After the latest teaser, speculation about season 2 of Daredevil is running wild. There isn’t much to go on except two names – Elektra and the Punisher – and a few interviews, but based on those, the first season, the comics and Netflix Marvel’s established patterns so far, it still seems possible to throw out a few predictions with better than even odds of coming true before the series returns on March 18.
Most of the interview material comes from Charlie Cox, who plays Matt Murdock himself, so it has the ring of authenticity to it. These are speculations, not spoilers, but the truly spoiler-allergic may still wish to avert their eyes…
Here are 12 Predictions for Daredevil Season 2.
12. The Punisher (Frank Castle) will pose a moral as well as a physical challenge to Daredevil (Matt Murdock).
This one is a virtual certainty given that the Punisher is a major force in season 2. It’s an externalization of the inner conflict in season 1. There, Matt struggled mightily with the ethical question of whether to kill an evil man, the Kingpin. Now that he at least thinks he’s made up his mind to be merciful, in will come the Punisher, who is all about killing evil people as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Even if the simplicity of Castle’s methods doesn’t tempt Matt at all, it will still force him to define the exact difference between himself and someone like Frank. That’s what gives their relationship meaning in the comics, too.
11. Elektra and Matt will have a pretty similar relationship, past and present, to that in the comics.
Cox all but confirmed this by saying “I think every single man has an Elektra in their past.” The Netflix series has been mining a whole lot of the backstory that the Frank Miller comics gave Matt and his friends, and that backstory includes a lovely little romantic interlude with a woman who had a different set of father issues than Matt and, like him, was destined for violence.
Casting Élodie Yung, a French actress with Asian heritage, in the role of the traditionally Greek Elektra Natchios might mean slight alterations to that backstory, but Marvel knows better than to repeat the 2003 movie’s mistakes. Shrinking the time scope of Matt’s involvement with Elektra down from years to days robbed the story of most of its emotional resonance.
10. There will be no Kingpin.
The Kingpin was one of season 1’s best assets, thanks in part to an excellent character arc and in part to the powerful performance of Vincent D’Onofrio, which was somehow both childlike and truly grand, and first season footage of him has turned up in teasers for the new season. But that first season was far stronger for having a firm ending, with the Kingpin in the custody of the state, and having him bounce out of prison so soon after everything it took to put him in there would retroactively blunt the impact of season 1.
Admittedly, doing so would add some weight to the Punisher’s likely argument that Matt should have just killed him after all. Still, bringing Wilson Fisk back at this stage would steal too much focus from Elektra and the Punisher. Though it’s certainly possible he could return for a cameo appearance, it’s doubtful that the Kingpin will be the main villain of this season.
9. Night Nurse (Claire Temple) will not hog too much screen time.
Rosario Dawson’s passionate, compassionate medic has been positioned as the glue holding all the Netflix Marvel series together, and that’s a role that makes a lot of sense for her, as characters like Matt, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist tend to end up needing someone with medical training who does some of her work out of the hospital, away from prying eyes.
Though she’s officially confirmed for season 2 of Daredevil, her romantic tension with Matt is likely to be sidelined, given the likely Elektra-Matt-Karen triangle. She only popped in for one episode of Jessica Jones and that will probably be her pattern from here on out, as Marvel wouldn’t want to overexpose her before her links to the various characters help bring them together for the Defenders series in 2018 or so.
8. With Elektra’s return, Karen Page and Matt’s attraction will fizzle, leaving Karen to gravitate toward Foggy.
Set photos have already hinted at a romance blossoming between Matt and Karen, which would be in line with season 1, where she seemed pretty impressed with both Nelson and Murdock. Matt’s the brooding, mysterious one with an attractive strength about him, even when he’s not in costume, whereas Foggy is the approachable, emotionally available, huggable type.
But with Elektra coming back into the picture, Matt is likely to withdraw and focus his somewhat obsessive personality on Elektra. Karen may fall into bed with Foggy or just be friends, but in any case we’re guessing she’ll be much closer to him than Matt by the season’s end.
7. Karen will find out that Matt is Daredevil.
She may already know: she’s definitely looking at him a little funny at the end of season 1. Hoodwinking the love interest about the hero’s true identity may be a classic superhero trope, but its time has arguably passed. It’s the weakest element of The Flash, which compromises Barry Allen’s usual likability by having him tell seemingly every person in the cast his secret except Iris in season 1 and Patty in season 2. This has the side effect of making Iris look like a shoddy journalist and Patty a worse police investigator.
Compare to Jessica Jones, where Jessica keeps darker, more shameful secrets from Luke, but at least they discover each other’s powers (and bond over them) pretty quickly. Netflix Marvel has therefore risen over the ol’ “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Lois!” cliché, and there’s reason to think (hope!) it will do so again here.
