A year ago, Daredevil was just another failed movie from the awkward pre-teen years of the cinematic superhero boom. After an unsuccessful outing starring Ben Affleck, Matt Murdock and the Man Without Fear looked destined to go the way of Elektra and Catwoman; forgotten after a mediocre (or just downright bad) film.
But after the rights for the character reverted back to Marvel, Netflix swooped down from the rooftops and used their heightened senses to determine that what we all needed was a brutal, bloody, breathtaking, and bingeable version of Daredevil. And they delivered.
With season 2 of Daredevil on its way, we’re taking a look at the red vigilante’s journey to the small screen and beating some facts into you that you should know.
Here are 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Daredevil.
10. It Was Going to Be a Movie Reboot
Before Marvel came to Netflix with an ambitious 60 episode plan to create Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist – all culminating the The Defenders – Fox still had the rights to Daredevil and was trying desperately to reboot the character and get a franchise off the ground before those rights lapsed back to Marvel.
To be directed by David Slade of Hard Candy (and, to be fair, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), the intended Daredevil reboot would’ve been a dark and edgy version of the story featuring Daredevil’s original yellow suit; all things that Fox couldn’t get behind. With Slade eventually booked to work on the Hannibal pilot, Fox scrambled and eventually moved to Joe Carnahan. Carnahan wanted to make the film in a ’70s noir style thriller, and while he claims the project was well-received – which you can judge for yourself thanks to the film’s sizzle reel – it wasn’t well-received enough to get going before the clock ran out and the rights reverted back to Marvel.
9. One-Take Hallway Fight
You may have been too wrapped up in the unheard of brutality at the center of the scene to notice, but that infamous hallway fight scene in season 1 of Daredevil was actually one take. Yeah. Go back and watch it again. We can wait.
So, now that you’ve been able to fully appreciate the complexity of the hallway fight in the second episode of Daredevil, you can thank Drew Goddard for writing that episode, and apparently laying out much of what was on-screen on the page. While the fight served as a perfect introduction to the bone-cracking violence of the show, its choreography also hammered home another point, Daredevil was going to be a slow, grounded ride that packs a punch and doesn’t rely on the slick CGI of other Marvel properties.
8. Other Actors Have Played Daredevil?
Three people have played Daredevil before Charlie Cox, and that includes Ben Affleck, whose mumbling through the first Daredevil film we are going to count as acting, at least for the sake of this article. But why doesn’t anyone remember the other two Daredevil representations?
The first on-screen portrayal of Daredevil was actually in 1989 in the TV Movie The Trail of The Incredible Hulk. The film introduced Rex Smith’s Daredevil to television in what was meant to set up an ongoing Daredevil series that never materialized.
Daredevil’s next appearance was by Edward Albert, who voiced the very cool Matt Murdock/Daredevil in the 1994 animated Spider-Man series. And while the character sticks around for a few episodes that were even turned into a direct-to-DVD film Daredevil vs. Spider-Man, it would be years later until the character was seen again; this time portrayed by Ben Affleck in a film that many viewers wished they could unsee.
7. Showrunners Keep Leaving
There must be something in the water on the Daredevil set, because two showrunners have now left Daredevil before its second season. The first to jump ship was Drew Goddard, who departed to helm the since-canceled Sinister Six movie. And while his presence at the early stages shaped the series and he’s still involved in the show at some capacity, we can’t help but wonder how different the show would have been had he stuck around instead of Steven DeKnight, who came in to replace Goddard, then, like Goddard, left.
Once season 1 had premiered, DeKnight left to write some of the upcoming slate of Transformers movies, a move that he has since said he regrets. But he doesn’t regret it because he’s learned there’s very little “writing” allowed on a Transformers film, but rather because he found out that The Punisher would appear in season 2, and he really wanted to be a part of it. And speaking of The Punisher…
6. More Marvel Characters Are Coming
The Punisher and Elekra are coming to season 2. And if that doesn’t inspire confidence in you thanks to the forgettable films that they headlined in the past, just remember that Daredevil once, too, headlined a forgettable film, so here’s hoping that being around him turns them into interesting and worthwhile characters.
After being given the OK to use the characters, new showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez decided to throw the characters in with Daredevil in order to test Matt Murdock and bring some moral ambiguity to the already complex themes of the show. According to the showrunners, both The Punisher and Elektra will be killing their enemies, thus putting them at odds with Daredevil and setting up a season-long antagonist in Frank Castle’s Punisher.
