Who run the Marvel Universe? From the looks of the first photos Netflix released from Marvel's The Defenders, out August 18, it's girls, lots of girls. Actually, they're not girls — they're strong women. When looking through all 48 new photos for Season 1 of the superheroes miniseries — which has reluctant heroes Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) teaming up for the good of New York City — it's hard not to notice there are a lot of female characters getting time to shine. In fact, the majority of the series photos feature women who look like they're ready to kick ass and take names. Beyoncé would be proud.
While Jessica Jones is the only female Marvel (kind of) superhero to get her own standalone series, fans of Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage already know that for every one of these great men, there's an even greater woman there to help. She doesn't always have superpowers, though, sometimes she does. (Hey, Elektra!) Often she's a lawyer, cop or a journalist who's smart, strong, and capable of defending herself whatever comes her way.
In The Defenders, that includes some very strong female baddies, which means you may not be rooting for all the women in these photos. Though, who doesn't want to see what Sigourney Weaver has up her sleeves?
Not much is known about Weaver's mysterious villain, who's the head of an ancient organization. But Weaver did tell Entertainment Weekly last month, “I’m not a villain. I’m an adversary," which somehow makes her character even more mysterious.
Showrunner Marco Ramirez preferred to call Alexandra a "survivor" who hasn't gone up against anything quite like the Defenders. "It's intimidating to her," showrunner Marco Ramirez told EW.
But what is clear from a recent clip that has Alexandra meeting with Madame Gao, this doesn't mean she's off her game. If anything, her desire to live may make her even more frightening. As she tells Gao, this mysterious mission she's on needs to be done quick and Alexandra doesn't sound like a woman who doesn't stick to her plans.
Rosario Dawson's nurse has appeared in all four of Marvel shows which means she's got a relationship with all of the Defenders. Some a little closer than others. Cough, Luke, cough.
In fact, EW teased that she is the one who really brings the Defenders together. But it's unlikely that she'll be celebrated for doing so. In the trailer Danny, aka The Iron Fist, tells the rest of The Defenders, "They're hunting our friends, our family, and they're not going to stop there." It's clear that Alexandra's plan is a personal one which has fans worried that Claire will be in some major danger. Those worried looks she seems to be sporting in these photos certainly doesn't help ease fans' worried minds.
The last time we saw Elektra (Élodie Yung) she was resting in peace, but now she's wreaking havoc on the Defenders. Entertainment Weekly teased that the Elektra we once knew is gone and could be returning as the weapon Black Sky. This is all thanks to the Hand, who is weaponizing the old Elektra and from the looks of this photo, perhaps giving her another weapon of choice. Elektra without her Okinawan sai sword? Say it ain't so.
In the latest set of photos, the woman, perhaps formerly known as Elektra, was also spotted in all-black acting pretty chummy with Alexandra. But don't worry, not all love is lost between her and Daredevil. At least not yet.
Here the rogue police detective from Luke Cage is seen interrogating Jessica Jones. As we learned in The Defenders trailer, Jessica has messed up Misty's investigation and she's none too happy about it. What is Misty (Simone Missick) investigating? That's still unclear at this point, but it's never good to be on Misty's bad side.
The former ally of Wilson Fisk has already proven herself a worthy opponent, but this time around we may get to see Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) on the defensive. While the heroin trader has connections to The Hand that have served her well in the past, it seems as if Alexandra has her wrapped around her little finger.
In this photo, it's hard to tell what Alexandra's looming hand on the shoulder means. It is for a job well done, or is it a sign of something more sinister?
In a clip from The Defenders, it's clear Alexandra is putting pressure on Gao to speed up their mission, which makes Gao a little nervous. That should make us all a lot nervous.
Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) has become a vigilante sidekick and a hardhitting journalist, and it's clear she's back on the beat. As we know, she's not afraid to seek out stories based on conspiracy theories, even if they put her in danger. With Alexandra's motives unclear, Karen's reporting skills could come in handy. Though, they might put her in some major danger.
Colleen will not be in New York City when the Defenders starts. Jessica Henwick told Entertainment Weekly back in April that after finding out that everything she knew was basically a lie her Iron Fist character needed to get away. Henwick said,
“We find her a month after we left her. It’s really interesting she hasn’t been able to deal with the emotional trauma she dealt with in Iron Fist. So it builds to a head and she explodes in Defenders.”
Even better, Henwick said that she'll be sharing some screen time with Misty. As CBR.com pointed out, these two characters have a long history together, becoming fast friends who form a private investigating firm. Eventually they become the crimefighting duo of Daughters of the Dragon. No word yet if these two will be unleashing the dragon this season of The Defenders.
Jessica Jones' best friend and hit talk show host, played by Rachael Taylor, is back and she seems to be spending a little time at the police station. Why is that? We'll have to wait and see. We'll also have to wait and see if Trish finally becomes her superhero alter ego Hellcat. After all, we could use another female superhero in the mix and we know Trish has been training.
These photos don't give much away, except that The Defenders is celebrating female power in all its forms. And that in itself is a victory.