We finally got our first look at the official trailer for Netflix’s new Daredevil series, and now showrunner Steven S. DeKnight has opened up about the super-gritty comic adaptation.
Now that we finally have a feel for the tone of the series, DeKnight sat down with IGN to talk about how they’re adapting the comic run and making sure it stands out (but still fits) with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Though ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has given us our first proper TV series about non-super heroes in the MCU, DeKnight noted that Daredevil had to straddle that divide of having a hero with heightened abilities but no proper superpowers. The result? A poor man’s Batman, with a heavy dose of Frank Miller. We dig it:
“I always loved in the comics that also this is a guy that has heightened sense but no super powers. This is a guy who’s pushing himself to the limit who can get hurt and can get killed... I’m hugely influenced by the Frank Miller runs that I grew up with, where he was constantly getting the crap kicked out of him. Again, obviously there’s a bit of a heightened sense of reality that he can do what he can do and not end up in the hospital every other day. But we also touch upon why that is. Really, it’s like Batman without the money. He is just determined. It’s sheer force of will that keeps him going when a normal man would fall over and a lot of that I think, also in the Matt Murdock mythos, comes from his father and being a boxer and that kind of thing, where you just don’t quit.”
DeKnight also had a lot to say about the origin story aspects of it all, as Matt Murdock becomes the Daredevil and throws himself into the center of the crime and ugliness running rampant in Hell’s Kitchen. They borrowed heavily from Man Without Fear (see: the all-black costume) and tried to build a living, breathing world by also focusing in on Wilson Fisk’s journey to become the Kingpin:
“Really, the reason we start with this version -- which is hugely influenced by Man Without Fear -- is for two reasons. One, this really is the beginning, the formation of Matt Murdock as Daredevil. On the flip side, it’s the formation of Wilson Fisk becoming Kingpin. It’s very much a parallel arc. We didn’t want to start him in the [red] suit. We wanted the early days of him figuring out what he was doing and making mistakes and getting the crap beat out of him on a regular basis. His suit, which we call his vigilante outfit, in the beginning - we tried practically everything, design-wise. We experimented with a lot of different head pieces. One version was a ski mask with the eyes sewn shut. We tried everything until we found something that just felt right. And also, really going back to that Man Without Fear, I can’t say where his costume ends up, where it goes, but there is definitely an evolution…
When we first meet (The Kingpin), he's a very mysterious figure, as you can gather from the teaser. Absolutely, a lynchpin of Season 1. I think there’s a no better way to start of the series than a formative Matt Murdock coming up against a formative Wilson Fisk. We were so incredibly lucky to get Vincent D’Onofrio, who is not only a phenomenal actor and an amazing person to be around, so very generous as an actor and performer, but I don’t know if there’s another human being on the planet that embodies WIlson Fisk, physically, like in the comics. I think, honestly, he is as close as you’re going to get, unless you’re doing an animated series. We just marveled. We were like holy s**t, it is Wilson Fisk come to life! Even in the teaser, when you just see him from behind, standing in front of that painting, you just get the feeling that it’s Wilson Fisk, the future Kingpin. Fisk plays a crucial role in Season 1, as the adversary of Matt Murdock. Also, on the flip side, Matt Murdock is the fly in Fisk’s ointment. What I love about this show is we’re able to explore some gray areas of who is really good, who is really bad, and which person is really better for the city in the long run. It's a question we really examine.”
The full, 13-episode Daredevil series is set to debut April 10 on Netflix. So what do you think?