5. Daredevil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
If you think the only thing the Netflix Marvel Universe can do is make passing mentions of The Battle of New York and The Avengers, think again. With the unrivaled power of Marvel to make anyone a star and their insane contracts that span multiple films, it’s no surprise to learn that Charlie Cox is actually set to appear at some point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; which is something we may see come to fruition sooner rather than later.
When referring to his contract and appearing in upcoming Marvel movies, Charlie Cox said “It’s in my contract that if they want me to do it, I’m there, and I would love that.” And while this summer’s Civil War came and went without him, it’s assumed that there will be big question marks surrounding The Avengers team following the events of that movie, and perhaps there will be room for a certain man in red.
4. There Was Only Meant to Be One Season
One 13-episode season. That’s all we were meant to see of Daredevil until the explosive 8-part crossover event, The Defenders. But as Daredevil received deafening fan and critical acclaim after its release, plans changed and expectations were shattered, because a second season of the series was announced, and it was set to debut before even Luke Cage or Iron Fist showed us what they were made of.
While any fan of the first season is no doubt thrilled that a second is coming so soon, its release shakes up The Defenders in a way that may not yet be fully realized. Though we know for sure that Luke Cage is deep into production and Iron Fist is on its way, any number of things – like a second season of Jessica Jones could throw off the timeline of The Defenders once more, forcing us to wait a little longer until all our favorite New York heroes get together and mope about their lives to the tune of gritty cinematography; and, you know, fight crime. But not too much crime, because…
3. Daredevil Will Never Save the World
If The Avengers assemble strictly to save the universe, then Daredevil is just trying to clean up Hell’s Kitchen. And like any kitchen cleaning, with Daredevil’s luck things are going to get messy the second he thinks he’s done. According to Marvel’s TV head Jeph Loeb, Daredevil’s street-level tone was a conscious choice by creators. Loeb made it clear that with Daredevil, “there aren’t going to be people flying through the sky. There are no magic hammers.” Which might be what makes Daredevil such a thrilling show.
Unlike other superhero shows that try to replicate big-budget action on a tiny weekly budget, the goal of Daredevil was never to be a superhero show. According to ex-showrunner Steven DeKnight, the show was constructed to echo Dog Day afternoon or Taxi Driver; it was meant to be “very, very grounded, very gritty, very real,” said DeKnight. “We always say we would rather lean toward The Wire than what’s considered a classic superhero television show.”
2. Daredevil: Home for Failed Movie Characters?
So with Elektra and The Punisher joining Daredevil, you’d think Marvel has finally run out of poorly managed franchises from the mid-2000s, right? Actually, no. You’re forgetting Ghost Rider and Blade, both of whom are rumored to be in consideration to join the show at a later date.
While we’re still cautiously optimistic that this could work out – and that a reboot of these characters would be exactly what they need – if they don’t join Daredevil it is possible that they get their own respective shows. Since it’s tough to blend such otherworldly characters with Daredevil – especially considering Blade’s R-Rated tone and Ghost Rider’s wacky CGI world – both shows may end up headlining their own Phase 2 of Marvel’s Netflix slate; one that would look a heck of a lot different from the grounded version that’s currently being laid out with Daredevil at its center.
1. The Punisher is So Good…
When it was announced that Jon Bernthal would be playing Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher in Season 2 of Daredevil, geeks everywhere were understandably excited. But as images and clips from the season began to show up with Bernthal’s Punisher in them, word came that The Punisher was so good in Daredevil that he came this close to getting his own spinoff.
While the show is currently in very early development, if greenlit it would star Bernthal and would most definitely throw another wrench in the planed Defenders series. But are we willing to push the culmination of all things Marvel and Netflix if it means a kick-ass anti-hero series? According to Daredevil co-showrunner Doug Petrie, we should be. Petrie has said that “viewers watching the show will be rooting for this guy with a gun but we’re also going to force people to second-guess themselves.” And considering how that sounds darker and more brutal than Daredevil could ever dare to be, we say bring on The Punisher.
Do you know anything about Daredevil that we don’t? Let us know in the comments!
Daredevil season 1 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Daredevil season 2 will debut on Netflix on March 18th, 2016, followed by Luke Cage season 1 later in 2016. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, Iron Fist, and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced.