Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Defenders
The Defenders, the long-awaited crossover series that brings together characters from across Marvel's Netflix shows, recently premiered. Matthew Murdock/Daredevil and Danny Rand/Iron Fist united against their common enemy, The Hand, alongside reluctant heroes Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Each of these heroes is the main protagonist of their own television shows, which are all due back for another season.
As the oldest and originating Marvel Netflix show, Daredevil is reportedly set to film in October. It's likely that since Jessica Jones season 2 and Luke Cage season 2 are already in production, they will premiere before Daredevil season 3. If these seasons continue the pattern that has been established in the Marvel Netflix shows, they will likely build off of the ending of The Defenders. As such, they could contain additional hints about Daredevil season 3, but given the finale, it seems unlikely that Daredevil will make an appearance.
At the end of The Defenders, Daredevil is presumed dead by his allies, having chosen to stay behind to confront Elektra at the bottom of the Hand's compound. An explosive caused the building to collapse a matter of seconds after Danny, Luke, and Jessica escaped. As a result, everyone - including Matthew Murdock's friends Foggy Nelson and Karen Page - believe that they've seen the last of Daredevil.
The audience, however, is given one final scene that not only reveals that Matthew Murdock is still alive, but also gives fans of the comic books a pretty good idea of where season 3 might be headed.
In the final moments of The Defenders (other than the post-credits scene, that is) Matthew Murdock is shown bandaged and bloody in a bed. As he stirs, a nun, who is seated at the end of the bed, says, "Get Maggie. Tell her he's awake." Maggie almost certainly refers to a nun who Daredevil has crossed paths with before: Maggie Murdock, his mother.
In the comics, when Matthew accidentally meets his mother, she attempts to hide her identity from him. While the first season of Daredevil eluded to Maggie twice during flashback sequences, the ending of The Defenders brings her to the forefront. It's unclear how the family reunion will go, but the story lines feature Maggie in the comics are particularly grim.
Maggie first appears in the "Born Again" comic arc. After Kingpin learns that Matthew Murdock is Daredevil, he does everything in his power to torment Matt. Not only does he lose his job, apartment, money, and girlfriend, but he also is constantly under threat from Kingpin's associates. Given the events of The Defenders, it seems likely that a number of people could figure out the connection between Matthew Murdock and Daredevil, so this is a potential plot line. By chance, when Matthew is at his lowest, he encounters Maggie, and she helps to revive him.
The main antagonist that Kingpin sends after Matthew is Nuke, who has already appeared in Jessica Jones season 1 (also known as Will Simpson). It's possible that character could resurface for Daredevil season 3.
Another possible story line from the comics that features Maggie could be "Guardian Devil". In "Guardian Devil", Matthew Murdock tries to protect a baby (whose mother claims she is a virgin) from the super villain Bullseye. An expert marksman, Bullseye is one of Daredevil's main antagonists, but has not yet appeared in the television show - and actor Charlie Cox has repeatedly expressed that he would like to face off with Bullseye.
The "Guardian Devil" plot line would not be good news for Maggie and her convent, sinc Bullseye kills a number of nuns after they take Matthew and the baby in, and Maggie herself is wounded.
Bad News for Karen
Both "Born Again" and "Guardian Devil" are especially difficult story lines for Karen Page. In "Born Again", Karen leaves New York City to pursue a career as an actress. However, she struggles, develops a heroin addiction, and eventually becomes an adult film star in order to support her drug habit. In fact, it's Karen who gives up Matthew Murdock's secret identity in order to get a quick fix.
Given Karen's budding journalist career, she may not decide to go to Hollywood, but Matthew's (presumed) death could lead her to abusing drugs. Likewise, there are enough ways that someone could figure out Daredevil's lawyer alter ego that Karen does not need to be the leak. In one of the final scenes of The Defenders, Karen even tells Foggy that she is not pursuing a story because she is afraid that someone might make the connection between Daredevil's and Matthew Murdock's disappearances. This places the idea that Matthew's identity might be compromised at the forefront of upcoming Marvel Netflix shows. Still, even if Karen is not the leak, a "Born Again"-inspired story does not seem like good news for her.
Unfortunately, "Guardian Devil" is even worse for Karen. She breaks up with Matthew, is diagnosed with HIV (although this may or may not be part of a super villain's plot), and finally, is killed by Bullseye. Hopefully the cinematic version of Karen Page isn't simply "fridged" like her comic book counterpart in order to create additional angst for Matthew Murdock. Still, if Maggie is a harbinger, then Karen is the character in the crosshairs.
As Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand flee the Hand's compound at the end of The Defenders, Matt whispers something to Danny. Safely outside, watching the building collapse before them, Danny reveals to Jessica and Luke that Matthew never intended to make it out alive and that Matt asked Danny to protect New York City for him.
In Matthew's absence, it's possible that Danny Rand could even take on the mantle of Daredevil, as he did in Daredevil #87. In the television show, having Iron Fist pose as Daredevil could be one solution if it became public that Matthew Murdock was suspected of being Daredevil.
Is anyone ever dead?
The Defenders does not go into any detail of how Matthew Murdock goes from the bottom of a seemingly inescapable hole under an exploding skyscraper to a ward-style bed surrounded by nuns. It's likely that season 3 of Daredevil will give viewers some sort of explanation, even if it isn't a satisfying one. However, since Matthew is alive, there is no reason to believe that Elektra or Madame Gao are dead. All of the major players from previous seasons - with the exception of Matthew's mentor Stick, whom Elektra killed in The Defenders - should be able to reappear in the upcoming season of Daredevil.
Whether or not they will... well, we'll just have to wait and see.