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They say you can't be broken! We'll see about that...
~ Sowande while attacking Luke Cage


You know nothing about the power of the Hand. You are mice who fell into a well. Believe me, this will drown you!
~ Sowande is defiant during his interrogation


Sowande, also known as White Hat, is a major antagonist of the 2017 Marvel TV series The Defenders.

He is one of the founding members and leaders of the Hand. He, along with the other four heretics, used the Hand's resurrection substance created from dragon bones to prolong his lifespan indefinitely and create a vast criminal network and empire over the course of centuries.

He was portrayed by Babs Olusanmokun.

Biography

Past

Sowande was one of the five heretics of K'un-Lun. After the Elders of K'un-Lun decided to study the Chi in order to heal, the heretics decided that this power was better used to regenerate themselves and thus achieve immortality. For this heresy, Sowande and the other heretics Alexandra, Gao, Murakami and Bakuto were banished from K'un-Lun indefinitely. Together, they formed the organization known as The Hand - each of them leading a factions that operates autonomously. Alexandra was their leader from the beginning and after they dispersed, each member returned to their homeland where they built their reputation and power over the time of generations. Sowande returned to Africa where he became a gunrunner and warlord.

During the 21st century, Sowande came to New York where he became a crime lord in Harlem known as White Had, having earned his nickname for his habit of wearing a white suit and fedora.

After Elektra Natchios' body was obtained by the Hand, Sowande informed their leader Alexandra that the Black Sky had finally been found. Sowande informed her that resurrecting Elektra would use the rest of the Hand's resources and he asked her whether Alexandria was sure that they should proceed. Alexandra confirmed that she had never been more sure of anything and thus, the Hand prepared Elektra's resurrection.

Marvel's The Defenders

Battle against the Defenders

SowandeMenRead

Sowande and his men prepare for war

Sowande is recruiting teenagers in Harlem for Alexandra. However, after sixteen of them die in short time, Luke Cage starts investigating. When Sowande sends three of the recruits to destroy corpses that had been slaughtered by the Hand, Luke Cage is even more determined. After running into Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, the two team up with Claire Temple and Colleen Wing because Sowande might be involved with the Hand, who Danny and Colleen have been hunting down.

After Elektra has failed to kill the Iron Fist, Sowande confronts her and claims that he wonders if it was a mistake of Alexandra to waste their last resurrection on Elektra. He questions whether she is even a weapon and Elektra replies by swiftly beating up his companions.

When Stick, who has escaped captivity, informs Matt Murdock, Danny Rand and Luke Cage about the Hand, he reveals to them the backstory of the organization. He also informs them about the individual members, mentioning Sowande. When Luke Cage mentions that he already met Sowande and followed him to the warehouse where the bodies were being removed, Stick warns him to to get too closely to Sowande because Sowande is known for slowing down the pulse of his enemies until heart failure.

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Sowande about to fight Luke Cage

According to Alexandra's plan, Sowande readies his troops for the fight against Iron Fist and his group. They arm themselves and drive to the restaurant Alexandra has cornered Iron Fist and his friends in. They arrive together with Gao's crew and open fire at the restaurant while slowly advancing. However, when one of Sowande's men steps too far, Gao suddenly executes him because they want the Iron Fist alive. Sowande accepts this and does not seek retribution for the murder of his man. When the battle between the Hand and the Defenders erupts, Sowande attacks Luke Cage. He rams Luke through the front of the restaurant onto the streets and tells Luke that he heard that Luke cannot be broken. He states that this remains to be seen and attacks again. He is fast enough to hit Luke multiple times, hurling him back onto the street and right in front of an incoming truck. After Luke has been dealt with, Sowande is picked up by the car of one of his men and uses the opportunity to escape with the unconscious Cage as a captive.

Captivity and death

After the team has escaped the restaurant and returned to Colleen's dojo, they suddenly hear a noise downstairs. Although they expect enemies, it is revealed to be Luke Cage who has not only escaped but also captured Sowande - one of the leaders of the Hand is not in custody of the Iron Fist and his friends.

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Sowande is interrogated

After having been brought to a secluded warehouse, Sowande is interrogated by Danny and his allies. However, he refuses to betray his own and Stick reveals to them that they cannot torture Sowande because the monks of K'un-Lun trained their disciples how to stand through excruciating amounts of pain. While the group discusses how to make Sowande talk, he lectures them about the power of the Hand. Sowande also calls Danny the dumbest Iron Fist yet, claiming that they do not want Danny Rand but the fist. He mocks the group for their failures, including the destruction of K'un-Lun and the deaths of those the group failed to save. He also threatens that the Hand is not done and that friends of the group, like Claire and Trish, are now the next targets of their assassins.

While the rest of the group sets out to deal with the Hand, Stick approaches the captured Sowande. Once Sowande realizes whom he is facing, he reveals to Stick that he was once captured by the Chaste, the group Stick is serving - long before Stick was born. He claims that after three days, Sowande's armies approached the fortress the Chaste held Sowande in. The army starved out the fortress and on the tenth day, the Chaste knelt before him and begged him to make it stop.

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Sowande takes Danny as a hostage

To finally get some information from Sowande, Matt dons his Daredevil armor and interrogates and tortures him but Sowande is not impressed. He claims that it doesn't matter what they do to him, the Hand still has weapons and henchmen. When he realizes that Elektra is Daredevil's weak spot, Sowande taunts him with his failure to save her and the Hand's victory in turning her into a weapon. Furiously, Daredevil keeps strangling Sowande until the man passes out. Eventually, Stick and Daredevil decide to inform the rest of the group about Elektra's identity. After the beans are spilled, the team members are outraged that Matt did not inform them further. They start arguing and while they do so, Sowande is able to free himself of his constraints. He grabs up a glass shard and ambushes Danny from behind, taking him hostage. He believes himself victorious, claiming that he now has the Iron Fist, the key to what the Hand seeks, the key to their salvation. Grinning, Sowande claims that the war is over but when he turns around to leave, Stick stands right in front of him and slices his throat with such force that Sowande is beheaded on the spot. Without his head, Sowande cannot be resurrected and with the Hand's ressurection resources gone anyhow, Sowande is the first of the Heretics to truly die for good.

Sowande's head is delivered to the Hand by Stick. Gao, Bakuto and Murakami are all saddened and angry by this loss, with Gao stating that they could have prevented it.

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Alexandra Reid | The Hand (Elektra Natchios, Madame Gao, Bakuto, Murakami & Sowande)