As Iron Fist prepares to enter production this month, we figured it’d be a good time to look over a few showrunners that could run the next Netflix series up, The Defenders. Should Marvel and Netflix follow the timeline they’ve set with the other four series, we can expect a showrunner announcement for The Defenders about halfway through production on Iron Fist. While some had hoped that Steven S. DeKnight, who served as showrunner on the first season of Daredevil, would return to run The Defenders, it’s highly unlikely given the fact that he’s set to direct Pacific Rim 2. And while it’d be great to see one of the showrunners already involved in the other properties fill in, the fact of the matter is, they’re all more than likely going to be busy with their own series as any additional seasons will be set to enter production at some point after The Defenders wraps up production on season one. After all, we already know Jessica Jones has a season two order, and it’s more than likely Daredevil will be getting a season three order relatively soon, and it can be assumed both Luke Cage and Iron Fist will follow suit with additional seasons down the line. So that means that the streaming service will ultimately need to bring in someone else to lead the mini-series, and we’ve broken down some potential candidates below.
- Anne Cofell Saunders (Smallville, Chuck, Battlestar Galactica): When going over potential candidates, I not only looked at producer backgrounds, but also writer backgrounds, and Saunders had a rather interesting background. Not only did she serve as a producer on Chuck, but she was a supervising producer on Smallville, which Jeph Loeb worked on, giving her that Marvel TV connection, and has written for shows such as Battlestar Galactica and 24. While it’s hard to say for sure she’d be a perfect choice for the gig, she would definitely make for an interesting choice, as her background is a bit different than what we’ve seen from the other Marvel/Netflix showrunners thus far.
- David Schickler & Jonathan Tropper (Banshee): With Banshee preparing to air its final season, why not toss producers Schickler & Tropper into the mix? When it comes to the previous showrunners, the only thing they all have in common is that they’ve worked on both network television, and cable television (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc), something Schickler & Tropper are all too familiar with as Banshee is a Cinemax production. It’s gritty. It’s unique. And it’s something that makes me curious what they could bring to The Defenders world Marvel is creating on Netflix.
- Naren Shankar (The Expanse, Almost Human, Farscape): Looking at Shankar’s credits, which include the wonderful The Expanse (if you haven’t checked out season one yet, do so immediately), it’s easy to see why I put him on this list. When it comes to The Defenders, being able to bring these four individual characters together isn’t going to be an easy task just as The Avengers wasn’t an easy task for Whedon. Shankar has a pretty diverse resume, and could make for a nice addition to the Defenders team behind the scenes.
- Graham Roland (Almost Human, Fringe, The Returned): Much like Shankar above, Roland has a pretty impressive resume. And also like Shankar? He’s worked on Almost Human, a show that Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker served as an executive producer on. Another connection to the EPs on the Marvel Netflix side of things? Fellow The Returned EP, Raelle Tucker, has just joined the second season of Jessica Jones as both a writer and executive producer. This would make Roland someone that should at the least be worthy of Netflix’s attention.
- Regina Corrado (The Strain, Sons of Anarchy): Looking at Corrado’s credits, one wouldn’t necessarily think of The Defenders right away. However, I originally thought Melissa Rosenberg was an odd (not bad, just odd) choice for Jessica Jones, and look how that turned out. With that in mind, I can’t help but to think that Corrado could offer a unique voice to the world Marvel has carved out on Netflix.
- Zack Whedon (Halt and Catch Fire, The Red Road): I had to. I mean, Joss Whedon brought us The Avengers, and Jed Whedon brought us Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so why not put down Zack for The Defenders? It’s something that more than likely won’t happen as Zack is busy with Halt and Catch Fire and doesn’t seem too interested in heading a superhero project, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the assortment of showrunners Marvel has gathered thus far for their Netflix shows? It’s to expect the unexpected.
- Kevin Tancharoen (Mortal Kombat: Legacy): Okay, so admittedly, the chances of Tancharoen landing the showrunner gig are rather slim to none, as his experience is mainly in directing. However, he did write, produce, and direct Mortal Kombat: Legacy, and he has managed to direct a good amount of the superhero shows on TV nowadays, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which his sister, Maurissa, serves as co-showrunner on alongside her husband, Jed Whedon. But for me, Tancharoen has always seemed like a good option to run one of these shows. He has proven himself in the superhero genre as a director, and Mortal Kombat: Legacy proves that he’s capable of doing more than simply directing.
However, as great as an option all of those names above would be, there’s one person fans have continually suggested for the gig. Which brings us to the man that was originally set to showrun Daredevil back during season one, and who was later rumored to direct the 2017 Spidey reboot – Drew Goddard. While Goddard ended up departing the Daredevil series to helm a Sinister Six film for Sony, which of course, isn’t happening anytime soon, he’s still credited as a producer on the series and still has some input in the writers room. And while I feel all of the above candidates are worthy of the gig, Goddard would, undeniably, be a huge get for The Defenders. He’s incredibly talented and has such a unique voice and vision, that I’d love to see what he could bring to these characters.
Who would you like to see serve as the showrunner on The Defenders? Sound off in the comments below!