The Man Without Fear...
In April, Daredevil is returning to screens in a gritty new Marvel TV series. Ben Affleck's out (as are his movie co-stars Colin Farrell and Jennifer Garner), and Charlie Cox is in as the new Man Without Fear.
With Marvel being predictably secretive about its show, though, we've hit the criminal underworld (or, uh, the dark avenues of the Internet) to find out everything we know about Daredevil's big comeback...
Drew Goddard created it. Sort of.
In October 2013, Marvel announced Daredevil would be heading up a quartet of new superhero TV shows, and it hired Cabin In The Woods director Drew Goddard to write and direct the first episode.
Youre talking to a guy who had quotes from Daredevil painted on his wall while growing up, Goddard told Collider in a 2012 interview, revealing just how much of a Daredevil super-fan he was. Even when I was 18, I still had the blood red door with the, I have shown him that a man without hope is a man without fear."
Seems like a perfect fit, right?
Goddard left. Steve DeKnight stepped in.
Having written the first two episodes of the show, Goddard made the shock announcement in May 2014 that he was departing the project. He went to work on the next Spider-Man movie instead, and remains attached as Marvel plans its own big-screen Spidey outing (having borrowed the character from Sony Pictures, who own the Spider-Man movie rights).
Stepping into his showrunner shoes was Steven S. DeKnight, best known for penning some of the best episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel before overseeing Spartacus.
Netflix are showing it from 10 April 2015
In November 2013, Marvel and Disney announced that Netflix had acquired the broadcast rights to the Daredevil series, later revealing that the whole 13-episode first series will go live on the streaming service from 10 April 2015.
According to DeKnight, it's the perfect home for Daredevil. Netflix has been fantastic. They are phenomenally supportive of the creatives, he told Paste magazine in 2014.
It'll lead up to The Defenders
Daredevil's just one piece in Marvel TV's plan, though. The studio intends to create four Netflix superhero shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage that will culminate in the characters joining forces in mini-series The Defenders.
While Jessica Jones is currently shooting (with Krysten Ritter in the title role), Daredevil will be the first to air. There's no release date for the other shows, or The Defenders, and even DeKnight admits he isn't entirely sure how the Defenders game will eventually play out.
How that all fits together, and whether or not there will be a second season of this show or if it will fold into the others are question nobody really has answers to yet, he says.
It's set after Avengers Assemble
One of the great things about Daredevil being back in the Marvel fold is that he'll officially be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), even though his TV adventures won't be shown on cinema screens.
That means the show will deal with the fall-out of Avengers Assemble, taking place in the corner of New York (and Daredevil's neighbourhood) known as Hell's Kitchen. The Avengers are here to save the universe and Daredevil is here to save the neighbourhood, Marvel TV exec Jeph Loeb told Entertainment Weekly.
While we all rub our hands together about all that crossover potential, DeKnight was asked via Twitter last year if his show would feature any Easter Eggs. Oh yes, he replied. Some obvious. Some very obscure.
It's really, really, really dark
With this version of Daredevil, we wanted it to be grounded, gritty, as realistic as we could portray, DeKnight told Paste mag. That naturally fits in with the Daredevil character.
Before that, at Comic-Con in 2014, he told audiences it's a show with no heroes or villains. Its just people making different choices, he mused. And what I love about this show is the moral grey area that is inherent in Daredevil. Hes a lawyer by day and vigilante by night. Those two things do not mesh and its a constant struggle for Matt Murdock and often times, he crosses the line.
The showrunner adds: How far will he go? Hes one bad day away from becoming Frank Castle instead of Matt Murdock.
Charlie Cox is Matt Murdock
Certain genre fans will recognise the name Charlie Cox as belonging to the guy who played an unlikely hero in 2007 fantasy Stardust though it's been a while since then, so you're forgiven if you're scratching your head.
The Brit star is a little older and a little wiser 14 years on, and it's fair to say he won't be playing the same kind of apple-pie charmer you remember him being in Stardust.
Ive read comics after comics after comics Ive never read so many comics in my life, and were finding moments from the comics to reference in the show, Cox told Heat Vision. Were trying to make a show thats new and much, much darker than anything Ive ever seen Marvel do before.
But he won't wear the iconic suit for a while
That means we should expect a fair few episodes in which Murdock dons the black suit glimpsed in early promo material. That's okay, though the look's inspired by Frank Miller's gritty Man Without Fear comic run. Talking of...
The Man Without Fear comic is a big influence
And from what we know about the show, DeKnight and co are sticking to that comic-book formula. With the show's entire first season acting as an origins tale for Murdock, there'll be some familiar faces and a Miller-esque delve into the criminal underbelly of Hell's Kitchen. Which means...
The filmic influences might surprise you
We really wanted to take our cue from [films like] The French Connection, Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver, and make it very, very grounded, very gritty, very real, Loeb told Entertainment Weekly of the show.
We always say we would rather lean toward The Wire than whats considered a classic superhero television show. Expect this to be seriously, seriously dark.
Foggy and Karen are in it
They'll be played by Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) respectively. And while it remains to be seen just which story arcs from the comics will be incorporated into their TV counterparts, we can probably count on Foggy and Karen to bring some serious heart and weighty real-life drama to the show.
Kingping's the main villain
Fisk really felt like the right yin to the yang for Matt, and for what we wanted to do this season, Loeb says.
As for Vincent D'Onofrio, who plays Kingpin, he can't help enthusing about the show. The series just came out so good, the actor says. Its like a 13-hour film. Emotionally, it goes places that I dont think anybody is going to expect.
He adds: Im very proud of it. It was unexpected, and I didnt know I was going to have the time I had on it, but I ended up having one of the best experiences Ive had.
Bullseye won't be in it... for now
But that doesn't mean they won't crop up should the show be given a second season.
I wouldnt say theres no plans to include [Bullseye] in the series, Loeb teases. Its not not to say he wouldnt be in the series at some point. But I think if you try to jam in too many characters, it just becomes a mess.
Scott Glenn is Stick
All it took for me was to read the script of this one episode that Im in Episode 7 and I just totally loved the character, Glenn says. It was the first time Id ever played a blind person, let alone a blind person who was super physically capable.
Rosario Dawson could link Daredevil and Luke Cage
In the show, she plays a nurse who helps Murdock when he gets into something of a scrape. The name of her character? Claire Temple who, in the comics, just so happens to be the girlfriend of one Luke Cage.
Though it's not been confirmed whether or not Dawson will appear in Netflix's Luke Cage show, it definitely seems like the pieces are being put into place for a crossover.
There might be a season two...
It's clear that Marvel and Netflix are attempting something bold (and beautiful) with this small-screen iteration of real-life superheroes. And while Netflix has so far only committed to a single season for each of the four main characters, fans are hopeful we'll get more if they are positively received.
So the big question on everybody's lips is: will we get a Daredevil season two?
"I have absolutely no idea," DeKnight told Collider recently. "No matter what show you do, theres always a possibility of a second season. Nothings been talked about, nothings been decided. If I had my druthers, would we do a second season? Sure, I think it would warrant it.
"In regards to The Defenders and how that works, I think it would work pretty much like the movies. You could do season one of Daredevil, you do season two, and depending on where the other shows fall, you might get second season of Jessica Jones Theres really no way of telling, its really a grand experiment."
We can't wait...
Read more about Daredevil in the latest issue of SFX magazine!