the MCU Trish seems like a natural addition given her status in a super-powered prison. Also, with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) recruiting various individuals like US Agent and Yelena Belova, it appears that a version of The Dark Avengers is forming, and making Trish one of the recruits allows for an already established character to return in a way that requires little to no explanation and fans of the series will immediately recognize Trish. This also opens the door for the character to cross paths with Jessica Jones again, either giving her a chance of redemption with Jessica or going further down her villainous path.

The Kingpin

The biggest and most iconic villain from The Defenders Saga is Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin. The Kingpin is one of Marvel Comics’ most famous villains and he is a great addition to any story focused on the criminal element of New York. He has a history with various characters in the comics, so integrating him into the MCU as a major player seems like the perfect call for a new type of villain that the various Avengers heroes haven’t quite had to deal with. They’ve battled world-ending threats, but what about a villain who threatens the day-to-day life and stability of many, and one who is so integrated into New York that he cannot just be taken down with a fist.

Already shown in Hawkeye, the character appeared to meet his fate at the hands of Echo. But the death was shown off-screen likely indicating the character could return, most likely in Echo’s series given the character’s connection. With Kingpin being THE most famous crime boss villain in the Marvel Universe, he really could pop up in a number of projects as a go-to crime figure that could play into storylines like Armor Wars and Secret Invasion. The Kingpin was originally a Spider-Man villain, so the character could appear as a villain in an upcoming Spider-Man film with Tom Holland.

The most interesting dynamic to explore would be with Kingpin and Sharon Carter aka the Power Broker. Kingpin’s operation is local while The Power Broker is worldwide, but there is a chance that Wilson Fisk could want to grow his empire and could come into conflict with The Power Broker. Putting two powerful crime figures at war would open the door for some interesting stories, drawing various super-powered individuals, including some of the Defenders, into a conflict.

What do you think? Where do you want to see the various characters in The Defenders saga? What character interactions do you want to see? Let us know in the comments below.