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How to watch Marvel Studios ’s Defenders in release and chronological order, from Daredevil to Jessica Jones and more

Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist! Want to get started on Marvel’s Netflix shows? Here’s how to do it!

The Defenders
Image credit: Marvel Studios

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Let’s explore the seedier side of the Marvel Universe. While the Avengers handle cosmic threats like Thanos, the Defenders protect the streets of New York City. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist might not be as glamorous as Captain Marvel or Iron Man, but they’re tough and not afraid to get the job done. The Defenders adventures are more grounded, more violent, and more adult than typical MCU productions.

Maybe you heard about these shows while they were airing on Netflix, but never got a chance to give them a try. Or maybe you’re a longtime fan looking to catchup ahead of Daredevil: Born Again. Either way, Popverse has you covered! This guide will tell you everything you need to know about Marvel’s Defenders saga, including how to watch it in release and chronological order.

How to watch the Defenders in release order

Marvel's Defenders
Image credit: Marvel Television

Are you ready to dive into Marvel’s Defenders saga? Perhaps you’re looking to watch each show in release order, but you aren’t sure where they go. Does Jessica Jones season 2 come before or after Luke Cage season 2? Where does Defenders season 1 fit in? Where else have the characters appeared? This list covers all of these questions. Just follow this watch order, and you’ll be all set.

How to watch the Defenders in chronological order

Defenders still
Image credit: Marvel Television

If you prefer watching the Defenders saga in chronological order, here is how to do it. We’ve compiled a timeline for the Defenders saga using a variety of sources. The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline doesn’t include the original Netflix series, but we cross-referenced the dates in the guidebook with the dates on Disney+’s MCU timeline order.

For example, the Disney+ timeline order places Punisher season 1 between Spider-Man: Homecoming and Doctor Strange. Using the Marvel timeline guidebook, we can then reason that Punisher is set around fall 2016. We’ve also used contextual clues in the scripts, showrunners interviews, and browsed Reddit discussions. Some of the timeline placement isn’t perfect, but that’s what happens when you’re developing multiple productions in a shared universe.

For a complete Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, please refer to this guide.
  • Early 2015: Daredevil season 1 and Jessica Jones season 1
  • Fall 2015: Daredevil season 2 and Echo (Daredevil battle flashback in episode 1)
  • Late 2015: Luke Cage season 1 and Iron Fist season 1
  • Early 2016: Defenders
  • Fall 2016: The Punisher season 1
  • April 2017-June 2017: Jessica Jones season 2
  • August-September 2017: Luke Cage season 2
  • November 2017: Iron Fist season 2
  • Late 2017: Daredevil season 3, Jessica Jones season 3, and Punisher season 2
  • Summer 2024: Spider-Man: No Way Home (Matt Murdock cameo in act 1)
  • December 2024: Hawkeye
  • May 2025: Echo (main series)
  • Spring-Summer 2025: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
  • TBA: Daredevil: Born Again

Is Defenders part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Daredevil returns to She-Hulk
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The short answer is yes, Defenders is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The long answer is more complicated, as these shows have weaved in and out of continuity. When Netflix began releasing their slate of Marvel shows, they were promoted as extensions of the MCU.

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher, and Defenders were produced by Marvel Television. Prior to 2019, Marvel Television was a separate entity from Marvel Studios. Although the two divisions would work together, there wasn’t always coordination. The Marvel Television shows would regularly reference the events of the MCU films, but the movies would never acknowledge the shows. One glaring example was Avengers: Endgame, which featured almost every superhero in the MCU….but no Marvel Television heroes in sight.

James Gunn confused the issue when he stated that no Marvel television shows before WandaVision were canon to the MCU. Daredevil’s appearances in Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk blurred the lines, but some fans theorized that Charlie Cox was playing a multiversal variant of the Netflix character.

The publication of Marvel Studios - Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline seemed to settle the issue. The guidebook didn’t feature any of the Defenders related shows, and an introduction from Kevin Feige indicated that they weren’t canon to the MCU’s sacred timeline.

