With fictional histories that span decades, most superheroes have amassed quite the collection of memorable supporting characters – whether it’s on the comic page or on the screen. Most of the publicity and fanfare surrounds the title character’s arch-enemies, though there’s another group of side character that deserves their fair share of attention as well. That would be the now-classic archetype of the superhero mentor.
Whether they provided training to help their pupil physically (Ra’s al Ghul) or gave strong words of wisdom for guidance (Ben Parker), these teachers helped mold the heroes we know into the protectors they are today. Audiences have already learned from respected thespians like Liam Neeson and Cliff Robertson, and now another is joining their ranks. Marvel has announced that character actor Scott Glenn (The Silence of the Lambs, The Leftovers) has signed on to the Daredevil Netflix show to portray Matt Murdock’s instructor, Stick.
For those who don’t know, Stick is the sensei who trained Murdock in martial arts. He is the leader of the mystical martial arts society, the Chaste, and has made it his life’s mission to protect its members from evil. Originally created by Frank Miller for Daredevil #176 in 1981, he has gone on to become one of the most important characters in the Daredevil mythos, having appeared in several forms of media since his inception.
Stick’s last appearance on-screen was in the 2005 film Elektra, where he was portrayed by Terence Stamp. That movie’s director Rob Bowman strayed away heavily from the source material, as Stick did not have any known connection to Daredevil in Fox’s Marvel film universe. That will obviously be a little different this time around, as show runner Steven DeKnight will be looking to add a student/teacher layer to what is already promising to be a densely rich narrative.
Keeping in line with the comics, Daredevil (along with its Defenders brethren) is going to lean closer to the darker side of things when compared to the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just a few days ago, DeKnight mentioned how the moral grayness of the title character was something he was looking forward to tackling, while other reports have teased the possibility of dark, gritty crime stories taking place in a New York reminiscent of the 1970s.
In his earlier comments, DeKnight stated that the “fine edge” Daredevil has when it comes to almost killing somebody is an element that drew him to the project. When diving into why Murdock refuses to go all the way, it seems plausible that the teachings of Stick will be brought to the forefront and the lessons from the guru prevent the hero from crossing the thin line of vigilantism. Having a character who represents pure goodness will be a strong way of illustrating the inner-conflict of Daredevil while giving him something to strive for.
Glenn should be a good fit for that role, as he has demonstrated an excellent ability to play authoritative characters with a strong sense of dignity throughout his career. The veteran has the screen presence and the experience necessary to pull of the part of a wise, old mentor convincingly. The Daredevil cast was already shaping up to be very promising, but Glenn’s inclusion has us even more excited to see what Marvel has in store come next year.
Daredevil will premiere on Netflix in May 2015.
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