'Daredevil': 7 things we learned about Netflix's new series
How will Marvel’s Daredevil series differ from all those other super hero shows and movies — not to mention the 2003 film version? We recently got the scoop from Marvel’s TV head Jeph Loeb, Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight and Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire). The upcoming Netflix series follows blind crime fighter Matt Murdock, who’s a defense attorney by day and masked vigilante by night. The first season will chronicle Murdock as he takes on ascending crime lord Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio). But as we learn below, don’t count out fan-favorite Bullseye just yet. Here are seven things we just learned:
1. Daredevil will be a uniquely localized Marvel story. Unlike the globe-trotting Avengers or SHIELD gang, Matt will stick to his hometown. “Within the Marvel universe there are thousands of heroes of all shapes and sizes, but The Avengers are here to save the universe and Daredevil is here to save the neighborhood,” Loeb said. “It’s a very unique look at Hell’s Kitchen in New York, where Matt Murdoch grew up and continues to defend it from people who would harm the people that live there.”
2. Daredevil will feel like a crime story, not a superhero show. “We really wanted to take our cue from [films like] The French Connection, Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver, and make it very, very grounded, very gritty, very real,” DeKnight said. “We always say we would rather lean toward The Wire than what’s considered a classic superhero television show.” Added Loeb: “There aren’t going to be people flying through the sky. There are no magic hammers.”
3. BUT Thor and Iron Man will still exist in the same world as Daredevil. “It does take place in the Marvel cinematic universe,” Loeb said. “It’s all connected. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we would look up in the sky and see [Iron Man]. It’s just a different part of New York that we have not yet seen in the Marvel movies.”
4. This Daredevil is not a “man without fear.” The comic book character is famously a “man without fear” — which is challenge for a dramatic series because a protagonist who isn’t afraid of anything would be pretty dull to watch. “Someone who does not have fear — literally does not experience fear — is not that interesting,” Cox agreed. Thankfully, he has a workaround: “The way I like to think about it is that he is a man with fear, but he on a daily basis decides to confront that fear and to overcome it. So the title of ‘the man without fear’ is almost a title that the public in his world gives him just because of what he does. But inside himself, he’s very afraid at times. And he finds a way to confront those fears and punch through it.”
5. Daredevil will have more graphic content than Marvel’s other TV shows, and perhaps its movies as well, but will still feel relatively family friendly. DeKnight’s last project was the famously hard R-rated Spartacus on Starz, and Netflix doesn’t have the content restrictions faced by Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on ABC. Yet Daredevil won’t take too much advantage of its unrestricted boundaries. “When I came onto this there was no way I wanted to make this hard-R or NC-17,” DeKnight said. “I don’t think the material warrants that. It is a little grittier and edgier than Marvel has gone before, but we’re not looking to push it to extreme graphic violence, gratuitous nudity or anything like that. The story does not require that and I think would suffer if you pushed it that far.”
6. Kingpin’s story will be almost as important as Daredevil’s (and almost as sympathetic). “This season is about both the rise of the hero and the rise of the villain,” Loeb said. Detailed DeKnight: “Fisk has very many different aspects so it’s not all, ‘I want to conquer the city and make a lot of money.’ In our story, we tell the story of how he met his wife Vanessa and how they fell in love — our antagonist actually has a love story. That’s the love story you’re following, the one you’re invested in, and seeing how that affects him and changes him. I think Vincent just brings such depth to it, his performance is just astounding.”
7. Contrary to previous online reports, Bullseye MIGHT be in the series (but not this season): Colin Farrell’s performance as the villainous sharp-shooter was arguably the best part of the Daredevil movie, so some fans were disappointed to hear the character won’t be in the series. But DeKnight says he’s not ruling him out. “I wouldn’t say there’s no plans to include the character in the series,” he said. “It’s not not to say he wouldn’t be in the series at some point. But I think if you try to jam in too many characters, it just becomes a mess. And [Bullseye’s] story was told in the last iteration of Daredevil that anybody saw. My feeling was, ‘Why repeat it?’ And honestly, if you’re looking for a juicy, multi-faceted crime drama, Wilson Fisk was the obvious choice to play the antagonist. Bullseye is a little more cut and dry. Not to say you couldn’t make him fantastic over 13 hours, but Fisk really felt like the right yin to the yang for Matt, and for what we wanted to do this season.”
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Marvel's Daredevil (TV Series)
Matt Murdock, the blind superhero, gets his own television show via Netflix.