After having watched the first five episodes of Marvel’s Daredevil, available at Netflix on April 10th, and then getting the opportunity to chat with Charlie Cox (“Matt Murdock” / “Daredevil”), Elden Henson (“Foggy Nelson”), Deborah Ann Woll (“Karen Page”), Rosario Dawson (“Claire Temple”), showrunner Steven S. DeKnight and Marvel’s Head of Television Jeph Loeb, not only am I excited to see how the rest of the season plays out, but I’m even more interested in how A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage will shape up, as the street-level superheroes head down a path to where they will be combining forces for The Defenders.
This take on the material is dark and gritty, with a superhero at its center who often gets as beaten as the criminals he pursues, both as a lawyer and a vigilante, and he needs to rely on his friends to help him protect the residents of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. After chatting with everyone at the show’s press day, we’ve compiled a list of 15 mostly non-spoilery things to know about the show and Marvel’s plans for the future.
- Daredevil could not exist, in this form, until Marvel got the rights back from Fox. Once they had the rights back, they had to get the okay from the movie division to go ahead as a TV series. And then, they had to find the best home for that series.
- The idea of doing the street-level heroes came about, leading to The Defenders story, and Netflix was on board for four 13-part stories that are separate stories that, in their own way, feel like they’re of the same universe. And then, those four characters, who knew each other in the comics and had relationships, will join together, with Daredevil kicking it all off.
- This show exists in the Marvel cinematic universe, but Daredevil is the dirt under the gloss of The Avengers. There needs to be one set of superheroes to deal with the stuff on the streets, so the other set of superheroes can deal with the Gods and aliens. The Avengers save the universe, and these heroes save the neighborhood.
- What they’re trying to do with the Netflix shows, in general, is tell the best stories for the individual characters, and if they have a bit of an edge to them, than that’s good because it means the Marvel universe is expanding to this kind of story. They hope to one day be able to tell stories that take place in the supernatural universe and the horror universe with the Marvel catalogue of 9,000 characters.
- Two years before the rights for Daredevil returned to Marvel, Joe Quesada called Jeph Loeb, out of the blue and said that he’d found their lead and that it had to be Charlie Cox. At that time, they didn’t know if they’d even be able to revisit the character, let alone as a TV series, but he was adamant.
- We will see the backstory of Matt Murdock as a young boy who is blinded but imbued with extraordinary senses, woven into the dual life of the man who starts a new law firm with his best friend and legal partner, Foggy Nelson, while pursuing criminals at night as Daredevil. There is no character in the Marvel universe who is more conflicted than Matt Murdock. Will he solve the world’s problems in a courtroom, or will he solve them with a fist?
Because he has enhanced senses, strength, speed, agility and endurance, Matt Murdock has to maintain the illusion of behaving like a regular blind person when he’s around other people.
- Charlie Cox worked very closely with a man who has been legally blind for 20 years, to develop his cane technique and spend time observing what his eyes did when talking to someone.
- Since he didn’t grow up on comics and wasn’t familiar with the character before this, Charlie Cox’s first exposure was with the first two episodes, written by Drew Goddard. Then, he started with the 1964 comics and worked his way up, determining which best suited the show that he’d already read.
- Matt Murdock knows whether he can trust someone because his senses allow him to tell when someone is lying and when they’re being truthful, and he develops an immediate bond with Claire Temple.
- For the fight scenes, Charlie Cox collaborated with the stunt coordinator and his stunt double to break up the fight sequences into six to ten moves, at a time, that he could learn. They had a lot of rehearsals, and starting doing it in slow motion and progressively got faster. It’s always more about selling a punch than throwing a punch, and the camera angles and lighting play a key role.
- The fight scene at the end of Episode 2 was the most technically complicated action scene because of the way it was done in one shot, but there are bigger fight scenes, in later episodes.
- Elden Henson’s goal is to bring a naturalness to Foggy Nelson, who he said has the least of him out of any character he’s played.
- Deborah Ann Woll was nervous about sharing her own ideas for a character she was so new to playing, but said that everyone was very open and welcoming to any ideas that they had.
- Karen Page comes from a place where she sees people being hurt and won’t stand for it, even if that leads to her getting hurt, herself.
Daredevil is available at Netflix on April 10th.