If you needed another reason to love Marvel Studios–besides their awesome movies–it’s probably because they’re best at translating their characters to the screen, which is why when I heard that they were preparing to launch four new series exclusively for Netflix a few months ago, I was so happy that you’d think that I was somehow profiting from it.
The characters that they are using, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist (which my fingers keep typing as ‘Iron Fish’) and Jessica Jones. And like in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, where the adventures of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk culminated in The Avengers, the characters on Netflix will meet and fight a common foe in The Defenders.
Who Is Daredevil?
Daredevil was created in 1964 by Stan Lee, Bill Everett and Jack Kirby and was introduced in Daredevil#1. The character came by his powers when, as a child in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. He was splashed by some radioactive substance that fell from a truck that was transporting it. He lost his sight, but gained a radar sense that acted similar to a bat’s sonar.
His father, Jack Murdock, refused to throw a fight, and was killed by mobsters. To avenge him, he created an alter ego called Daredevil, who’s known as The Man Without Fear.
It’s probably not an accident that Daredevil is in many ways very similar to Spider-Man. Stan Lee had a hand in both characters, though this time he worked with Steve Ditko. Both characters were raised by single parents–Matt Murdock by his father, while Peter Parker was brought up by his Aunt May after her husband, and his uncle, was killed. Parker was bit by a radioactive spider, and like most radioactive substances in comics, gave him powers and abilities similar to the spider that bit him.
When he let’s a thief escape, the very same thief ends up killing his Uncle Ben. Parker blamed himself for what happened, and dedicated his life to righting wrongs as Spider-Man.
Matt Murdoch was splashed in the eyes by a radioactive substance that spilled from a truck that was transporting it. He didn’t get the proportional strength of a truck, though he did gain a radar sense, similar to the sonar bats use (and bats see quite well, by the way. Their navigational technique, known as echolocation helps then to catch prey in the dark environs, or at night, that most bats prefer).
It will be interesting to see is how the makers of Daredevil will explain Daredevil’s athletic abilities, which in the comics seem on par with Spider-Man, despite being nothing more than a very athletic person with a radar sense.
Though Daredevil is similar to Spider-Man in other ways, such as some of their villains.
A superhero is often only as good as the villains that they fight, and while Spider-Man has an awesome rogue’s gallery, while Daredevil has a few that are sort of lame, like Stilt-Man and The Owl, and others that are pretty cool, like Gladiator, Mr. Fear or Bullseye.
Though the villains they share are particularly awesome, such as arguably his greatest enemy. Wilson Fisk, otherwise known as the Kingpin of Crime, or just the Kingpin.
As you can tell from the picture, he’s a bit on the portly side, though don’t let his size fool you because under that fat he’s all muscle and has fought both Daredevil and Spider-Man to a standstill at various times.
But what’s most interesting about the character is that he’s more of a puppeteer than a active participant in the criminal empire he oversees. More often than not, he employs others, such as super-powered operatives, to do the dirty work for him.
This makes him particularly difficult to catch because he’s always a few people removed from any of the crimes he instigates.
The 2012 Movie
Daredevil will premiere on Netflix in 2015, though it will not be the first time that the character as appeared in places other than comic books. He’s turned up in various Marvel cartoons, though most people probably don’t know that he has been on television before.
In 1989 he appeared in The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk, played by Rex Smith in a black costume that looked very little like the character in the comics.
Daredevil was licensed to 20th Century Fox, and in 2003 they released a movie based on him. Ben Affleck played Matt Murdoch/Daredevil and Colin Farrell was the assassin known as Bullseye. The Kingpin was played by Michael Duncan Clarke, who died in September of 2012. It did well enough, earning over $179 million on a $79 million dollar, that Fox planned to reboot it.
Unfortunately they were unable to do so in a timely fashion when the director who was chosen to direct, David Slade, left to do NBC’s Hannibal. Though Marvel Studios were willing to grant Fox an extension of their license if they would allow Marvel Studios the use of both Galactus and the Silver Surfer (both licensed to 20th Century Fox as part of the Fantastic Four franchise). Fox refused, probably because they’re working on a new Fantastic Four movie, with Josh Trank directing.
The Netflix Series
According to the Interwebs, the new series is being helmed by Steven DeKnight, who took the job when the original screen runner, Drew Goddard, left to write and direct a movie based on The Sinister Six, an offshoot The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Goddard is now listed as an executive producer of Daredevil).
DeKnight has worked on shows like Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Spartacus, so superhero-based acton should be right up his alley. A few weeks ago Charlie Cox was cast as Matt Murdoch/Daredevil, though I am more impressed by who was chosen to play Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin.
That person is Vincent D’Onofrio, who has the acting chops to really bring Kingpin to life, as anyone can tell you who’s seen him in Law & Order: Criminal Intent or in movies like Full Metal Jacket, The Cell, Men In Black or many, many others.
It’s still early days yet, but I am feeling really good about where Daredevil appears to be going.