Marvel/Netflix Team-Up Part 1: Who Is Daredevil?

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Marvel Studios recently dropped a bombshell that they would be partnering with Netflix in creating four brand new television series based on some of their “street level” characters for a 2015 release date.  These characters include Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist.  Following each of these individual television series, a mini series entitled “Defenders” will join these characters together to fight crime as a team, in a similar vein as the Avengers.  With this news, Collider wants to walk you through each of these characters to get you prepared for the upcoming Marvel/Netflix shows.  Hit the jump for our first week entry on Daredevil.

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Daredevil!  The Man without Fear!  When Matt Murdock attempts to save an old man’s life by pushing him out of the way of a moving truck, his life is forever changed when a barrel of radioactive waste splashes onto his eyes, blinding him permanently.  Though he has lost his sight, he gains the ability to “see” his environment around him with a radar sense.  Over the years, Matt trains intensely in the gym, and in school, to not only become a lawyer, but fight crime after the murder of his father, the boxer Battlin’ Jack Murdock.  With the help of the enigmatic ninja named Stick, Daredevil is born to fight crime and protect the innocent in the boroughs of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen.

Now that we’ve gotten the official origin out of the way, Daredevil is the most recognized, by and large, among the four upcoming characters in Netflix’s lineup.  He’s also the oldest character as he was originally created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett around the same time as more famous characters such as Spider-Man, The X-Men, and The Avengers back in the 1960s.  Matt Murdock is one of the most unique characters in comics as his powers are derived from his disability.  He also works within the justice system as an attorney, where he defends people that he knows are innocent, usually relying on listening to their heartbeats to discern whether or not they’re lying about committing whatever crime it is they’re being accused of. But why did Marvel decide to push for Daredevil as a television series, even after the critically panned film with Ben Affleck failed to garner the attention it was looking for? Let’s try to answer that.

The Character

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Matt Murdock is one of the most interesting characters you’re going to find in comic books today.  To say he’s complex is an understatement, as he has gone from struggling his way to pick up the pieces of a shattered life (multiple times in fact) to swinging fancy free above the streets of New York without a care in the world.  While both of these are polar opposites of the spectrum, they both work extraordinarily well for the character of Daredevil.  When writer/artist, Frank Miller (who has created such stories as Dark Knight Returns and Sin City), was given reins of the book in the 1970s, he created what is thought of by many to be the pinnacle portrayal of the character. He introduced parts of Matt Murdock’s past, such as his mysterious girlfriend, Elektra, and his mentor, Stick, as well as many other parts of the character that are still used to this day.

Throughout the years, Daredevil has had some of the greatest creative teams working to make Matt Murdock stand out amongst his comic book brethren. Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, and currently, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are but a few teams whose runs you should really check out to get the best understanding of the character. All of the writers and artists recognize that there’s something that sets Daredevil apart from other super heroes.  Matt works as an attorney during the day which allows for a new environment for writers to play on, that can be easily adapted to the small screen (think a show like The Practice if Dylan McDermott then slipped on a horned mask at the halfway point of each episode.) With Daredevil, you won’t be seeing him working at a newspaper or brooding in his mansion, he’s too busy with billable hours for that!

The Villains

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Daredevil has quite the “Rogues Gallery”.  Mostly street level villains, Murdock finds himself tangling with enemies such as the mastermind, the Kingpin, the assassin who is deadly with any weapon, Bullseye, and the insane femme fatale, Typhoid Mary to name a few.  Most of Daredevil’s villains work well for both the story itself, and design as each portrays a striking image.  Kingpin, mob leader Wilson Fisk, is a powerhouse who may look like he eats predominantly at White Castle, but it is in fact all muscle…somehow.  In his spare time, he plots on how to destroy Matt Murdock’s life and fights ninjas in his skivees.

Daredevil’s “Joker” can be found in the form of Bullseye, who is an assassin who can kill his victims with something as small as a paper clip.  Bullseye has killed two of Daredevil’s girlfriends, Elektra and Karen Page, and manages to torture the blind hero at every turn.  There’s a level of insanity to Bullseye that you can’t find in a lot of characters that would be great on the small screen.  I believe Bullseye also has one of the most simple, yet striking costumes in the comic world, and hopefully with Marvel Studios willingness to show off more and more of the costumed side of the Marvel U., as was seen in The  Avengers, we’ll get a Bullseye who dons the famed black spandex.

Finally, Typhoid Mary is a woman who is plagued by split personality disorder.  Of course, if it were just as simple as that, she would hardly be a threat to old Hornhead.  Each of her personalities has a different power associated with them, and for the most part, they’re all pretty much insane.  Surprise, Matt also dated her at one point in his career so it would add another level of showing that while Matt may be a superhero, he doesn’t always make the best decisions and sometimes that can come back to bite him later one.

Lessons Learned

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As I touched upon earlier, this won’t be the first time we’ve seen Daredevil in the media.  In 2003, Fox Studios released a Daredevil motion picture which starred Ben Affleck as Daredevil, Jennifer Garner as Elektra, Colin Farrell as Bullseye, and Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin.  While there were some good parts about the movie, such as illustrating Daredevil’s vulnerabilities as he dragged his beaten body into a sensory deprivation tank to escape the noise of the world, there was just more bad than good to be found.  There are lessons to be taken away from the movie though, such as no more Evanescense!  I kid, sort of, but really there needs to be more of a balance between Matt Murdock, the lawyer, and Matt Murdock, the super hero.  Really delve into the world of Matt as an attorney, running his own law practice while dealing with crime at night.  Focus more on Matt’s imperfections as a lady’s man rather than giving him only one love interest from start to finish.

