On the film side of superhero media, one thing that’s become very clear is that Disney/Marvel specializes in light-hearted entertainment, highlighting their characters’ fantastical nature with an aura of humor and fun. Audiences have to look no further than the company’s latest smash hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, to see that philosophy in full effect. Even the studio’s more serious-minded pictures, like the first Iron Man and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, leaned more on those elements when compared to other offerings in the comic book genre.
Given that there are signs pointing to fans’ two favorite teams joining forces at some point down the line, that business strategy isn’t likely to change any time soon. However, Marvel could use their slate of Netflix programming (featuring characters such as Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist) to inject some new blood into the brand by going down a grittier route than any of their films (or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for that matter) have before.
The first of these new shows to hit the web will be Daredevil, which is being planned for a May 2015 debut. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos has already stated that the series will be full of “gritty crime stories,” which immediately differentiates it from the pulpy space thrills of Guardians. Now showrunner Steven DeKnight – taking the place of the departed Drew Goddard – has provided additional insight on what that might entail.
Chatting with Paste Magazine, DeKnight opened up about his journey to becoming a showrunner for a major project and his relationship with Avengers director Joss Whedon.
However, the most interesting tidbits came when he discussed exactly how Matt Murdock/Daredevil will be portrayed in the show. DeKnight made it clear that this superhero isn’t going to be cut from the same cloth as Steve Rogers.
Read his quote:
“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.”
Those comments play in line with DeKnight’s previous remarks that this new show will have a “1970s New York” feel. Taking it one step further, DeKnight came close to comparing the Man Without Fear to a certain caped crusader who also uses vigilante tactics to fight crime:
“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.”
That dichotomy should prove to be an interesting one to explore and give Marvel an outlet to dive into the hard-edged side of their source material that doesn’t gel with the main Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the Screen Rant Underground podcast, something our editors have mentioned many times is the feeling that the studio would benefit from launching a “Marvel Knights” banner that was separate from their core programming. The moniker being used officially is The Defenders, but the basic principle remains the same. Viewers will (hopefully) be getting the same quality Marvel productions we’ve come to expect, but in a new light.
At first glance, Marvel breaking away from the mold that they’ve used to overwhelming success (so far) could be risky – but this Netflix corner of the universe can be a positive development for the brand. Not only does it allow Marvel to utilize fan-favorite characters that would otherwise be overlooked, it also allows them to showcase a different corner of thier universe, potentially drawing in a new segment of viewers to give the brand even more extension than before.
The fanfare surrounding TV dramas like True Detective and Breaking Bad illustrated there was an audience for rich, morally-ambigious storytelling – which sounds like something Daredevil will fully embrace. It’s just another case of using comic book characters to blend multiple genres together to give audiences a full-blown experience. Color us interested.
Daredevil will premiere on Netflix in May 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.
Source: Paste Magazine