In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “Daredevil” season one showrunner Steven DeKnight has given loads of new insights into the Netflix smash. If you haven’t watched the full 13-episode season yet, you may want to turn back now, as the topics DeKnight touches on should be considered spoilers.
DeKnight spoke giving Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio’s respective characters of Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk their comic book names. He said calling Fisk Kingpin would have ruined the grounded nature of the show, but said that doesn’t mean the name won’t come eventually. “I think there is a, dare I say, critical mass where things get a little bit silly,” he said. “Also there was no real natural way to get to Kingpin. It felt a little off. There is a point down the line to get there.”
For Daredevil, there was a plan to have Vondie Curtis-Hall’s Ben Urich dub the superhero, but his death didn’t line up with when Murdock donned the final suit. “We talked about, do we do one of the versions in the comics where when he was a kid people used to taunt him with the name Daredevil, but that didn’t quite feel like our world,” he added. He also addressed the lack of a symbol on the suit. “I also got asked a lot of questions about why he doesn’t have a ‘DD’ on his chest, but he got the suit before he got the name. We talked a lot about DD on the suit, which is one of the more problematic emblems in superhero-dom. It’s a little wonky.”
As for why they only showed Daredevil’s heightened senses once, he said they wanted to avoid taking viewers out of the “crime drama feel.” “We had budgeted in seeing it a few more times and we actually had the effect done at least twice more throughout the season, but when we cut it together we felt it took us out of it. We had it once so you know what it is.” The cut parts were in episode 12 when Matt realizes that Madame Gao’s workers are blind, and at the end of the season during Matt and Karen Page’s final moments. “There’s a push in on Karen as she reacts and originally we had planned on doing it there, but when we put the effect in we were losing all the nuances of her expressions and what was going on with her thought process.”
There was also meant to be two shots of the effect during episode seven, but they simply hadn’t finished it in time. “You were going to see how young Matt saw Stick when he throws Matt the keys, and his senses were all over the place,” revealed DeKnight. “Then later when he catches the fighting sticks, his senses had been refined.”
DeKnight said we can expect to learn more of Karen Page’s shady past in the next season, calling her “a woman with secrets.” “There’s something that happened in Karen’s past – we allude to it, Ben alludes to it – and when she grabs the gun she says, ‘You think this is the first time I’ve ever shot somebody?’… The fact that she shot [Wesley] once, you can explain that as self-defense; but then she pretty much unloaded the gun into him. That crosses a bit of a line.”
He also addressed some of the more mysterious characters in the series, including Black Sky and the unnamed man seen talking to Stick in episode seven. He confirmed the man is Stone from Frank Miller’s “Man Without Fear” run. “It fits into something bigger. There is a mention of Black Sky in another episode that isn’t episode seven. If fans look closely at episode one, you will find a reference to Black Sky. It’s a visual reference to Black Sky and that’s important to Nobu and his people.” He also said Stone’s reference to doors opening ties “into a bigger picture,” but wouldn’t reveal whether that referred to Iron Fist and K’un-Lun.
He was less forthcoming regarding Madame Gao. Asked about Gao’s impressive hit on Daredevil, DeKnight said, “There’s obviously something going on there, as well as with the heroin she’s selling, stamped with the symbol of the Steel Serpent. Could that be another tie-in to Iron Fist? Time will tell. There is obviously more to her than meets the eye. I got a message from Ed Brubaker who asked, ‘Is Madame Gao Crane Mother?’ I can’t even tell you!”
DeKnight also talked about Urich’s unexpected death, saying the move was decided before he’d even signed on. “They really wanted to show that toward the end of the season because we knew we’d get some sympathy for Fisk, to have him do something truly terrible that would propel Matt into that final endgame in the confrontation with Fisk. And to let the audience know that the gloves were off: just because he was a beloved character in the comics, doesn’t mean he’s safe.”
Finally, DeKnight, who due to scheduling issues will be replaced by Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez for season two, said he wouldn’t rule out returning for a possible season three or other Marvel franchise. “Scheduling permitting, anything is possible. My hope is that Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez hit it out of the park and continue on with the show… I would never intrude on somebody else who is having a good run. God knows there are plenty of Marvel characters and plenty of things going on in this universe. My biggest thing is that I would love in some form or fashion to return to the Marvel universe, whether in television or a feature. I love the people at Marvel and grew up reading the characters and it was a real dream come true getting to play with the toys. And I would really love to play with more toys down the line when my schedule opens up.”
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