SDCC ’17: The Defenders Panel With Star-Studded Cast And Surprise Screening

by Hannah Means Shannon

 

The Defenders Panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con tonight was a ball of anticipation, with fans cheering wildly as Jeph Loeb took the stage to say that this is the first time Marvel Television has made it into Hall H. It’s the culmination of a dream that started over 3 years ago in the Marvel offices, Loeb said.

He also said, “If you’ve got a problem with strong language, now’s the time to leave”, to applause.

Loeb was then presented with the Inkpot Award for his contribution to comics and television, to standing applause from the room. Loeb urged fans never to give up on their dreams in the panel, and said to make sure that others don’t distract you from them. He thanked the city of New York which has acted as the “fifth Defender” in the Netflix shows and a massive list of folks involved in the making of the shows and at Marvel.

Jon Bernthal took the stage to talk about Frank Castle and the independent series that’s coming up. He asked Loeb if he could show a clip from Punisher. They did. And it was very promising.

Loeb introduced showrunner Marco Ramirez. Jessica Henwick, Deborah Ann Wol, Elodie Yung, Sigorney Weaver, Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, and Finn Jones.

Iron Fist Season 2 production will begin soon, Loeb announced.

Ramirez said that writing the Defenders was a very difficult task, trying to include all the characters in a way that does them justice. That was the “big challenge” he said.

Henwick was asked about playing Colleen Wing, and where she “goes” in Defenders. At the end of Iron Fist, her life has been “ripped” away from her, Henwick said. She hasn’t come to terms with things, and she needs to. There will be plenty of “being awesome” too.

Wol has had a busy year, Loeb said, shooting Defenders in the day and Punisher at night. Trying to keep Paige “consistent” across all the shows has been a big effort.

Yung is supposed to be “dead”, Loeb laughed, and Yung said Elektra is now going to be “amnesiac” who doesn’t remember who she is, and she’s going to be trained to be a “weapon”. The question is how much of the Elektra we know will remain, Yung said.

Weaver was introduced to these actors on stage at New York Comic Con last Fall, she laughed, and she was already a “huge fan” of the shows as well as the actors. She was a fan of the writing and the character of New York City, as a New Yorker.

She was offered a part “she couldn’t refuse”. The role presents an “interesting woman” and one who has a lot of dealings with Elektra, forming one of the most interesting relationships she’s ever portrayed, Weaver said.

Finn Jones spoke about being a “man on a mission”. The first season of Iron Fist is “phase one”, and you can see him change along the way in Defenders, Jones said.

Mike Coulter is now the “hero of Harlem”, and he said that the best parts of the new series are working with each of the cast members as an ensemble. It meant the actors all had screen time, time off, and therefore enjoyed coming to work and seeing each other.

Ritter said that Jessica “doesn’t want to play with others” but what we love about her is her “gooey inside” and tendency to help “the little guy”. She takes opportunities to “make fun of everything they’re doing”, and Daredevil’s suit. She brings “attitude and sass and the funny”, Ritter promised.

Charlie Cox took the “biggest risk” according to Loeb, as the first actor and the lead in the first series. Asked if he knew that this kind of day was coming for him, Cox said “theoretically I did”, since he signed a contract with a section that mentioned a show called “The Defenders” and it happened relatively quickly, he said.

Cox said he’s never been to San Diego and this is “our celebration”, to audience applause.

Ramirez says they are coming in on a “grounded level” for this show, where fights are happening in “back alleys” and “shitty bars”, not in the clouds.

Cox said he’d like to “show the people some stuff”, to applause, hinting at another video to be shown.

Weaver joined in the petition.

The audience was shown the full first episode of The Defenders, which comes to Netflix on August 18th.

Following this viewing, as an extra “Thank you” to fans, the full trailer, never before seen, was screened for the audience.

Both were incredibly solid and entertaining viewing. The budget, planning, tone, and aesthetics of The Defenders is on par with previous high points in the Netflix Marvel series that have garnered so much critical acclaim and fan support.