Marvel’s Defenders is a group of individuals – usually labeled as outsiders – that happen to team up together to fight a common foe. This “non-team” often battles mystic and supernatural enemies, which makes sense given that Doctor Strange started the group and the first incarnation featured the Hulk and Namor.
In 2013, Marvel began development on a set of Defenders series for an online streaming video company, and Netflix quickly bought the rights. Starting in the 2015 we’ll see individual series for each of these characters, culminating in a Defenders mini-series. Some roles have been cast. Others have yet to have their actors revealed. JK Casting Couch will give you the info on these characters and the actors who’ll play them or at least give you some rumors of actors who could play them.
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
What do you do when you crush on both Peter Parker and Johnny Storm in high school, and then get superpowers through a freak accident? Fight crime of course. Jessica Jones does just that for a while as a superhero, but no amount of name changes or powers prepared her for the big time. Now she fights crime as a super-powered private eye.
Krysten Ritter has been confirmed as Jessica Jones, and she’s shown her ability to switch from comedy to drama. She played the tragic Jane Margolis on AMC’s Breaking Bad and the titular character Chloe in Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. With Jones, Ritter should have plenty of opportunities to explore a deep, troubled character.
Unknown as Iron Fist
A nine-year-old Daniel Rand (aka Iron Fist) loses his mother and father on an expedition to the mystical city of K’un-L’un. A team of archers happen upon Rand and take him to Yu-Ti, the ruler of K’un-L’un. Under Yu-Ti’s tutelage Rand learns martial arts and becomes the heroic Iron Fist.
There’s no official word on who will play Iron Fist, and there have been several actors rumored or suggested for the role: Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), Justin Hartley (Smallville’s Green Arrow), Mike Vogel (Angel from X-Men: The Last Stand), and Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games).
I’m sure any one of these actors could bring life to the role, but Hemsworth is the most intriguing from this list of names. His brother is already Thor, and it’d be nice to see the two of them share screen time.
But personally, I would prefer a complete or virtual unknown, and if certain conditions are met, I’d love to see an Asian-American cast in this role. The only problem with an Asian-American as Iron Fist is that Asians are type-cast as either the martial artist or the sexy nerd. Take Lucy Liu for example. She gets close to escaping these stereotypes but she tends to get bounced back and forth from one of these two clichés.
The best case scenario for an Asian-American actor playing Iron Fist is the hope of a love story (or some other deeper story thread) within an action show, similar to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Iron Fist has a wealth of such stories, but we’ll have to see if the focus is on telling a great story or mindless action. My gut tells me a great story given the two creative parties involved.
Mike Colter as Luke Cage
Born and raised on the streets of Harlem, Carl Lucas runs with a bad crowd. He gets framed for drug possession and goes to prison. After some jailbreak attempts, Lucas gets transferred to a max-security prison, where a research scientist turns Lucas into a guinea pig by dosing him with a new Super-Soldier serum. Lucas escapes and becomes Luke Cage: Hero for Hire.
Mike Colter is a veteran actor who brings credibility to the role. He’s been in Oscar darlings like Million Dollar Baby and Zero Dark Thirty, but Cage isn’t his first foray into comic books. He had a role in 2012’s Men in Black 3 as the Colonel. Colter certainly looks the part, too. I have a hard time hearing him deliver the line, “Sweet Christmas.”
Charlie Cox as Daredevil
Matt Murdock gets blinded by a radioactive substance at a young age. He may not have his sight, but his other senses get blown to epic proportions. If that weren’t enough, gangsters off Matt’s father Jack Murdock because Jack won’t throw a prize-fight. Furious, Matt Murdock throws on a yellow and dark red costume, which later became an all red costume, and battles crime as Daredevil.
Charlie Cox may not have as many acting credits as the other confirmed roles, but his stint as Owen Sleater on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire catapults him into Daredevil’s jumpsuit. My only concern is that he’s an English actor and has either played in period pieces or with an English or Irish accent in most of his roles. There will come a time where Daredevil/Matt Murdock will yell and that’s when your natural accent can poke through your vocal armor.