DAREDEVIL and Entire Defenders Saga Added to Official MCU Timeline on Disney+

What could mark a property as being MCU-canon official more than ending up on the Disney+ MCU timeline? Very little. That’s why it’s a pretty big deal that all of Netflix’s Marvel shows, also known as the Defenders Saga, are now officially embedded in the MCU canon timeline on Disney+. Yes, if you visit the “Timeline Order” playlist on the Disney+ MCU page, you can find Daredevil next to I am Groot and The Punisher next to Doctor Strange. It all sends a pretty clear message. The Defenders Saga is now officially part of the MCU canon. We guess the MCU has just become nearly 200 hours longer.

Netflix Marvel Defender Series including Daredevil and Jessica Jones join official MCU Canon timeline on Disney+
Netflix/Marvel Studios

The Defenders Saga Joins the Official MCU Canon Line-Up

Whether the Netflix Marvel shows were actually a part of the MCU’s canon timeline has been debated for a long time. Certain things, such as actors reprising their Netflix roles in Disney+ MCU series, hinted toward yes. But Marvel Studios’ overall caginess about giving a firm answer to the question seemed to point toward no.

Marvel Studios Adds Netflix Marvel Defenders Series to official MCU canon Timeline playlist on Disney+
Marvel Studios

Most recently, Defenders footage appeared in an Echo trailer, and a producer seemed to confirm that Daredevil, at least, was a part of the MCU canon. But still, the question of whether all the series in the saga had joined the MCU proper remained. It felt possible that only Daredevil had become MCU canon, or that only certain aspects of the Netflix series would be carried over to the MCU. But the appearances of all the Defenders series on the MCU’s timeline seem definitive. At last, the entire Netflix Marvel Defenders universe has become part of the MCU.

The Punisher on the official canon MCU timeline playlist on Disney+
Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios Confirms Disney+ MCU Timeline Defines Canon

Marvel Studios head of streaming Brad Winderbaum recently went into detail about how the Netflix Marvel series ended up as a part of the MCU’s canon and confirmed that joining the Disney+ MCU timeline enshrined these series with the glow of canon.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Winderbaum noted of the Netflix Marvel series’ long road to canon:

We finally said it out loud. When the Netflix shows were coming out and being made, we were building towards Infinity War and Endgame. We were trying to balance all of these film franchises and get them to culminate onscreen in these two epic movies. To say it was a challenge is not even correct. It was one of the most challenging creative endeavors the studio ever undertook. I’m not sure there will ever be anything like it again in cinema. It took so much to get all that stuff to galvanize in that one place and in that one time so that people could have that experience in the movie theater. 

So, at the time, to say, “Alright, we’re also going to take this television show and wrap our heads around that,” it would’ve been too much, even though we were communicating back and forth. Everyone on the [Netflix Marvel Defenders] television side and the [MCU] film side knew what each other was doing, and you can see that there’s a continuity there. The references do line up, but it was just too much for us to wrap our minds around at the time. 

Flash forward now to Disney+, where we are actually laying out the timeline with tiles on a screen, all of a sudden we’re like, “We should just do it. Let’s do it.” It was also spurred by the redevelopment of Daredevil: Born Again, once we started to really lean into some of the mythology and backstory that was established in those Netflix shows. I was asked about this during the press for Echo, and I realized, “Oh, it’s not just assumed. People have an active interest and they want confirmation.” So we were able to do it fairly quickly, and it’s interesting that the service of Disney+ actually became the statement just by rearranging those tiles. That’s our medium to define the canon now, which is wild to think about.

Where Do The Marvel Netflix Defenders Series Fit Into the MCU’s Timeline?

Jessica Jones, Danny Rand, Matt Murdock, Luke Cage in Marvel's The Defenders.

In total, t here are six Defenders series in the Marvel Netflix collection. These shows are Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. If you want to re-do your chronological MCU rewatch now that the canon has expanded, here’s where you should fit in the Defenders shows.

  • DaredevilDaredevil fits in right after I am Groot (which follows Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on the MCU canon timeline).
  • Jessica JonesJessica Jones’ place in the MCU canon puts it right after Daredevil and right before Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Luke Cage—You should watch Luke Cage right after Ant-Man.
  • Iron FistIron Fist comes right after Luke Cage and right before The Defenders.
  • The DefendersThe Defenders comes right before Captain America: Civil War on the canon MCU timeline.
  • The Punisher—Finally, The Punisher lives right after Spider-Man: Homecoming and right before Doctor Strange.

There you have it. The MCU timeline is that much more complete now that it can welcome the Netflix Marvel Defenders series into its fold. If you embark on this full, full version of viewing the MCU in order from start to finish, we salute you.

Originally published on January 10, 2024.

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