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Friday Five: 5 Next Generation Netflix Defenders

Today is officially Daredevil Day - yes, officially. The UN has issued a… thing ('edict'? doesn't sound very UNish, does it? And 'proclamation' sounds like something Regina would issue in Once Upon A Time). Let's start over.

So the UN has declared Friday 10th April 2015 to be Daredevil Day in honour of the launch of the first Marvel Netflix series.

And, while obviously you're all off watching all thirteen episodes back to back, when you're done, here's a subject for you to consider. After Daredevil comes Jessica Jones, then Luke Cage, then Iron Fist before they all get together to be The Defenders. But what then?

Who else should Marvel Studios bring into the Netflix fold to be part of the more street level part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Here are five (well, technically seven) suggestions...

Cloak and Dagger

CloakLet's just get the fact that the name/concept connection is outrageously forced out of the way first so we can focus on how great the pairing was from its very first appearance. Tammy and Tyrone are runaway teenagers who made it to New York only to fall victim to a mob plan to test new designer drugs on the youth that have fallen through the cracks. Most of the victims die, but Tammy and Tyrone emerge from the tests changed.

Tammy's light daggers are formidable weapons, and also the only thing able to keep the darkness that Tyrone is able to channel 'fed' - unless he lets it consume life energy. His darkness also allows him to teleport and to consign enemies to a dark dimension. Their origin is one of the grimmest in the Marvel canon, and even allows for some typical Marvel angst - Tyrone is tortured by the fact that Tammy is forced to stay with him to prevent his darkness feeding on innocents, even though she could, in theory, return to a normal life. 

Appearing initially in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Cloak and Dagger had their own limited series, a well-regarded meeting with the New Mutants, and went on to an unfortunately sporadic career in the Marvel U. An attempt to retcon their origin to make them mutants when mutants were The Big Thing is probably, hopefully gone by the wayside, and it's past time that they got the kind of attention that a TV series would give them. 

Moon Knight

Moon KnightSo yes, if you're Batman you're The Dark Knight Detective, the shadows are your home, and appearing from and disappearing into the darkness is, basically, your thing. 

BUT: imagine Batman didn't give a shit if you saw him coming? If Batman wore white to make damn sure you did see him coming? And not just a bit white - a white so bright it's practically glowing, and a crescent moon-shaped cloak that fills your vision just before you're pinned to the wall by a hail of darts and your jaw's broken by a kick to the head. That's right; it's Batman but even more so. Say hello to Moon Knight.

Moon Knight's alter ego Marc Spector has a complex history and personalities (yes, plural) which have created a difficult character for creative teams to get right. And there's a mystical component to his origin which might sit slightly askew of the Netflix vibe, but then, so has Iron Fist, depending on what they do with him. And Warren Ellis' recent rethinking of the character, which externalised his civilian personalities into different aspects of Moon Knight would be a great starting point for the TV version. Which is not to diminish any of the truly great creative teams who've gone before, by the way.


Spider-WomanIt says something that a character created through experimental drugs given to her by her HYDRA scientist father to save her from radiation sickness, whose putative mother went on to become Viper/Madam Hydra and whose history includes being replaced by the Skrull Empress and used as the figurehead of an invasion of Earth before becoming an agent of the Earth's interplanetary defence agency has always felt somehow more street-level than Spider-Man, but it's assuredly the case. 

Jessica Drew has been around for almost forty years, and has finally just got a new costume and 'everyday' life away from the Avengers, where she was never a particularly good fit in the first place (though at least it gave her some profile). Spider-Woman has always occupied a slightly odd part of the MU - from her early days in a weirdly Victorian London to the development of her own particularly odd rogues' gallery (Daddy Longlegs, anyone?). Now that she's back to tooling around the streets of the city on her motor bike, once again in her private detective role, she'd be a great fit with the rest of the Defenders-to-be.

Black Cat

Black CatI'm not exactly sure where Felicia Hardy 'belongs' in terms of the Marvel/Sony deal as she's really a Spider-Man supporting character, but I'd love to see her on TV, and she'd fit the street-level part of the MCU perfectly. Often written-off as "Marvel's answer to Catwoman", The Black Cat is more interesting than just being a knock-off would suggest.

A cat burglar by trade, Felicia reformed after getting interested in Spider-Man (yuck), then got herself in the Kingpin's power when she went to him to get super powers so that she'd be better able to fight by his side (double yuck). As the 'bad luck' powers she gained were more trouble than they were worth, they were soon left behind and since then Felicia's taken a path including a stint with one of the various Heroes For Hire teams - so is a perfect fit in the Luke Cage/Iron Fist world. Currently she seems to be playing the role of a crime boss herself in the new Silk series, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for a Netflix version.

Daughters of the Dragon

DaughtersThere's every possibility that Colleen Wing and Misty Knight will be introduced during the upcoming series, especially as Misty's long-term lover is Danny (Iron Fist) Rand, but pending an announcement, let's include them in the game. 

Colleen is a trained samurai with a past as a private detective in a practice she shared with Misty. Misty is a former NYPD cop who now has a bionic arm, having lost her own in a bomb blast. Leaders of the same Heroes For Hire incarnation that included Black Cat, the pair have been on the periphery of various factions of the MU, including a stint as enforcers for the authority forces during the Civil War. 

The private investigator and hero-for-hire set-ups both lend a lot of flexibility in terms of their roles in the MCU, and there's no point avoiding the fact that they'd shake up the racial and gender mix that's currently so dominated by white guys named Chris, but I'm not including them out of tokenism. It's an urban samurai and a detective with a bionic arm - why on earth weren't they the first TV Defenders

Honourable mentions and also-rans: As this is The Defenders, obviously Hellcat and Valkyrie were on my longlist, but the former's civilian identity is already lined up to appear, and Val feels a bit more likely as a film character. I avoided characters that should be on the list but have already had film versions, no matter how dire, like Elektra, Ghost Rider and The Punisher, so my other leading contenders were Shang-Chi, Paladin, Silver Sable, The Shroud, Nighthawk (the Kyle Richmond version) and White Tiger.