The Marvel universe is expanding onto Netflix with Daredevil in early 2015, and showrunner Steven S. DeKnight promises it’ll probably be a little different than what we’re used to from the movies and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
More than just about anyone else on the roster, Daredevil is a character that could go dark and still stay extremely loyal to the comic canon. This isn’t Iron Man, or Thor. In a lot of ways, Daredevil is like a blind, poor Batman (albeit with radar sense), and it sounds like DeKnight wants to embrace that gritty side of Matt Murdock.
During an interview with Paste, DeKnight touched on the character’s history and what story has inspired him the most from the annals of Daredevil history. After hearing his passion for the character, we’re even more excited to get a look at this series:
“With this version of Daredevil, we wanted it to be grounded, gritty, as realistic as we could portray. That naturally fits in with the Daredevil character. Matt Murdock, on a regular basis, would get the s*** beat out of him. That’s one thing that makes him a great character. He’s not super strong. He’s not invulnerable. In every aspect, he’s a man that’s just pushed himself to the limits, he just has senses that are better than a normal humans. He is human. The other thing that really drew me to this character is that he’s one of the most morally grey of the heroes…
He’s a lawyer by day, and he’s taken this oath. But every night he breaks that oath, and goes out and does very violent things. The image that always stuck in my mind was the Frank Miller Elektra run where he’s holding Bullseye over the street, and he lets Bullseye go because he doesn’t want Bullseye to ever kill anyone again. When I read that originally, when I was young, I’d never seen anything like that in comics. Superman scoops up the villain and puts them in jail. This time the hero didn’t do that. It was a morally grey ground that I found absolutely fascinating. There are two sides to this character. He’s literally one bad day away from becoming the The Punisher! Frank Castle went just a little bit further than he did. Daredevil has no qualms about beating the hell out of somebody. He’s not going to tie them up with his webs! He’ll come close to killing somebody. And it’s that fine edge—Why doesn’t he go all the way? I really liked the flawed heroes, the human heroes.”
Along with expanding outside the S.H.I.E.L.D. sphere of influence, this series will also kick off Netflix’s run of Marvel originals, with Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and The Defenders miniseries to eventually follow. DeKnight said the early stage of working with Netflix has been a great experience, and projects like House of Cards have shown they’re capable of producing shows that can rival even the best networks when it comes to quality.
He also touched on how long the series might actually run, considering they have four other shows in the offing to tie into. DeKnight said he knows about as much as we do at this point, and it seems they’re still ironing out exactly how everything will fit together to feed into Defenders:
“Netflix has been fantastic. They are phenomenally supportive of the creatives. How much freedom will I have? This is a bit of a different scenario because it’s a Marvel property. Once you have an IP like that, there are restrictions that you have to accept. I’m fine with that, I totally understand. I’ll push it as far as I can, of course, but I also respect the fact that this character has been around for decades. Overall I’ve been surprised at how willing everyone is to take a really fresh look and really push what we’re doing…
On this show, I honestly have no idea [how long it will run]. That’s so far above my pay grade. Making it even more complicated is the fact that [Daredevil] is one part of the bigger plan— Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and then The Defenders. How that all fits together, and whether or not there will be a second season of this show—or if it will fold into the others—are question nobody really has answers to yet.”
The series is tentatively slated to debut in May 2015, starring Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio and Rosario Dawson. Do you like the direction DeKnight is taking things with the series?