Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Defenders
At the end of The Defenders, the writers seemingly tease the introduction of Maggie Murdock, Daredevil’s mother, into the Marvel Netflix Universe. After Matt and Elektra's fight deep beneath the Midland Financial building had ground to a halt as the two former lovers spent what appeared to be their final moments together as the building came down, the rest of the team and the audience were left assuming they had died underground. But as the series closed, Matthew is shown lying in a bed wrapped in bandages with various injuries across his body. With a Catholic cross above his bed and a nun at his side, it's presumed he's in a church. The nun tells someone off screen “Get Maggie, tell her he’s awake”. The person she’s asking for is almost certainly Maggie Murdock. We’ve seen and heard hints about her across Daredevil season one, but we’ve never seen her on screen. The writers haven’t given us a reason for her disappearance, but that could all change when Daredevil season three kicks off.
If it’s not clear, Maggie is also a nun sharing similar Catholic beliefs as Matt. Jack Murdock called her shortly before he was killed by Roscoe Sweeney, asking her to look after Matt. We know that Stick raised Matthew and taught him the skills that make him the Man Without Fear, so Jack’s request might not be fulfilled until the third season. Flashbacks might show otherwise, but until then, it’s not known if Matt is aware that his Mother is even alive.
During Frank Miller’s critically acclaimed Born Again run in the Daredevil comics, fans were finally introduced to Maggie Murdock during Matt's lowest point. He’d been stabbed after a crusade by Kingpin that tore his life apart piece by piece. Wandering into a church in search of aid, he encounters a nun, Maggie, who just happened to be his mother. She nurses Matthew back to health, as he begins to suspect her true identity, but when he questions her, she simply denies it. Even so, he hears her heart skip a beat when she lies, confirming his suspicions. They meet in similar circumstances in a later storyline, Guardian Devil, written by Kevin Smith. After Matthew is drugged and nearly coerced into killing an innocent baby, he starts to lose consciousness and winds up at the church once again asking for Maggie’s help. Instead of playing along with the charade when he wakes up, he confronts her directly about being his mother. She retorts by saying he’s as direct as his father was. She provides sanctuary for Matt and the child until Bullseye comes into town and causes havoc, as per usual.
With the mention of Maggie at the end of The Defenders it’s clearly a hint from Marvel Netflix at what to expect from Daredevil season 3. There’s been no confirmation on potential plotlines, it’s not a stretch to imagine that Born Again and Guardian Devil could be an inspiration for the future. After all, season 2 saw the Kingpin threaten to dismantle Matt’s life and all those around him after their confrontation in the prison. The continuation of that could see Wilson learn Daredevil’s real identity (which he may suspect already) and begin to toy with Matthew. Since he’s already in the church, they could quite easily adapt the portions of Born Again involving Maggie over the course of an episode or two as Matt tries to find out if they’re related. The story written by Frank Miller is seen as one of the best Daredevil stories, and the Netflix show has already leaned heavily into his interpretation of the character, although whether they’ll include Karen Page’s tragic character arc involving becoming her becoming a drug addict and adult film actress, is yet to be seen.
However, if they were to adapt Guardian Devil it would give the writers chance to create more emotional drama in Matt’s life to continue his inner torment. The series brought Bullseye into New York City, hired by the villain Mysterio to retrieve a baby who could potentially be the reincarnation of Christ. Bullseye assaults the church, injuring Maggie and violently wiping out the rest of the nuns before Daredevil can even arrive on the scene. The assassin uses one of Daredevil’s own billy-clubs to murder Karen Page. Violently killing one of Matt’s closest friends but giving him a maternal figure to lean on would be a very interesting use symbolism. Plus, it opens Daredevil up for more rage filled vigilantism that we all know and love.
The show is unlikely to introduce Mysterio, given the Sony partnership is on the Marvel film side, and there's little reason to expect that kind of cooperation, but between Fisk and Nuke, who was introduced in Jessica Jones, Marvel Netflix have all the antagonists they need to engineer a plot similar to Born Again, with pieces of Guardian Devil woven throughout.
For a while, Matt thought his mother left him and his father because she was being abused, but it tragically turns out that she left when she suffered severe postnatal depression and began hurting her son without realizing it.With this introduced into the plot, it would be the start of reconciliation between the two, although that road might be long and difficult. They could ultimately make amends after a dramatic assault on a church, similar to Guardian Devil.
In the Netflix series, Wilson Fisk could be the one to hire Bullseye - a character Charlie Cox wants introduced - to cause havoc in Daredevil’s life - as long as he doesn’t have the goofy costume from the 2003 Daredevil film, that is. While that story would mean the loss of the fantastic Deborah Ann Woll, it leaves the spot open for a talented older actress to enter the fray. Daredevil Season 2 saw Nelson & Murdock close their doors after plenty of disagreements. But during Guardian Devil, Karen leaves all her money to Matthew. He and Foggy choose to reopen their firm to practice law together again. It would be a brilliant way of honoring Karen’s memory. Nelson, Murdock, & Page anyone?
We’ve already seen what the Netflix series can do with the most extreme characters from the Marvel Universe. Just look at The Punisher, for example. He debuted in Daredevil, and now we’re fast approaching his own solo series. We’re not suggesting that Netflix commission a Bullseye series, but the showrunners clearly have the right idea when bringing these characters to the gritty streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
The Defenders is now available on Netflix, with The Punisher arriving sometime this fall. Premiere dates for the new seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fisthave not yet been announced.