The Defenders: What Is Black Sky?

  • Superhero
Black sky elektra defenders hand
Alexandra and Stick believe Elektra is gone. Marvel / Netflix

The Defenders finally explains the origins of The Hand, but what is Black Sky? Where Black Sky came from, why ‘it’ was Elektra’s destiny, and it’s true power remain a mystery. Alexandra is the only leader of The Hand that cared about turning Black Sky into the weapon of The Hand. Why is that?

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The Black Sky rises. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

Here’s what we do know.

“You’re life is new, but your body is not,” Alexandra tells Elektra. “All that matters now is how you live.The woman who lived in this vessel, she was lost before she came to us. She was lead astray by men who were afraid of what she was, what she was capable of doing. But destiny is a curious thing. This vessel landed right where it belongs. With us. With me. You have seen death my child, and like me you have conquered it. Don’t forget, who brought us back. I will not forget.”

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Alexandra thinks of Black Sky as a daughter. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

Elektra becomes almost brainwashed to believe she serves The Hand and ‘life itself.’ When Elektra asks Alexandra who she is, Alexandra says, "everything." But it’s interesting Alexandra mentions to be thankful for “who brought them back.” Once we learn what is locked away in Midland Circle,  Elektra mentions something specific that could have a connection to the comic books: The Beast.

The Beast is an ancient demon lord of The Hand. Photo: Marvel

In the series, The Hand uses the substance from the remains of ancient creatures locked away by Iron Fist in the hole at Midland Circle. Elektra was resurrected as Black Sky by what appears to be some sort of concoction of blood and the ashes of these ancient 'beasts' related to Shau-Lao the undying, the dragon that gave Danny Rand the power of the Iron Fist. Given Danny's reaction, the bones don't seem to be from the dragon he faught, Shau-Lao The Undying. But the existence and skeleton shape imply there are other dragons, and these dragons are indeed the source of immortality. 

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Elektra's dead body is resurrected as Black Sky. Photo: Marvel / Netflix
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Do the remains of 'the beasts' allow The Hand to be immortal? Photo: Marvel / Netflix
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It appears The Hand mixes the ashes of 'the beast' with blood to resurrect people. Photo: Marvel / Netflix
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A mysterious substance is what allows The Hand to become immortal. Photo: Marvel / Netflix
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Fossils of ancient beasts, according to Madame Gao. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

The Hand’s origins are similar to those of a mystic being The Hand worshipped in the comics, known as The Beast. The heroes and villains in The Defenders are all loosely associated with a “ Shadowland ” and an organization known as Snakeroot in the comics.

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Alexandra trains Black Sky. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

Tied to pretty much every character in The Defenders in the comics, The Beast is said to live in some extradimensional realm of hell. (Perhaps a huge endless hole in the ground?) This hell has ties to the Eighth City of Heaven, described as “the prison of evils.” Stick repeatedly says Elektra as Black Sky has become someone else and something else… maybe this is the reason Alexandra, the leader of The Hand, sacrificed her life.

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Black Sky choses a weapon for training. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

The Elektra comics (via The Other Murdock Papers) describe The Beast as follows: “The Beast is power. The Beast is magic. The Beast will make you clean, Elektra. The Beast is not born of man or woman, yet with each passing year he grows more human in appearance. In time he will take his place in the world above and bring it to ashes. We are his Hand, clawing at the foundation of man’s great lie, clearing the path.”

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Black Sky is the weapon of The Hand, according to Alexandra. Photo: Marvel/ Netflix

While this arc certainly isn’t exactly the same in the Netflix series, it could be part of the inspiration for The Hand’s resurrection tactics. What’s quite interesting, and a bit different from the comics, is the way the elders of Ku’n-Lun are connected to The Hand. The elders banished Alexandra, Madame Gao, Murakami, Bakuto and Sowande, who formed The Hand, and that’s why they are the sworn enemy of Iron Fist. But there are more sworn enemies of Iron Fist in the comics, one of them being the Crane Mother, whom Danny Rand has mentioned many times in the past.

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Madame Gao spies on Davos and Joy Meachum with a smirk on her face in the final scene of 'Iron Fist.' Photo: Netflix

It’s interesting Gao is one of the only five fingers of The Hand to survive The Defenders, and it strongly suggests there’s more to her story than meets the eye. In the comics, The Crane Mother is the ruler of K’Un-Zi, another city of heaven, and she is an adversary of Danny Rand and previous Iron Fists. This fan theory is particularly relevant because Gao was shown making plans with Davos (The Steel Serpent in the comics, and one of few to survive the demise of K’un-Lun after Black Sky killed everyone in TV show) in the final scene of Iron Fist Season 1. Davos, expelled from Ku'n-Lun in the comics, is eventually embraced by the Crane mother, who asks him to become the champion of K'un-Zi in exchange for killing Iron Fist.

Hopefully the second season of Iron Fist will answer some questions about both “the beasts," the existence of more dragons, the future of Steel Serpent, and Madame Gao’s secrets.


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