Monday, July 31, 2017

The Defenders Chronology

After I posted my preview for The Defenders I came across The Timeline, a great site devoted to presenting timelines for various shows (including the MCU). While very useful, it's form of citations lacks explanations making it difficult to understand some of their decisions. The site is also trying to make everything fit into the broader MCU, which causes some problems. I've taken what's included for the Netflix shows and done a considerable amount of checking to provide something a bit clearer than my original chronology. For convenience and to break up the walls of text I've colour-coded the information--for characters who crossover I've linked it to the show it's given in). What follows isn't comprehensive for everything that happens in the shows, but rather covers everything with time references (specifics and ones we can make a reasonable guess about). There's a few confusions within the shows, but the biggest is Elektra in DD2, which is impossible to reconcile with DD1 (I get into that below).


"Centuries Ago"
Stick tells his story about the origin of the Hand, Black Sky, and the Chaste (DD2.8), including the Hand's ability to resurrect; the Warring States period in China (over 2200 years ago) is far too ancient given the context, so if this indeed has some truth to it, the Warring States period in Japan (1467-1603) seems most likely

17th century
Gao claims to have spent much of this time as a prisoner (IF.9)

Chinese soldiers encounter an earlier Iron Fist (IF.10)

Wilson Fisk's flashback when he was 12 (his father's election campaign and subsequent murder, DD1.8); while the year is never stated, the New York City Council elections occurred then, giving context to 1971's "Brown Sugar" which is heard introducing the flashback; we also see an overdue gas bill that says September (without the year shown) for added context; afterwards Wilson is sent to live on a farm with relatives.

Fisk's mother re-marries (DD1.10, husband #2 who turns out to be gay, but there's no timeline for their divorce or her marriage to her third and final husband)

(October 31) Recording of the medical treatment of Kilgrave (JJ.8); another specific '85 comment comes via Kevin's rugby hero (JJ.9); these were on Reva Connors' flashdrive, which she obtained from Seagate Prison (LC.4)

It's unclear when Luke's flashback of his father's infidelity is, although he says he was 7 years old when he noticed (LC.10); The Timeline situates it in '86, despite not using that as the point of reference for when Luke is 17 (see below); thus far Luke is the only Defender whose year of birth can't be clearly deduced (Jessica 1984, Matt 1985, and Danny 1991--these do not match their actors, incidentally, who are all three years older--Mike Colter is 1976, which is likely why Timeline has Luke Cage's DOB as 1979--Jon Bernthal is also that year, but 1979 doesn't work for Frank Castle's timeline)

-There are no specific dates provided for the Mama Mabel flashbacks, but we have some clues: Mabel opposed the drug trade and crack specifically (LC.7), with crack hitting the inner cities around 1985; Shades references David Dinkins and Pappy Mason as showing Mama Mabel respect (LC.7)--Dinkins had an extremely long political career, but the most likely times implied are his term as Borough President of Manhattan (1986-89) or Mayor of New York (1990-93); Mason was a drug trafficker in the 1980s (he was in arrested in 1989 and sentenced in 1994)
-Cottonmouth is 14 during these flashbacks (as he says to Mariah, LC.7)

Kilgrave's parents flee; Kilgrave says he was 10 when this happened (JJ.9)

Harold Meachum contemplates pushing Wendell Rand off their building (IF.13); we know this is before Danny was born and while the complex was being built, but nothing else (from 85-90 Harold would have been 22-27 years old)

-Matt is 9-years old (he tells Karen, DD1.1; Stick also references it, DD1.7), with the year determined when he tells Stick it's been 20 years since he's seen him (DD1.7)--while this could be an approximation, there's no other specific to work with; we see his life before and after the accident, along with his father's death (DD1.1 and DD1.2); Stick is called in to help Matt by the orphanage, although he claims he arranged this; he leaves when Matt starts feeling attached (DD1.7)
-Stick trains a 12-year old Elektra, including killing a member of the Chaste to protect her (DD2.12); we're given no year for this, but it seems thematically tied to Matt

