Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were heartbroken when the studio announced that the entirety of Phase Four was set to be delayed due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, with the wait between new MCU movies now the lengthiest in over a decade. While we now have to wait until November to get an idea of what Kevin Feige has planned for the franchise over the next couple of years, the unfortunate setback could also turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Not only does it give the creative teams behind the likes of Spider-Man 3, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder an increased pre-production schedule and more time to fine-tune their scripts, but it could also pave the way for some fresh faces to be introduced into the long-running comic book series. Most notably, former Netflix residents the Defenders.
While we’re not saying that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist should just be shoehorned into these projects without rhyme or reason, there’s been speculation that Marvel have acquired the rights back to the characters already despite initial claims that they wouldn’t be able to use them for two years following their cancellations on Netflix. Also, the head of Marvel Studios has already admitted that the events of the streaming service are not official canon, meaning they can be brought in with their narrative slates wiped clean.
In fact, there’s been rumblings that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings could include Iron Fist in some capacity, while Matt Murdock has been repeatedly linked to appear in Spider-Man 3 as Peter Parker’s lawyer and Jessica Jones is one of the many names rumored to appear in Captain Marvel 2.
The Defenders don’t have to show up as full-blown supporting characters from the off, but given how closely the events of the MCU are linked, it wouldn’t be too tricky to quietly debut them in either the movies or Disney Plus shows. Shang-Chi’s rumored underground fighting tournament could have Iron Fist as a participant, a character that needs a lawyer could be represented by Matt Murdock, somebody may hire a private investigator that turns out to be Jessica Jones, or there could be a scene set in a Harlem bar that just happens to be owned by Luke Cage. As is always the case with Marvel, the possibilities are endless.