The Defenders: Who Are The Five Fingers Of The Hand?

  • Superhero
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The four remaining fingers of The Hand meet. Stick killed Sowande. Marvel/ Netflix

The Hand was introduced in the first season of Daredevil. Five Marvel-Netflix shows later, The Hand’s origins are still a mystery… until now. The Defenders spoilers ahead. This article includes everything we discovered about The Hand over the course of all eight episodes.

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You have been warned... Photo: Player.One

There are five fingers of The Hand: Alexandra, Madame Gao, Murakami, Bakuto and Sowande. We learn this from Stick, the leader of The Chaste, an organization that follows the elders of Ku’n-Lun and the Immortal Iron Fist. Unbeknownst to Danny Rand, The Chaste was once Iron Fist’s army. They are all dead now, though. Well, everyone except Stick.

In Stick’s words, this is how The Hand began:

“A long time ago, the elders of K’un-Lun gathered to study how to harness their chi, the energy of life itself. They wanted to use it to heal. But there were five heretics among them, people with darker intentions. They didn’t want to heal. They wanted immortality, power, to never face death, to regenerate themselves again and again. The elders saw this as an aberration, and so like Lucifer from Heaven, the five were banished from K’un-Lun forever. They became the five fingers of The Hand.”

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Madame Gao, Bakuto and Alexandra meet to discuss Black Sky and Sowande's death. Photo: Marvel/ Netflix

The Hand has been around for centuries, millennia even. Catastrophes such as Pompeii and Chernobyl are actually just cover stories for The Hand’s plans.

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Why does Alexandra want to destroy New York City? Photo: Netflix / Marvel

In her lifetime, Sigourney Weaver’s character has been known as Alexandra, their leader. Stick explains: “She’s lead them since the beginning. When they dispersed, they all went back to their mother countries. Each finger ruling over its own domain, growing in power and influence.”

The Hand has one general mission: To bring light into dark, to bring life where this is death. But we learn later each finger has unique agendas.

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Murakami is the most feared leader of The Hand. Photo: Marvel/ Netflix

When we first meet Murakami, he’s cutting a Moon Bear open. His base is in Japan and he seems to have a weird fascination with animals. He was also the person pulling the strings behind Nobu in Daredevil. Stick is very intimidated by him, calling him secretive and “an evil piece of shit.”

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Colleen Wing and Bakuto come face to face. Photo: Marvel/ Netflix

Then there’s Bakuto, who we first meet in Iron Fist. It was his mission to train Colleen Wing so she could meet the Iron Fist. The Hand needs Iron Fist because he’s pretty much a key that allows them to live long enough to get back to Ku’n-Lun.

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Luke Cage and Sowande crossed paths in Harlem. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

Sowande is an African warlord and gunrunner, who Stick says “will slow you till your heart fails.” Luke is familiar with Sowande because he’s the man luring Harlem kids to The Hand’s cleanup operations.

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Turns out, Gao answers to Alexandra. However, she's tried to overthrow Alexandra in the past. Photo: Marvel/ Netflix

And of course, there is Madame Gao, who we are most familiar with. Until now, she seemed like the leader of The Hand. It’s clear upon her first meeting with Alexandra that she is not, though they’ve always had the closest relationship among the five. Gao tried to kill Alexandra and take over as leader once before. When Iron Fist points out that Gao is responsible for his parents’ death, Stick responds, “she’s set up a lot of murders.”

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Bakuto, Murakami, and Madame Gao. Photo: Marvel/ Netflix

Black Sky is tearing the five fingers of The Hand apart. The others say Black Sky is only Alexandra’s mission, not theirs. Alexandra used the last of the substance that grants immortality to transform Elektra into Black Sky. The others urge Alexandra to capture Iron Fist and defeat The Defenders without Black Sky, because they don’t believe she’s able to completely separate herself from her past, especially her relationship with Daredevil.  

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Alexandra and Black Sky threaten Stick to tell them the location of Iron Fist. Photo: Marvel/ Netflix

About halfway through The Defenders , Stick kills Sowande, and Black Sky kills Stick shortly after. Black Sky also kills Alexandra to find immortality without The Hand. Gao lets it happen and the other remaining fingers hesitantly follow her plan to trick Iron Fist into opening the sealed door.

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Black Sky and Iron Fist face off in the cave below Midland Circle. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

We finally learn The Hand needs Iron Fist to access something at the bottom of the hole at Midland Circle: the remains of mystical creatures a previous Iron Fist sealed away a long time ago. Only another Iron Fist can open it. The creatures apparently produce some sort of substance that allows The Hand to be immortal.

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Fossils of ancient beasts, according to Madame Gao. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

“These creatures once roamed the green valleys of my home. These fossils are all that remain, the last known deposit on Earth,” Gao tells Iron Fist. “The beasts, they've given both of us so much,” she adds, explaining it’s also the essence of what made Iron Fist and presumably, it’s also how Gao and Murakami have enhanced abilities.

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What looks to be the remains of the Shau-Lao dragon. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

"You desecrate Shau-Lao," Iron Fist said after he notices the dragon's bones in the cave. "You punched him in the heart," Gao responsds. 

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It appears The Hand mixes the ashes of 'the beast' with blood to resurrect people. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

Gao explains that once The Hand removes the substance -- which appear to be crushed dragon bones -- the soil of New York City becomes weak, eventually crumbling into dust… just like other cities across the world. In the end, Colleen Wing kills Bakuto and The Defenders kill Murakami. Gao, Black Sky and Daredevil are left at the bottom of the hole when the building explodes, and the future of The Hand is unclear.

Does any of this connect to the comic books? We discuss whether Black Sky and other elements of The Defenders and Iron Fist have any connection to The Beast of The Hand here.


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