Luke is 17 and Diamondback 19 when arrested (LC.10), their ages given on microfiche Misty looks at; Diamondback references Prince's "Little Red Corvette" (1983) when telling the story (LC.11); he says he killed a man who attacked him in juvy, so he was moved to an adult prison; he mentions seeing the movie New Jack City (1991) in a context that suggests it's before he went to jail (DC.11); Diamondback says Luke was sent to the Marines because his father convinced the judge that it was better for him than prison (LC.11), something alluded too by Luke when he tells Misty that he learned how to deal with injuries via Force Recon (LC.11); Luke tells Method Man that "P.L.O. Style" (1994) was a favourite song (LC.12), which is likely why The Timeline puts all of this in 1994, despite it not matching their date for when Luke is 7; Diamondback mentions that the bible and The 48 Laws of Power got him through his time in prison (LC.9), Robert Greene's book came out in 1998, meaning at minimum he was in jail at or after that time

(summer) Misty's lemonade story while being interrogated by Krasner (LC.9); it's implied she was a teenager at this time, but it's such a vague timeframe it's hard to place when Misty was 9 and met Pops (LC.3)--likely between 1989-1993, leaning towards the later side

late 1990s
Priscilla Ridley says that Shades was an associate of Cottonmouth's at this time and subsequently served time at Spofford (a juvenile detention center only so-named from 1998-99) and Sing Sing (a maximum security prison)

The earliest Luke Cage could have left the marines and become a police officer (most first-term enlistments are for four years); we're told nothing about his military history and very little about his time on the force (Pops says Luke used to find people (LC.2), presumably referring to his time as a cop (he finds Chico in four hours), while Cottonmouth refers to Luke as a "sheriff" (LC.7) once he's learned his past, but I doubt he's being literal)

(April 13) Jessica's family car crash (the date can be seen on medical bills, JJ.12); Kilgrave says she was 14 when it happened (JJ.8); IGH paid for her care (JJ.12); Dorothy Walker adopts her--she and Trish were schoolmates beforehand (JJ.11)

-The Rand plane crash was 15-years ago from the show's present; Ward was 15, Danny was 10 (IF.1), Joy was 10 (IF.2); there's a continuity error in IF.3 as you can just see 1999 on the tombstone as the date of Danny's death, but this matches nothing else in the show; Danny eventually realises his father and the pilots were poisoned (IF.8)--a poison asked for by Harold and provided by Gao (IF.13); the same poison was used on Elektra (DD2.8), who is cured by Stick, and Colleen Wing (IF.8/9), who is cured by Danny; prior to the crash Harold had set-up a heroin operation in China at Gao's behest (IF.13), something Wendell Rand was investigating (IF.8, 9, 13, Danny said Wendell never went to foreign sites so must have needed a special reason, then Gao says Wendell found out about Harold's arrangement in some fashion); given that Rand is about to expand into China in 2016 (IF.1), it implies this operation was off the books
-At this time Hogarth is an intern at Rand (IF.3), which was her first job; we know that she was already in a relationship with Wendy Ross since she paid her way through school (JJ.4)

-Ellison says Frank Castle enlisted as a "kid" (presumably 18-years old) (DD2.6), but with no clues to when Frank was born this is just a reasonable estimate given other information
-There's a Marine Corps graduation certificate on the wall of Frank's home (DD2.4)--the date on it is almost impossible to see, but seems to range anywhere from 1995-99; from other information that seems too early

12-year old Joy wants to be a horse-breeder (IF.8)

There's a lot of confusion about when Harold dies; we're told he dies 3 years after being diagnosed with cancer (IF.4), which makes a lot of sense given that Danny doesn't know he has it when the plane crashes, but three other times in the show (IF.9, 12, 13) Harold has been dead for 13 years (so 2003)--normally I'd go with majority, but it's really hard to make that fit anything else, so I prefer the initial timeframe; his age is listed as 41 in the NY Bulletin article (IF.1); the Hand resurrects him as promised (3 days after his death); Harold tells Danny he met Gao on his death bed (IF.7), but we know this is a lie

-Misty tells Perez its been ten years since she became a detective and that she was paired with Scarfe (LC.6); prior to that, Priscilla Ridley was Misty's lieutenant at the 31st (LC.7)
-Elektra (not a student) is sent by Stick to persuade Matt to join the Chaste (DD2.5-8); while this year is given it creates an issue with the DD1 timeline because Matt meets Foggy in 2010 as a senior, but here they are seen together; Matt would also be 19 or 20 at this point, but if anything he and Foggy look older than they were in the DD1 flashback); Elektra says she left Matt (DD2.5); Foggy says Elektra nearly got Matt expelled (DD2.7), neither of which matches Foggy's comments about Matt only having short-term relationships in DD1.5

-The Ranskahov brothers are in a Siberian prison (DD1.4 with an "eight years ago" tag)
-The Blacksmith says he's known Frank Castle for the better part of a decade (DD2.8), which is most of the time he was a marine (exactly ten years would be 2005)--this doesn't match him telling Frank he taught him how to hold a gun (DD2.12), which might have been hyperbole, but the general framework of Frank's military service isn't something he'd lie about as it's public record
-Karen says Frank was a lieutenant and was awarded the Navy Cross in Afghanistan (DD2.5), both events tied to when he was with the Blacksmith; it's undated, but Frank becomes a scout sniper (DD2.6)
-Frank says he served in Iraq and Afghanistan (DD2.3), Matt adds Pakistan and Iran to the list (DD2.8)

-The Ranskahov brothers get out of prison (DD1.4)
-Mariah says Damon Boone arrived on the Harlem political scene six years ago to challenge her (LC.7)

(fall semester) Matt meets Foggy in his senior year in college (Matt would be 24), as we see Foggy signing up for Fall, 2010 courses (DD1.10); Foggy also has a Bolts Conference Champs sticker on his laptop (representing the 2009 San Diego Chargers) (DD1.10); Elektra is a fellow student in his Spanish class (DD1.10); Foggy later tells Karen Matt's never been with a girl more than a month or two (DD1.5) and it seems uncharacteristic for him to lie

-Matt and Foggy intern at Landman and Zack while working on their law degree (3-years in the US); we're shown Matt's initial efforts as a hero right after he quits; they agree to establish their own practice (DD1.10); after the duo quits Foggy's ex-girlfriend Marci Stahl joins Landman and Zack (DD1.5)
-Luke Cage goes to jail; we know the timeframe because Shades goes to prison for three years (mentions this to Luke, LC.2), and later tells Cottonmouth he did time with Luke when he first got to Seagate (LC.5), implying they were incarcerated around the same time; the only references we get inside Luke's flashback (LC.4) are a conversation with Squabbles' about the 1988 cover of Rolling Stone with Lisa Bonet, with Luke bringing up Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Zoe Kravitz as more current hot women; Luke's driver's license is shown (LC.7) but what's on it makes no sense (his DOB isn't included properly, as 12-05 doesn't mean anything; the date of issue, 12-07, could be used as an argument that he got out in July of this year, but as a fake ID isn't strong evidence of anything)
-When Luke escapes, the project Burstein is running is shut down completely (LC.9)

"The Incident" (Avengers); Ellison tells Karen all the servers at The Bulletin were wiped during it (DD2.5); Scarfe saw the incident up close (LC.3); Bakuto references a student of Colleen's who was orphaned by the incident (IF.11)

It's difficult to date Fisk's return to the city, but he approached Gao first (DD1.10); Wesley approached crooked cops Hoffman and Blake 18 months before the show's start (DD1.13, so roughly the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013); we know he recruited the Russians last, DD1.6, using Gao's heroin as a lure; Wesley mentions that Rigoletto's books have been recently acquired by him (DD1.1; Fisk had Rigoletto killed DD1.3); there's no timeframe for when Fisk made Melvin Potter his exclusive armourer, but we know that prior to that Melvin used to outfit other criminals (DD2.4); it's unclear how quickly Fisk pushed out the Irish (DD2.1), as while Nesbitt suggests it was a long time ago, from the timeline it can't earlier than sometime in 2012 (as Fisk's moves all post-date "the incident"); Nobu's connections to Roxxon (DD2.6) are never mentioned by Fisk, but are something he was presumably aware of--despite the setbacks of Nobu's people they are still in operation (IF.7) under Gao

There's no context to how long Luke Cage is in prison, but it can't have been for long given that there needs to be enough time for he and Reva to invest in the bar they own (blown up in JJ.11) and for a meaningful marriage

-Frank Castle is awarded the Navy Cross in Afghanistan (DD2.5)
-There's almost no context for the office job and bar scene with Jessica (JJ.5) other than Trish mentioning Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred (which came out in 2008); in context it seems reasonably close in time to what follows below
-Jessica saves a little girl from being hit by a car; Trish shows Jessica a mock-up of a costume with the hero-name "Jewel"; Kilgrave finds Jessica heroing (JJ.5)

