Daredevil TV Series Is Grittier And Edgier Than Anything Marvel Has Done Before



In terms of TV series set to debut during 2015, few are as highly anticipated as Daredevil – the first of Marvel’s four planned Netflix shows. With an astonishing cast on board – including Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Ayelet Zurer – the show has already wrapped its 13 episode first season, which will be released in its entirety in May 2015.

Based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, Daredevil focuses on a young, blind lawyer named Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), who uses his heightened senses to fight crime as a superhero at night. Though the source material presents Daredevil as a ‘man without fear,’ the creative team behind the show (which was developed by Drew Goddard) have sought to express an alternative interpretation of that character, as Charlie Cox explained:

“Someone who does not have fear – literally does not experience fear – is not that interesting. The way I like to think about it is that he is a man with fear, but he on a daily basis decides to confront that fear and to overcome it. So the title of ‘the man without fear’ is almost a title that the public in his world gives him just because of what he does. But inside himself, he’s very afraid at times. And he finds a way to confront those fears and punch through it.”

On the subject of characters, Steven S. DeKnight addressed the reasoning behind the decision to make Wilson Fisk the main antagonist for season one, as opposed to the popular Bullseye. These first 13 episodes will apparently present the parallel rise of both hero and villain, with a very complex and detailed portrayal of Fisk being delivered by Vincent D’Onofrio.

“Fisk has many different aspects so it’s not all ‘I want to conquer the city and make a lot of money.’ In our story, we tell the story of how he met his wife, Vanessa [Ayelet Zurer], and how they fell in love – our antagonist actually has a love story. That’s the love story you’re following – the one you’re invested in – and seeing how much that affects him and changes him. I think Vincent just brings such depth to it, his performance is astounding.

“I wouldn’t say there’s no plans to include [Bullseye] in the series. It’s not to say he wouldn’t be in the series at some point. But I think if you try to jam in too many characters it just becomes a mess. And [Bulleye’s] story was told in the last iteration of Daredevil that anybody saw. My feeling was, ‘Why repeat it?’ And honestly, if you’re looking for a juicy, multi-faceted crime drama, Wilson Fisk is the obvious choice to play the antagonist. Bullseye is a little more cut and dry. Not to say you couldn’t make him fantastic over 13 hours, but Fisk really felt like the yin to the yang for Matt, and for what we wanted to do this season.”

Jeph Loeb detailed how Daredevil fits in with the famously cohesive Marvel cinematic universe – both physically and tonally.

“Within the Marvel universe there are thousands of heroes of all shapes and sizes, but The Avengers are here to save the universe, and Daredevil is here to save the neighbourhood. It’s a very unique look at Hell’s Kitchen in New York, where Matt Murdock grew up, and continues to defend it from people who would harm the people that live there.

“It does take place in the Marvel cinematic universe. It’s all connected. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we would look up in the sky and see [Iron Man]. It’s just a different part of New York that we have not yet seen in the Marvel movies.

“We always say we would rather lean toward The Wire than what’s considered a classic superhero television show. There aren’t going to be people flying through the sky. There are no magic hammers.”

Finally, despite the unrestricted creative boundaries offered by Netflix as a streaming service, Steven DeKnight stated that we will not be seeing an ‘R’ rated Daredevil.

“It’s a little grittier and edgier than Marvel has done before, but we’re not looking to push it to extreme graphic violence, gratuitous nudity or anything like that. The story does not require that and I think would suffer if you pushed it that far.”

It seems that Marvel’s foray into the world of Netflix will be something of an experiment with its brand. The reason that Marvel projects are so distinct from DC projects – in film and TV – is because they are tonally very different. Traditionally, DC is gritty while Marvel is witty. Tinkering with that status quo will be the greatest test of brand loyalty the studio has faced to date – but one which should benefit from the talent of the legendary Vincent D’Onofrio in such an iconic antagonistic role at the heart of Daredevil.

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