MCU: Daredevil, The Punisher & More Rejoin MCU Canon In Exciting Disney+ Update

Daredevil, The Punisher, and more Defenders Saga shows were recently added to the official MCU timeline on Disney+.
Defenders, Marvel, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist

The MCU is growing after the release of Echo. TV shows from “The Defenders Saga” such as Daredevil and The Punisher were recently added to the chronological MCU watchlist on Disney+.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a ginormous franchise consisting of dozens of movies and TV shows. This week, the universe grew even larger with the Echo TV show. Released on Jan. 9, 2023, Echo is a 5-episode TV series based on Maya Lopez, AKA Echo – daughter of the Kingpin. Echo is the first TV show under the newly created “Marvel Spotlight” banner.

Marvel Spotlight was created to focus on Marvel stories with smaller, more personal stakes. However, this new branding is not the only thing that set Echo apart from previous Marvel Studios productions. Echo is rated TV-MA, the television equivalent of an R rating. Marvel Studios had never created a TV show with a mature rating before this, but they do own several series which fit that description.

The Defenders Saga Presents the Darker Side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Defenders, Marvel, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist
Credit: Marvel

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Defenders, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and The Punisher (otherwise known as “The Defenders Saga“) are live-action TV shows created by Marvel Entertainment. The shows were originally distributed through Netflix, and they were all rated TV-MA. The mature rating allowed for storylines with increased sexuality, violence, and the exploration of other themes not suitable for children. These TV shows were moved to Disney+ after the release of Hawkeye.

Hawkeye featured Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, who was reprising his role from the Daredevil TV series. Despite D’Onofrio’s insistence that he was playing the same character in both productions, Marvel Studios played coy when it came to questions of canon. Subsequently, fans of the franchise argued about whether Kingpin was the same Kingpin in Hawkeye and Daredevil.

For context, Marvel Studios and Marvel Entertainment were not originally the same company. They both existed under the Disney umbrella, with Studios covering movie production while Entertainment handled the TV department. The two entities worked together in a strained but semi-collaborative, generally one-sided relationship. A merger between Marvel Studios and Marvel Entertainment was announced in 2019.


Defenders, Marvel, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist
Credit: Marvel

Shows like Daredevil, Iron Fist, and The Punisher were cancelled as Disney+ series like Loki and WandaVision entered production. The TV shows collectively known as “The Defenders Saga” were later moved to Disney+, but not initially as part of the official Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. It seemed as though Kevin Feige and his team at Marvel Studios preferred to keep the old shows separate from the modern MCU – with the exception of Daredevil.

Charlie Cox appeared in both Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law as Matt Murdock/Daredevil. But even after these cameos, it was still unclear if Marvel Studios considered Daredevil and its related shows to be canon.

RELATED: Marvel’s ECHO Review: A Strong Starting Point For Marvel Spotlight

But when Echo came out, that all changed. The Defenders Saga TV shows were added to the official watchlist of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+. This arguably cements the status the events of those shows as canon to the primary timeline of the franchise. The door is now open for heroes like Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones to return. Frank Castle/Punisher was already confirmed to have a role in Daredevil: Born Again (an upcoming TV series), but now we know that the version of the character appearing in that show will be the same version fans already love.

Marvel Now Treats Daredevil, The Punisher, And More As Canon

Defenders, Marvel, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist
Credit: Marvel

Most of the TV shows in The Defenders Saga were considered successful adaptations of the source material by fans and critics alike. The major exception to this rule is Iron Fist. While the second season of the martial arts/superhero show is generally seen as a massive improvement over the first, Iron Fist is almost universally considered to be the weakest show of the bunch. Despite its less than stellar reputation, Marvel Studios has embraced Iron Fist as an official part of the MCU tapestry.

There are other shows from the Marvel Entertainment era that are still not on the official Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ timeline. If that grouping is considered to be an accurate measure of canonicity, the status of Cloak and Dagger, Runaways, Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD is still a matter of debate. If Marvel Studios is willing to treat Iron Fist as canon, might they be interested in officially accepting these other shows as well?

Will we see Iron Fist and The Defenders appear in Daredevil: Born Again, or perhaps in a hypothetical Echo Season 2? Crossovers like that have always been possible, but with this change to the timeline, they now seem far more realistic.

Mcu the punisher and daredevil
Credit: Marvel

What do you think about The Defenders Saga seemingly rejoining the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Which hero do you want to see return the most? Let us know your thoughts on social media, and thanks for reading! We are always watching.

KEEP READING: ECHO – Director and Cast Members Explain the Importance of Native American Representation in the Series

Source: Disney+


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Corbin Shanklin

CJ Shanklin is a journalist. They have been writing & reporting in the entertainment industry for four years, but their best work is still ahead of them. Stay tuned for more stories for the fans, penned by a fan.