The Defenders Timeline Explained

How long after Iron Fist and Daredevil Season 2?
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When does The Defenders take place? Netflix / Marvel

The Defenders timeline is confusing, especially if you’re not caught up with Daredevil and Iron Fist. Danny Rand and Matt Murdock have the strongest connections to The Hand, Madame Gao, The Chaste and the mystical city of Ku’n-Lun, making their storylines most relevant to The Defenders. But even if you are caught up, let’s be honest, it’s still confusing. To fully understand what’s happening in The Defenders, we’re breaking down when present and past events took place.

How long has it been since Jessica Jones was terrorized by Kilgrave? How long since Daredevil hung up his suit in the Season 2 finale? How long has Luke Cage been back in jail? What have Iron Fist and Colleen Wing been up to since they found out everyone on Ku’n-Lun was killed by The Hand? We’ve got answers.

In case you don’t want to read the full explanation, The short answer is The Defenders takes place one month after Iron Fist, a month and a half after Luke Cage , and two months after Daredevil Season 2. Read on for the more detailed answer.

A flashback in the first few episodes of The Defenders reveals the series begins about two months after Elektra is “killed” by Nobu. Her body is then retrieved by The Hand and she’s seemingly brought back to life as “Black Sky.” Early in The Defenders, you will see this transformation happen, with the on-screen words “two months earlier” appearing when Elektra emerges as a new person.

This also means it’s been two months since Matt Murdock last suited up as Daredevil. This is highly insinuated in a recent clip showing Matt in confession, still dealing with the death of Elektra. The first episode of The Defenders reveals Matt has been focusing on being a lawyer instead of vigilante.

The finale of Iron Fist takes place just one month before The Defenders, according to Jessica Henwick. At the end of Iron Fist, Colleen and Danny journey to Ku’n-Lun only to find everyone has been murdered. They travel the world to find answers and the leader of The Hand. They soon learn the fight is actually back in New York City. Finn Jones calls The Defenders a continuation of Iron Fist.

Parts of Luke Cage took place at the same time as Daredevil Season 2, and they both take place a short while after where Jessica Jones leaves off. This is seen through Claire Temple’s arc. (In-depth look at the Luke Cage timeline in relation to Daredevil and Jessica Jones here.)

Luke Cage’s bar burns down and he heads to Harlem as Jessica Jones ends. Luke Cage moves to Harlem and starts working at Pop’s barbershop hiding out, and that’s when Luke Cage begins, with Claire Temple still employed at Metro-General and the events of Daredevil Season 2 still unfinished. By Daredevil Season 2 episode 11, Claire Temple gets fired from her job at Metro-General and moves to Harlem. The moment Claire moves to Harlem is shown in episode 5 of Luke Cage. So the Luke Cage finale episode rolls around, we see Claire Temple pick up an ad for Colleen Wing’s martial arts classes, marking the start of Iron Fist.

This also means Luke Cage has been in prison for the entirety of Iron Fist. We can assume Iron Fist takes place over about a month, since there is no overlap with Luke Cage and Daredevil Season 2 concluded two months prior to The Defenders. This timeline is alluded to when we see Claire has a letter from Luke Cage while he’s in prison during Iron Fist. Luke is released by Foggy Nelson in the first episode of The Defenders and he and Claire immediately reunite in Harlem.

Obviously, that leaves Jessica Jones’s storyline the farthest away from The Defenders. What she’s been doing is anyone's guess, but we can assume she’s probably been washing her traumatic Kilgrave experience away with a bottle of liquor.

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