This Mysterious ‘Defenders’ Organization Isn’t New To The MCU
Fans have been looking forward to Marvel's The Defenders for years, based on the promise of seeing the stars of Netflix's four standalone superhero series team up onscreen for the first time, Avengers-style. Spoilers for The Defenders Episodes 1-4! It's a gutsy choice, then, to make the viewers wait until the end of the third episode — out of only eight! — to actually see all four "enhanced" individuals share a scene together. But it's worth the wait, since their meet-cute quickly turns into another one of the Netflix Marvel franchise's signature hallway brawls. This one takes place in the offices of Midland Financial Circle, which is just about the most innocuous and boring name possible for a nefarious organization… but it's actually a name audiences have heard before. So what is Midland Financial Circle on The Defenders, and what does the organization want?
Most recently, the name of the company was seen in some viral marketing for The Defenders; Netflix released a video titled "Midland Circle Security Elevator B," which depicts Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist riding down in an elevator inside the titular building, panting after a seemingly hard fight; the one viewers just witnessed at the end of Episode 3, in fact. But that wasn't the first time Midland's name was mentioned, either.
Earlier, in Season 1 of Iron Fist, the name of the company was tossed off casually by Harold Meachum, as he ranted about The Hand's infiltration of Rand Enterprises. "It's genius how The Hand's been using our company,” the unstable CEO said. “Well, not just us. It's everywhere: Roxxon, Midland Circle…" (Roxxon Oil Corporation is a shady conglomerate that has been referenced across the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including in all three Iron Man movies, The Avengers, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, and Daredevil.)
However, Meachum's name-drop of Midland still wasn't the first time the company reared its head in the MCU; rather, its roots go back to Season 2 of Daredevil. Midway through that season, Matt Murdock discovered that Midland Financial Circle was funding a mysterious project in Hell's Kitchen… which turned out to be a giant, literal hole in the ground. After being attacked by The Hand while investigating the project, the hole was literally never seen nor mentioned again. But the resurgence of Midland hints that it may be coming back into play sometime very soon.
So, it's known that Midland is a shell company used by The Hand and run by Sigourney Weaver's Alexandra, but it's still unclear what exactly their goal is. If the earthquake in the series premiere was any indication, it likely involves using explosives to expand the hole seen in Daredevil… but to what end? Given that Midland Financial Circle is an original creation for the MCU, it's impossible to predict — but it should be noted that the word "Midland" does appear in the Marvel Comics, in the form of Sid Ridley, aka Captain Midlands.
On the page, Captain Midlands is essentially Britain's version of Captain America, an MI-13 intelligence officer given the Super Soldier serum and turned into a superhero. Is this a hint that the Super Soldier serum will come into play at some point in The Defenders? If so, that would be a neat way to tie Jessica Jones (who is thus far probably the most disconnected of the four heroes from the mythology of The Hand) more personally to the show's threat; Combat Enhancers, a modern variation on the Super Soldier serum, were a major plot point in Jessica Jones Season 1, and will presumably continue to be moving forward.
There are certainly plenty of questions left surrounding Midland Financial Circle — and with only five more episodes to go, the answers will probably start coming hard and fast. I just hope the Defenders are ready for them when they do.