Every couple months, the Marvel Cinematic Universe grows just a little bit bigger. With new content on cable, film and Netflix, moving pieces are added to a complex machine built on superheroes, special powers, flawed characters, and even some humour sprinkled in for good measure.
This weekend marks the return of Daredevil for a second season. It’s one of four Marvel series on Netflix that, like the company’s film counterparts that focus on an individual character, will eventually find the heroes teaming up for a massive event series called The Defenders.
The second block of Daredevil follows our blind crime fighter Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) battling two new foes in The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and Elektra (Elodie Yung) while aided by his colleague Foggy (Elden Henson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), one of the few main characters in the Marvel Universe who is a woman and does not have superpowers.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t equipped for the task at hand, though.
“For a while we had this idea that for a woman to be considered strong she had to be like a man. She had to kick butt, have superpowers, be strong physically to compete, and I don’t think that’s true,” said Deborah Ann Woll in a recent interview with We Got This Covered.
While Elektra will be introduced this year as well, Karen is the main female character to return to the show and belongs to a world that now exists alongside Jessica Jones – a world where women can triumph with their brain and courage.
“I take great pride to represent a strong woman who is winning with her brain and courage,” continued Woll, who in Season 1 showed she was savvy, independent, and more than capable to exist in a dangerous, sometimes frightening world. “It’s unrealistic to think she could punch out a dude with big muscles at 6’5”, but she could beat him by being three steps ahead of him.”
Woll did once have the ability to fly and wield some special capabilities when she was on True Blood, so she isn’t too jealous about not getting some enhancements in the Marvel world. Besides, Karen is equally heroic and powerful in her own way.
“Her strength is human. She is vulnerable, she doesn’t have superpowers or training, but she will still jump into the ocean to save a drowning person. That’s the hero,” said Woll.
Season 2 takes place months after the events of the first season conclude, with different outlooks and attitudes for our heroes, and Daredevil in his full costumed glory. It will also find Karen and Matt both grappling with morality:
“Last year she was mired in it,” explained Woll. “Things started very traumatic and ended traumatic. Six months later, it’s time to heal, but these things don’t go away. I think she feels stronger in herself. She ended last year feeling bad, a monster, but now she’s motivated to fix things.”
With the introduction of both Elektra and The Punisher, the show looks to present more intriguing characters as Daredevil moves from the black and the white to the murky, messy grey – for both Karen and Matt.
“This year is us looking at the idea of an antihero,” said Woll. Last year, Wilson Fisk was an out-and-out villain. We may have sort of loved him and he may have had altruistic motivations, but he was a bad guy and we knew we wanted to stop him.”
It won’t be the same for our two new iconic characters, though. Of Punisher, she added:
“Even though he does horrendous things we cannot believe, he’s trying to make the world a better place. He’s doing what Daredevil does, just on an extreme level. He’s also doing what Karen does.”
But they are two pieces, and Karen another, on a lengthy drama that is one show in a Marvel/Netflix world that itself is part of an expanding universe. It’s unique, and vast, surely, and a different experience as an actor, too.
“My job is to see the world through Karen’s eyes,” said Woll. “My job as an actor is to connect to her to show her strengths and weaknesses unflinchingly. That is the surface I can give to female character.”
“You never know what part you will play in that exploding universe,” she continued. “Since [Marvel] has so many different characters to play with, you just sort of hope they find your character and your work interesting and they’ll bring you in and do interesting mixes. I’m very excited for Season 2 to put Frank Castle and Karen Page sort of against each other and with each other. It’s a fascinating and unexpected situation to see interesting connections like that going forward.”
Of course, beyond Season 2 there looks to be much more to come as well.
“There is something fantastic about The Defenders universe. Our cast is diverse – culturally and faith-based. It represents the New York City I know,” concluded Woll. “But first, we’ve got Daredevil. We’ve told a really compelling story in season 2 that I’m excited about, and I don’t think we’re done just yet.”
Be sure to catch Daredevil season 2 when it premieres this Friday on Netflix!