6. There will be a Bullseye.
Although Bullseye hasn’t appeared on any cast lists and the rumor Jason Statham was to play him was debunked, both Marvel show on Netflix and ABC has introduced characters later in their first seasons who were absent from early promotions but still became huge threats to the title characters, so don’t be surprised if Bullseye slips under the wire.
He would complicate the Mexican standoff between Daredevil, Elektra and the Punisher, giving us four main characters who could each believably fight any of the other three, but the story will need some further complication to sustain 13 episodes’ worth of plot twists on the level of the first season.
Bullseye’s psychopathic amorality also serves as a nice contrast to the consistent but very, very different moral philosophies of the others. And comics fans know to get nervous about Elektra’s general welfare when Bullseye shows up.
5. Elektra will be alive at the end of the season.
There are two ways this prophecy can be fulfilled: one is that she doesn’t die (yet), perhaps avoiding or delaying the fateful confrontation with Bullseye, a fight found in the Frank Miller comics and 2003 movie. The other is that she dies and is resurrected by the end of the season, a rebirth found in some of the lesser later comics.
The ease of resurrection is one of superhero stories’ biggest problems: remember Coulson’s affecting death scene in The Avengers and how “something to avenge” gave that movie its meaning? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sort of hoping you don’t. However, if the means to resurrect someone are established early in the season, at least it wouldn’t be the deus ex machina of Coulson’s return.
In any case, Marvel seems to be waking up to the number of female fans it has (note the badass woman population of Jessica Jones, Agent Carter and S.H.I.E.L.D.) and may not want to introduce one of its best-known female fighters just to kill her. The need to resolve the season’s conflicts and comics tradition say she dies, making this the shakiest bet on this list, but even so…
4. If Elektra dies, it will be by the Punisher’s hand, not Bullseye’s.
Some of the above predictions could be wrong. In fact, we’ll almost certainly get a few of them wrong. Elektra’s death (without resurrection) might be necessary to preserve the emotional weight of the overall Daredevil series. Like Jessica Jones, this is a series that kills people who really don’t deserve to go so soon (Ben Urich, you are missed).
And whether Elektra’s death is temporary or permanent, the series might still subvert expectations by making it another party altogether who kills her. Having the Punisher do it, perhaps after she takes a questionable job for a criminal, would have the ironic side effect of driving Matt into such a boiling rage that the Punisher becomes the punished.
3. There will be ninjas and mobsters alike trying to fill the void the Kingpin left.
Season 1 dropped some pretty strong hints that the Hand, a sort of Japanese ninja mafia, lurked on the edges of TV Daredevil’s world, and since it’s a pretty big fixture of Daredevil comics with some connections to Elektra, it’s an even better bet than Bullseye to show up in season 2. Plus, it doesn’t seem likely that criminals will look at the fall of the Kingpin and think, “Huh, better stay out of New York City” when they could think, “There’s a power vacuum there now, and I’m just the guy to fill it!”
2. The Punisher will not end the season a free man.
In the comics, sending the Punisher to prison for any length of time would be almost unthinkable once he got his own series and transitioned from Spider-Man/Daredevil villain into something of a superhero. But don’t look for him to make the same transition on TV any time soon. As showrunner Doug Petrie says, “Taking lethal justice into your own hands in America in 2015 is tricky shit. We have not shied away from the rich complicated reality of Now. If you’ve got a gun and you’re not the police you’re going to incite strong feelings.”
While Cox has said their relationship will be “complicated,” with probably a brief period or two of alliance, it seems highly unlikely these two will reconcile their differences in the end. And Netflix Marvel tends to end its seasons with a sense of firm resolution. The Kingpin got put away, Killgrave got dead, and Castle will almost certainly do one or the other.
1. Critics and audiences will mostly like the season, but not as much as Season 1.
It is all but inevitable, so manage your expectations now – even if you personally like the season, even if some say it’s even better than the first, the critical unanimity that season 1 generated is all but impossible to replicate. The presence of the Punisher and Elektra mean that season 2 pretty much has to be more like a Quentin Tarantino movie than the Sopranos-like first season, with more outsize, over-the-top action and far less of the “soft power” that left season 1 Matt with nothing to punch.
This won’t be a complete departure for the series: season 1 had some pretty extravagant fight scenes in it, too. But replacing a mob monarch like Wilson Fisk with two or three guys who just kill people with bullets or thrown objects costs you a little critical cachet. The critical consensus will say it’s good, but not quite as great.
What do you think will happen in the upcoming season? Let us know in the comments!