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'The Defenders': So... Just What Is The Black Sky?

Just what is the Black Sky?

Can we solve the mystery? [Credit: Netflix]

Just what is the Black Sky? It's a question Marvel fans have been asking ever since Daredevil Season 1, but curiously enough, it remains unanswered in The Defenders — at least, for the most part. It's time to dig through the facts, and see if we can work out just what this mysterious being truly is in our spoilery analysis of The Defenders.

A First Hint Of Things To Come

We were first introduced to the concept of the Black Sky back in #Daredevil Season 1, when the Hand transported a mysterious boy into the US. Stick intended to assassinate the boy, insisting "that thing in the container was not a child," and this led to Stick and Daredevil coming to blows. Ultimately, of course, Stick was successful; he shot the boy through the heart with an arrow.

This first Black Sky is pretty much a mystery. Although Stick viewed the Black Sky as a creature rather than a child, it doesn't actually seem to have been an ally of the Hand; they kept the Black Sky in chains. Also curious is the fact that the Hand didn't simply choose to resurrect the Black Sky, an approach they'd later take with another...

Elektra As The Black Sky

The idea of the Black Sky reared its head again in Daredevil Season 2, where we learned that Elodie Yung's Elektra was another Black Sky. It's strongly hinted that Elektra was originally found by the Hand, but rescued from them by Stick at an early age. Stick came to care for her, and protected the young Black Sky, even killing other members of the Chaste who didn't trust her. Flashback scenes in Daredevil Season 1 implied that a Black Sky has something dark and violent living inside them, feeding a love of violence and a passionate bloodlust.

Daredevil Season 2 suggested that the Black Sky was somehow the leader of the Hand, and Elektra was tempted to take their side. Ultimately, she died — but, as we saw at the end of the season, her body was taken by the Hand and this time round, the Hand chose to resurrect a Black Sky.

Moving on to The Defenders, we saw a very different side to the Black Sky. Alexandra revealed that the Black Sky was her prophesied weapon, and she was convinced they could only triumph with the help of a Black Sky. She claimed that Elektra had been purified of her past, and was now nothing but a "vessel" — but she never clarified just what this "vessel" contained.

Unraveling The Mysteries

First, let's be honest about it; there's a reason #Marvel has never defined the Black Sky. It's because they don't quite have a definition to work from. It's likely the idea changed shape over the last two years, and that's why we have a garbled, contradictory history. Still, in-universe, how can we explain the Black Sky?

The key is probably in the term "vessel." The Hand has always been a mystic group, obsessed with the occult; it's not too much of a stretch to suggest that a Black Sky is a person who is influenced by one of the demons the Hand worship. Over in the comics, the 'Shadowland' arc saw Matt Murdock possessed by the Hand's greatest demon, the Beast, and gradually lose his identity as the demon's influence grew. We can assume the same is the case with the Black Sky. This would fit with both the Hand and the Chaste considering a Black Sky to be an "it" rather than a "he" or "she."

If this is true, then we'd expect the Hand to prefer a Black Sky who's still just a child. This would make it easier for them to diminish the child's sense of self in order to allow the bloodlust of the demon to take control. Such an approach would fit with the first Black Sky from Daredevil Season 1 alongside hints that Stick rescued the infant Elektra from the Hand.

With their stores of the Substance (Dragon bones) depleting, the Hand knew matters were coming to a head in New York. Nobu had the latest Black Sky brought there, but the child was killed by Stick. It's unclear why they didn't simply resurrect the boy; certainly Stick believed specific injuries would prevent resurrection, and perhaps an arrow through the heart is one of them. Still, when the Hand identified another Black Sky in New York, Nobu knew Elektra had to be acquired. After her death, it seems Alexandra intervened directly, believing the Hand to be uniquely vulnerable and in need of a Black Sky.

Alexandra made a mistake, though. She believed that the resurrection had removed Elektra's identity, leaving just the Black Sky behind. Unfortunately for Alexandra, she was wrong. Elektra gradually regained her sense of self, and rejected the mastery of both Alexandra and Stick.

So there you have it, Marvel fans! If I'm right, the Black Sky is a prophesied being who is influenced by powerful, demonic forces. The Hand dream of mastering these forces, enabling the Black Sky to operate as both a field leader and as Alexandra's ultimate weapon. Unfortunately, Alexandra underestimated Elektra's self-identity, and soon wound up on the receiving end of the Black Sky's wrath...

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