Case closed?

According to recent reports, Marvel Studios began to reconsider the issue during the production of Daredevil: Born Again. Promotion for the series Echo also leaned into Kingpin’s past on the original Daredevil show. Disney+ added the Netflix era shows to their MCU timeline order. It took quite a journey to get there, but the Netflix era shows are now considered MCU canon.

Will there be a Defenders season 2?

Defenders group shot
Image credit: Marvel Television

As of now, there are no plans for a Marvel Studios revival of The Defenders. However, that corner of the MCU will continue to be explored. Daredevil: Born Again will feature the return of Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, along with cast members from his 2015 streaming series. The series will also feature the return of Jon Bernthal’s Punisher.

While nothing has been teased, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw other Netflix era characters such as Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. Even if they don’t make appearances, perhaps there will be references. For now, Marvel Studios seems to be embracing the Defenders saga, which opens the door for more returning characters.

Defenders season 2 isn’t on the schedule now, but you never know what the future might hold…especially if Daredevil: Born Again does well.

How do Cloak & Dagger fit in with the Defenders?

Cloak and Dagger promo pic
Image credit: Marvel Television

Cloak & Dagger has an interesting relationship to the Defenders era shows. The Marvel Television production streamed on Freeform but contained a few references to the company’s Netflix productions. Detective Brigid O’Reilly mentioned Misty Knight in an episode of Cloak & Dagger, while Misty mentioned Brigid in an episode of Luke Cage. Another episode features a Luke Cage newspaper story written by Daredevil’s Karen Page. Danny Rand was also mentioned in another episode.

This would indicate that Cloak & Dagger shares a continuity with the Defenders saga, but things aren’t quite that simple. Marvel Studios has a tricky relationship with the Marvel Television shows. As we discuss elsewhere in this guide, there was a time when the Defenders saga wasn’t considered canon to the MCU.

The Disney+ MCU timeline has the Netflix era Defenders shows on there, but not Cloak & Dagger. Between that, and Kevin Feige’s comments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline guidebook, it appears Cloak & Dagger isn’t a part of the MCU’s sacred timeline. However, as we’ve seen with the Defenders saga, things could always change.

If Cloak & Dagger isn’t a part of the same timeline as the Defenders, then how do you explain the references? Remember, the MCU has a multiverse. It’s possible that Cloak & Dagger takes place on another branch of the timeline, and that branch has it’s own multiverse variants of the Defenders.

Did Disney+ make any edits to the Marvel's Netflix shows?

Cropped image of Daredevil
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher and Defenders were originally produced for Netflix. The Netflix platform allowed these shows to go in a more violent direction than the MCU’s theatrical releases. Netflix began releasing their Marvel slate in 2015, years before Disney would launch their own streaming service. These television shows were produced by Marvel Television, which operated separately from Marvel Studios.

In 2019 Marvel Television folded into Marvel Studios, which had their own ideas for bringing the MCU to the small screen. That same year, Disney+ launched, giving Marvel Studios a venue for their television projects. These two factors, plus a variety of Hollywood politics, caused Marvel’s Netflix shows to be cancelled.

In 2022 Disney+ added all of Marvel’s Netflix shows to their catalog. A comprehensive study by IGN concluded that Disney+ did not alter any of the television shows. References to Netflix were removed from the title sequence of each series, but every piece of dialogue and every scene remained the same. If you’re watching the Defenders saga on Disney+, then you’re getting the same experience that Netflix viewers had when the programs were originally released.

Where can I watch the Defenders saga?

Jessica Jones promo pic
Image credit: Marvel Television

If you’re looking to watch the Defenders saga, all you need is a Disney+ subscription. Every television show and movie in this guide can be found on Disney+. At times you might see these shows referred to as ‘Marvel’s Netflix shows,’ because they originated on Netflix. However, due to licensing agreements the shows can no longer be found on Netflix. As of this writing, consider Disney+ your one-stop shop for the Defenders saga.

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