The trailer for Daredevil is now online, giving Marvel fans everywhere their first look at the upcoming series, which will both expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the change the Marvel business model in some considerable ways.
On a story level, the saga of blind lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and his vigilante alter-ego Daredevil will be a new chapter of the MCU that focuses on the solo adventures of “street-level” heroes (including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist), finally culminating in a street hero team known as The Defenders.
On a business level, however, Marvel will be able to utilize the Netflix binge-watch model to essentially create 13-hour movies for each character, which will allow sufficient time and space to really develop the them. In Daredevil’s case, fans are hoping for something much deeper and more substantial than the 2003 Ben Affleck movie.
Essentially, the Netflix series will retain most of the classic elements of the Daredevil mythos – some of which were also utilized in the 2003 film. Specifically, the series will offer a more extensive adaptation of the famous Daredevil comic book miniseries “The Man Without Fear“, which was written in 1993 by Sin City, 300, and Dark Knight Returns creator, Frank Miller, along with art by Kick-Ass co-creator, John Romita, Jr.
We’ll get to the what “Man Without Fear” means for the Netflix version of the Daredevil characters and story, but one of the first things fans have responded to since seeing the Daredevil series trailer is the costume Matt Murdock dons: It’s not the traditional red spandex suit most fans associate with the character.
In actuality, the “ninja-style” suit we’ve seen so far is a pretty faithful recreation of the original outfit Murdock wore when first experimenting with vigilantism in Miller’s “Man Without Fear” miniseries origin story. From what showrunner Steven S. DeKnight has said – and what other rumors about the show have hinted – we will likely see Murdock follow the comic book path, eventually evolving his costume into the red suit that best defines the hero.
Remember, this is basically a long-form Marvel movie. So long as the journey (and payoff) is worth it, we can take our time getting there.
The Characters & Story
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With the 1990s “Man Without Fear” storyline, Frank Miller essentially retconned (comic book slang for “story revision”) the entire Daredevil mythos he established in the 1980s. In true Frank Miller fashion, things were darker and grittier than ever before.
Miller created a more traumatic childhood for Matt Murdock (drunken, abusive, boxer father), and introduced more elements of martial arts lore – like stern master Stick (Scott Glenn) and ninja clans – into the origin of how blind Murdock honed his extraordinary sensory skills.
“Man Without Fear” also re-worked the relationships between Matt Murdock and major allies like his law firm partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Harrison); assassin/love interest Elektra (not expected to appear in the series); and his nemesis Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin, who had been a Spider-Man villain before Miller repositioned him as Daredevil’s nemesis in the ’80s.
For the Daredevil Netflix series, we expect to see a mix of Miller’s original ’80s material and the more polished miniseries origin of the ’90s – as well as other elements of Marvel comics mythos that apply to the characters. That includes Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) leading a secret life as The Kingpin of crime until his wife Vanessa finds out; or Karen Paige (Deborah Ann Woll) starting out working for Matt Murdock’s law firm, growing into a love interest, and ultimately becoming a tragic figure when burdened with weight of knowing Matt’s secret.
There are any number of other threads from Marvel Comics history that could also be incorporated – but the ones discussed above look to be the most relevant to this Netflix series. A distilling of Daredevil’s best origin story and character arcs into a modern crime saga sounds like Arrow with a little bit more edge to it – which will probably be just fine for a lot of fans of the superhero TV genre.
Check out a list of the cast members – and other show info – below.
- Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire) as Matt Murdock / Daredevil
- Vincent D’Onofrio (Law & Order: CI) as Wilson Fisk
- Rosario Dawson (Sin City) as Claire Temple
- Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) as Karen Page
- Elden Henson (Hunger Games: Mockingjay) as Foggy Nelson
- Vondie Curtis Hall (Soul Food) as Ben Ulrich
- Scott Glenn (Sucker Punch) as Stick
- Ayelet Zurer (Man of Steel) as Vanessa Marianna
- Bob Gunton (24) and Leland Owlsey
- Toby Leonard Moore (John Wick) as Wesley
Synopsis: Blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) fights against injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the Super Hero “Daredevil” in modern day Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.
Marvel’s Daredevil is one of the best known properties of the street level heroes and will be the the first of four epic live-action adventure series (Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Iron Fist, and Marvel’s Luke Cage, all leading up to the teaming of the main characters in Marvel’s The Defenders) that delves into the backstory of how Matt Murdock evolves into Daredevil.
Marvel’s first original series on Netflix is Executive Produced by series Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight (“Spartacus”, “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”) and Drew Goddard ( “Cabin in the Woods,” “Lost,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, in addition to writing the first two episodes of Daredevil), along with Jeph Loeb (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Smallville,” “Heroes”), who also serves as Marvel’s Head of Television. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix.
Season one of MARVEL’S DAREDEVIL will premiere with thirteen (13) one-hour episodes in 4K on April 10, 2015 at 12:01 AM PT in all territories where Netflix is available.
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