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Next year, Marvel’s batch of Netflix programming focusing on the street-level heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will kick off with Daredevil in May. Starring Boardwalk Empire actor Charlie Cox, the series will follow Matt Murdock both at his day job as a lawyer and at night when he suits up as Daredevil to fight crime in Hell’s Kitchen. The series has been described as a “gritty” crime story that will be much "darker" than anything Marvel Studios has released so far.
Cox recently spoke out to explain how his darkness will especially factor into the show's protagonist. Apparently, Murdock will find it increasingly difficult to resist his nighttime activities.
“The concept that he can't stop. He's going out and he's taking the law into his own hands, and he doesn't know if he can stop.”
Although he was introduced as a lighter character in 1964, Daredevil stories have been primarily rooted in darkness and tragedy since The Dark Knight Returns writer Frank Miller started writing him in the early 1980s. Although Mark Waid’s current run on the series has returned the character to his swashbuckling origins, it sounds like the Netflix series will primarily stick with the gritty tone that has become associated with the Man Without Fear. Fortunately, Cox has prepared well for the role, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he read more comics than he’d ever read in his entire life, and that the show is “finding moments from the comics to reference in the show.” So even though the series will have a radically different tone than most of the MCU, it’s staying true to the source material.
Secret identities aren’t really a thing in the MCU, so exploring a dual identity is also new ground for Marvel to tread. Despite his career as a legal crusader, the main reason Matt became Daredevil was so that he could take matters into his own hands when the law doesn't fix injustice. This primarily just means stopping bad guys with his martial arts and enhanced senses, but some writers have even shown him killing criminals. That contradictory element of Matt breaking the law to enforce it is the reason he’s an appealing character to so many fans. Daredevil will face villains like The Kingpin (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) and The Owl (played by Bob Gunton), ruthless criminals who do whatever it takes to seize more power. The question is how far Matt will have to lower himself to defeat them.
Regardless, although the MCU has been an entertaining romp, the company has yet to delve into truly dark stories, so Daredevil is a good opportunity for the company to try something new. Besides, since it’s on Netflix, no need to worry about any kids accidentally stumbling upon a scene where Daredevil pummels a guy in the jaw and knocks out most of his teeth.