The upcoming television show already has a leg up on the movie in the fact that it will have the ability to take its time with the story, as it has 13 hours, minimum, to work with rather than only two.  Take an approach of creating a procedural drama wherein we can follow a new case from week to week, both in the courtroom and on the streets, with an overarching storyline connecting everything together.  Delve more into Matt’s early life with Stick and connections to Elektra, as he trained to become the man he will one day become.  Most importantly, draw from the comics!  The stories that are attached to Daredevil are some of the best superhero stories that have been put to print.

Come back next week, as we delve into the character of Jessica Jones.




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  • Herofreak2099

    Awesome new feature! Great idea here. I’d also love to see Matt’s friendship with Foggy Nelson & Karen Page expanded on the show. Watch ‘em hang out as they work with the clients.

  • NICK НΛRT

    so excited for this! i sure hope that at least some of these characters appear in the cinematic universe at some point. who would’ve thought twenty years ago that marvel would be taking comic book entertainment to this level while dc is still struggling to make a decent movie about characters other than batman?

    • wqeewrds

      If DC doesn’t start universe building or putting out lasting franchises besides supes and bats than they could really fall to obscurity in the next several decades, assuming Marvel keeps at it.

  • Romsy

    If you’re on Collider and don’t know who these characters are….you’re Matt Goldberg.

  • Lance

    I’d like to see less of the “Joss Whedon touch” on these series. He takes too long to get characters to an interesting place. Less clever banter and more real drama will keep these new series from becoming utterly missable, like AoS is in danger of becoming.

    • The Flobbit

      I was incredibly psyched for the pilot episode of AoS. I have not watched another episode since. Cheesy jokes, cliched characters, tired silly Whedon banter…

      It’s a miss.

  • The Flobbit

    Garrett Hedlund for Daredevil? Old enough to be convincing in court, can pull off angst and drama, and a bodysuit and action in TRON?

    • eternalozzie

      I doubt he’d do a Netflix only show.

      • The Flobbit

        Come on, he’s not THAT big. After Kevin Spacey and David Fincher pioneering Netflix, anything is possible.

    • eternalozzie

      I doubt he’d do a Netflix only show.

    • Lexiconquerer

      Matt Smith as Daredevil….. I’m not a HUGE Doctor Who fan but I
      don’t hate the idea. Michael C. Hall’s name had been coming up but I
      feel he’ll be playing the same role as Dexter with the secret life,
      working with the police, narrative aspect…

  • Logan Gray

    I can’t wait to read about Jessica Jones’ story, villains, and whatever else there is.

  • Logan Gray

    I can’t wait to read about Jessica Jones’ story, villains, and whatever else there is.

  • eternalozzie

    We don’t need a lawyer show … we need a superhero show. Daredevil … not Law And Order: Hell’s Kitchen

  • Leo Spaceman

    That villain of the week with an overworking story is a terrible idea. That is exactly what Burn Notice did and no one cares about someone they are never going to see in the show again. Have it be more like Sons of Anarchy with a few intertwined storylines and small arcs that are only a few episodes long otherwise I’m not going to care about the bad of the week.

    • shaggywann

      I think that this show can work… why not do it “Dexter” style? That is a dramatic show that has a procedural half and a crazy “get the bad guy that slips through the system” half.

      The “Dexter” format from season 1 would be perfect.

      • Nick

        That “dexter approach” meaning poor writing. Absurd coincidences. Formulaic set ups for each episode and ultimately each season? Daredevil isn’t about the one bad guy an episode deal. he should have 2-3 villains all season as far as real villains and play cat and mouse all season and build on the character. Action should be secondary

  • Leo Spaceman

    That villain of the week with an overworking story is a terrible idea. That is exactly what Burn Notice did and no one cares about someone they are never going to see in the show again. Have it be more like Sons of Anarchy with a few intertwined storylines and small arcs that are only a few episodes long otherwise I’m not going to care about the bad of the week.

  • Alec Safreno

    Daredevil Yellow would be a perfect launching point for this series. It provides a nice introduction to his origins, with his father as the boxer and his death being a motivation to become a superhero. Its got Daredevil being a complete badass with his radar senses and stepping outside of the law when being a lawyer isn’t enough for justice to be served.

    Karen Page is also a main element of the story, giving him a lot of his motivation to step out as Daredevil and be her hero.

    My main hope is that they take it slow, use each episode to dissect the character and show us a complex story. No need to rush out with a big overarcing storyline right out the get go, just keep it focused on Matt Murdock and what makes him the Daredevil.

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  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    Get David Slade to direct the Pilot to help shape the vision and tone of the series. Guy is amazing w Hannibal and 30 Days of Night is an awesome movie. He was in line to direct a feature back before Fox gave up the rights to Marvel.

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    Get David Slade to direct the Pilot to help shape the vision and tone of the series. Guy is amazing w Hannibal and 30 Days of Night is an awesome movie. He was in line to direct a feature back before Fox gave up the rights to Marvel.

  • Pingback: Marvel/Netflix Team-Up: Who Is Jessica Jones? | Collider

  • Lexiconquerer

    Matt Smith as Daredevil….. I’m not a HUGE Doctor Who fan but I don’t hate the idea. Michael C. Hall’s name had been coming up but I feel he’ll be playing the same role as Dexter with the secret life, working with the police, narrative aspect.

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