Following their turn as the showrunners for season two of Daredevil, Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez were announced by both Marvel and Netflix as the showrunners for the upcoming mini-series, The Defenders. It’s a big shift, no doubt, as they’ll be responsible for bringing together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist on screen for the very first time. However, for Petrie and Ramirez, they don’t see it as that big of an adjustment. Speaking with the folks over at /Film, they discussed what it’s like moving from Daredevil into The Defenders, as well as the upcoming third season of Daredevil, and the comparisons to The Avengers.
Having had to find a balance between Daredevil (Charlie Cox), The Punisher (Jon Bernthal), and Elektra (Elodie Yung) during Daredevil‘s second season, it isn’t entirely surprising that the duo appears to be at ease with tackling something as big as The Defenders. For them, it was a ‘natural adjustment’. Their love of the other shows has only made it easier for them to envision how to go about taking Daredevil and introducing him into this greater world.
How big of an adjustment was it going from Daredevil to The Defenders?
Petrie: Oh wow, what a great question. It was a very natural adjustment. I’m such a big fan of the other shows that it’s been really exciting to take Matt Murdock, who’s so singular in his focus, and spread him out into this other world.
Of course, given their distinctive personalities, it’s safe to say when the Defenders first come together, they more than likely won’t get along. When asked if the television format allows them to really delve into that aspect of the group, Petrie and Ramirez were quick to agree. Much like we’ve seen with the other shows, we can expect the Defenders to be a slow burn, allowing the story to really spread out over the [unknown] amount of episodes they’ll have.
Does television allow you to spend more time exploring the part where the Defenders don’t get along at first?
Petrie: You have time over the many episodes, exactly, to spread out the characters, let them breathe, let them expand and let them get to know each other, so they don’t have to love each other right away, but we’ll love them by the end.
Ramirez: I think yes. Somebody asked earlier about whether or not The Defenders is going to feature more spectacle, more explosions, basically, was the question.
Given the relationships between some of the characters, is it possible that we’ll see some of the Defenders pair-off throughout the series – such as Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones)? Although Petrie didn’t exactly veto the idea, he did state that the show will ultimately focus on the team, which is entirely understandable.
Are you able to design episodes where it’s only one Defender, or they pair off?
Petrie: We’ll be doing a lot of mixing and matching absolutely, but I think the fun of it is to see the team.
While we’re all excited to see the team finally form, there’s no denying that a good amount of fans are also hopeful that we’ll get to see the team break off every now and again. With Petrie having stated that they’ve been ‘mixing and matching’, the folks at /Film couldn’t overlook the chance to ask them just who the writers had found worked well together. Unfortunately, the duo was unable to provide any sort of answer for fear of spoiling something.
In the writers room, which pairings have you discovered are really great?
Ramirez: We have four stunningly talented actors. The world knows Mike [Colter] because the world saw JJ. So we have four great actors. There’s no version of me answering that question without somehow spoiling something or somehow disappointing an actor.
Petrie: They’re all great. Any two you put together makes sense because if you have Matt and Jessica, you get two very smart hard tripping New Yorkers. If you’ve got Danny and Luke, you’ve got what fans recognize as heroes for hire, but we’re not there yet. If you’ve got Jessica and Danny, you’ve got the hard cynic and the wide-eyed innocent. So there’s really no pairing that doesn’t work.
The one major change for Petrie and Ramirez was that, unlike with Elektra and The Punisher in Daredevil season two, they’re not working with characters they are able to establish themselves on screen. They’re working with characters that we as fans have already gotten to know over the course of thirteen episodes – or in the case of Daredevil, twenty-six episodes. It is important that they remember to make sure the characters remain true to themselves, while also allowing the story to tell itself as opposed to trying to bend it to their will.
What are the advantages and disadvantages to having to service so many characters in each sequence?
Ramirez: If anything it’s been a great challenge because it makes you feel like I have to stay true to who these characters are. Luke has to be Luke. JJ has to be JJ and Danny has to be Danny. Same with Matt. If anything, it’s been a real exercise almost in restraint. These people are all so strong headed, so I’ve taken it as a learning experience. They’re all so strong willed and so smart and so capable that sometimes, this was something I experienced writing for Frank [Castle, a.k.a. Punisher] last season, sometimes the page screams back. It’s like, “No, no, this is what I’m doing. I don’t care what your plans are.”
In the teaser that Netflix and Marvel released at SDCC, they made it clear that the main villain of The Defenders will be the Hand. However, it’s also possible that we’ll see another villain try and take on the team. While discussing the villains for the upcoming series, Petrie and Ramirez acknowledged the potential for more than one villain for the Defenders to tackle.
Are you thinking of one monolithic villain or multiple villains for The Defenders?
Petrie: Interesting. We never really think of them as antagonists, first of all. We always think of everyone having their own agenda.
Ramirez: Without giving any spoilers or anything, I can say it’s been a challenge because now that they’re all four together, it feels like they’re so powerful. How cool is this? We get to use all four of these people but I think we’ve found something that feels great.
As of right now, Petrie and Ramirez have not been confirmed to return as showrunners for the third season of Daredevil. However, judging by their answers on whether they’ve had the chance to really break down the upcoming season, I’d assume they’ll definitely return as showrunners for season three. As to when we’ll probably get official confirmation? I would guess probably in late 2016/early 2017 when they’ve wrapped the first season of The Defenders.
Can you begin to think of Daredevil season three?
Petrie: Oh gosh, we’ve got our hands full with The Defenders right now. I’m so thrilled that they announced it. I’m so thrilled that we’re doing it. We’ll figure it out like we always do.
Does showrunning The Defenders leave you in a better place to set Matt Murdock up for his season three?
Petrie: Oh sure. We will be returning all of our characters to interesting new places where their respective show runners can pick up the threads.
The Defenders is set to hit Netflix sometime in 2017. If you haven’t already, you can view the first teaser for the series by heading over here. Until then, you can watch the first two seasons of Daredevil, as well as the first season of Jessica Jones, on Netflix now. The first season of Luke Cage will hit the streaming service next month, with Iron Fist following sometime in 2017. As always, be sure to follow along here for all things related to The Defenders.
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