-(January 20) Jessica kills Reva Connors and breaks Kilgrave's control (JJ.6), with the exact date shown thrice on three different medical reports (JJ.2); it's implied Jessica moves in with Trish afterwards for a time (JJ.2); Reva had left Luke instructions on where she'd buried the USB drive (JJ.6); we learn via Claire and Doctor Burstein that neither Kilgrave nor Jessica had complete access to the files (LC.9), as it required Burstein's password
-(July) Kilgrave begins having Malcolm photograph Jessica (he'd been doing it for six months JJ.5)
-(summer) Ben Urich was told he could get an extension on his wife's care a month ago (DD1.3)
-(summer) Beginning of DD1 (there's a New York Bulletin article that provides us with September 5, 2013 (DD1.8), but clearly the year is in error as we're told two years of reconstruction (from "the incident") have revolutionized things for Union Allied, DD1.1; Matt also references the New York Mets bullpen DD1.7 which seems to match-up with the 2014 roster's performance when the show was written/filmed); when Foggy and Matt show up to represent Karen Page (DD1.1) they tell her they've been in practice for 7 hours; this fits with them graduating that spring and then passing the bar
-(summer) ADA Elliot James takes the fall for District Attorney Reyes after she mishandles informants (DD2.3); others (Nicole Kent and Chris Davidson) had similar falls, but no dates are referenced
-(summer/fall) The Ranskahov's and their gang are destroyed (DD1.6), but the Russian mob has re-emerged about two years later (IF.7)
-(summer/fall) Blacksmith appears on the drug scene (DD2.10); I think fall is more likely, as around that time Gao left as Fisk's consortium was disintegrating; when Gao leaves she tells Owlsley that heroin was never her true concern, only a convenience and that it no longer matters (DD1.12), but it's exactly what she's doing subsequently (in DD2 and IF)
-(December) Kilgrave takes Hope Schlottman (JJ.1; we're told it has been a month a few times--by her parents, roommate, and then Jessica when she talks about the anniversary night)
-(winter) Fisk goes to jail (DD1.13)--it's winter as Owlsley is shivering in the cold
-(winter) Marci loses her job at Landman and Zack (it's unclear if she was fired or left); she's rehired by Hogarth, Chao and Benowitz (DD2.5)

(spring) Joy Meachum finishes law school (IF.8); based on her age, 2015 seems most likely (she'd be 24), but given her dialogue makes it seem like she's been at Rand longer than a year, so 2014 remains a possibility

-(January) JJ starts--it's been a year since Kilgrave (JJ.1, Trish says so specifically)
-Trish hadn't heard from Jessica in six months; in that time she's become a PI (JJ.1); Trish says she began her martial arts training "when you left" (JJ.3), which could mean when Kilgrave took Jessica, but in context seems more like when Jessica moved out
-Luke tells her he's been at the bar "awhile" (JJ.1), although given the timeframes we get in Luke Cage it couldn't be more than two years; he later tells her the bar was in Reva's name (JJ.12)
-(winter) Luke tells Kilgrave while under his control that there's something between he and Jessica (JJ.12), which runs contrary to Pops calling her his rebound girl (LC.1)
-(May) JJ season ends (this month fits the timeframe Luke provides when he says how long he's been working for Pops, LC.2); Marci tells Foggy that Reyes has been keeping a close eye on Jessica Jones as yet another vigilante to shut down (DD2.5), with the two having met when Hogarth got her off for killing Kilgrave (JJ.13)
-(c.May) Claire says she has worked for a month with no breaks as punishment for helping Luke (DD2.3), but not in a way to be sure she means it's literally been a month since that event
-(spring) The last time Marci heard from Foggy between seasons (she says "months", DD2.5, which is very unspecific, but this is the least amount of time that it could describe)
-(c.April) Grotto executes a man for the Irish and then kills an elderly lady because she see's his face (DD2.3)
-(April 13) Frank Castle comes home (from DD.4 we know it's the day before the massacre); the Blacksmith implies Frank was given the same offer as Gosnell and other former soldiers (D2.12), but it's difficult to believe Frank would have said he was a character witness if that was the case (or when this offer could have occurred)
-(April 14) Frank Castle and his family are gunned down in the firefight between the Irish, Dogs of Hell, and Mexican Cartel (DD2.5); the sting operation was arranged by Reyes to catch the Blacksmith (she admits this in DD2.10), but Dutton (who actually set it up) tells Frank he knew it was a trap (DD2.9); this means that Dutton is imprisoned only a short time before Fisk
-(May/June) Blake Tower becomes Reyes' ADA (he says he came on board well after the Castle cover-up started, DD2.10)
-(June/July) Brett tells Matt and Foggy that the Dogs of Hell were hit (we learn later by Frank Castle) a week before the Irish (DD2.1); despite the attacks here and later, the gang is still in operation a year later (IF.7)
-(July) DD2 begins (heat wave, DD2.1); Nesbitt's comments suggest Fisk recently lost his court case (DD2.1)
-(summer) Shades is released from Seagate; Shades got out of Seagate "awhile ago" (LC.1), but Cottonmouth thought he was still in Seagate; Shades then tells Luke he "just got out" (LC.2)
-(fall) Fisk mentions a conversation Dutton had on the 22nd (DD2.9) without saying the month--it's sunny and seemingly warm, so I'd guess it's August or September
-(September) Misty shows Chico her phone (LC.3) and it says September 23, which fits with the other time references we get (Pops mentions the Knicks 2015 draft (LC.1), which was at the end of June, Mariah mentions Fisk's incarceration (LC.1), and Luke tells Misty he's been working for Pops for five months (LC.2), putting his departure from Jessica's apartment in May)
-(fall) Reyes is killed by men hired by the Blacksmith to implicate the Punisher (DD2.10); Blake Tower remains an ADA afterwards (LC.11)
-(fall) Matt speaks with Gao, who Tower said was a new rival on the scene for the Blacksmith (DD2.11), indicating Gao has been gone for less than a year (she tells Matt she never left, but that seems implausible given what she says to Owlsley in DD1)
-(fall) Matt discovers "the farm" where children are being drained of blood (DD2.9); Bakuto attempts to do the same thing to Colleen (IF.11)
-(fall) The Hand attacks the hospital (DD2.11) and Claire quits because of the cover-up (she then goes home to Harlem, LC.5, referencing both events to her mother and later Danny Rand, IF.5); Claire tells her mother that her former employer is making it impossible for her to find work
-(December 1) Cops try to apprehend Luke Cage (the date is seen on the dashcam, LC.9)
-(December 4) Claire says it's been 28 hours since she found a wounded Luke in her mother's restaurant (LC.10)
-(c.December 6) Luke Cage returns to prison
-(December) Foggy joins Hogarth, Chao, and Benowitz (DD2.13)
-(December) Just before he dies the Blacksmith references something dark in Frank's past regarding Kandahar (DD2.12)
-(Christmas Eve) Ellison says that it's Christmas Eve to Karen; Frank burns his home and takes a CD with "Micro" written on it; Matt reveals his identity to Karen (DD2.13); when Claire talks about Matt's final battle against the Hand she says it didn't go well (IF.8), presumably referencing Elektra's death

Joy Meachum hires Jessica Jones to follow Rand board members to find incriminating information, doing so in the fear that Ward's pill-popping will lead to trouble down the line (IF.8); the timing here is inference based on when Joy would have started with the company, how long Ward might have been taking extra pills, and Jessica's own career

-(spring/summer) Danny buys a fake passport in Morocco (IF.2); he also fought in illegal fight clubs making his way to America (IF.4)
-(June) IF begins (June is a reasonable guess, as the article discussing his death 15 years ago is also from June, as seen in a NY Bulletin article with no year attached IF.1, and it can't be 2015 because it takes place after DD2); the Chinese festival we see (IF.1) could be the Dragon Boat Festival (June 9th)
-Joy drugs Danny and he winds up in the Birch Psychiatric Hospital that doubles as a place for Rand to keep people (IF.2)--the longest has been there for 15 years, which matches Gao's influence at Rand
-(mid to late June) A NY Bulletin article says it's been two weeks since Danny was accepted back into Rand when he demands a new medicine be sold at cost (IF.4)
-(July) Joy tells Harold it's been a few weeks since Danny appeared (IF.11)
-(July) It's only a day or two before Ward's attempted deal with Bakuto backfires and Davos kills the Hand leader (Joy mentions "last night" to Ward, IF.13, in reference to being shot by Bakuto, IF.12)
-(July) The next day Ward helps Danny get to Harold (IF.13), ultimately killing him and incinerating the body

Any errors or corrections please let me know.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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