“Daredevil” made its New York Comic Con debut Saturday, and perhaps fittingly for a show about a man who practices law by day and vigilante justice at night, the new Netflix series appears set to offer darker, more morally ambiguous television than some other superhero-inspired TV.
Indeed, when “Daredevil” arrives in May, the producers and actors who turned out for the NYCC panel emphasized that the show will paint in murky corners.
“What I love about this show is the moral gray area that’s inherent to Daredevil,” said showrunner Steven S. DeKnight. “He’s one day away from becoming Frank Castle instead of Matt Murdock,” he added to laughter.
Said Charlie Cox, who plays the blind superhero, a character celebrating his 50th anniversary this year: “We’re meeting a man who believes in law and justice, and at night he is taking law into his own hands. And all the time in-between is spent battling with that concept.”
New clips from the series that screened during the NYCC panel illustrated some of that conflict. In one, Murdock turns up wounded on the couch of Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple, each side reluctant to reveal much to the other; in a stylized fight sequence, the lead character can be seen taking on shadowy villains, in one moment flashing back to a tortured childhood moment with his father.
In a more melancholy scene, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), out of his Kingpin guise as he stands in front of a piece of artwork, is asked by love interest Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) how the art makes him feel. “It makes me feel alone,” he said.
(Of his character, who runs the Hell’s Kitchen New York neighborhood where the series is set, D’Onofrio said, “He’s child and he’s a monster.”)
The panel also confirmed the casting of several new actors, including Zurer, Vondie Curtis Hall as Ben Urich, Bob Gunton as Leland Owlsley and Toby Leonard Moore as Wesley, and made mention that Murdoch’s Daredevil costume was inspired by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.’s “Daredevil: Man Without Fear” series.
“Daredevil” is the first of four planned Marvel series Netflix has signed on for, culminating in a “Defenders” miniseries.
Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb, moderating the panel, took pains to note that despite all the online rumors, lead roles on the miniseries have yet to be cast.
Cox said Netflix and its binge-viewing model, with all the episodes of a season released simultaneously, offered certain creative advantages.
“Because there isn’t a week in between [episodes], you can spend less time reminding people what happened last week,” he said.
The need for artificial cliffhangers, he added, was mitigated too: “OK, what happened? You click a button and find out,” Cox quipped.
Given Marvel’s shared universe model, in which all of its films and television series are designed to take place within one expanded universe, some fans wondered whether characters from, say, Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” could turn up on “Daredevil” at any point.
Loeb said, “Everything is connected,” and, after a pause, struck a coy note, “That’s a Level 7 question,” he said.
— Steven Zeitchik | @LATHeroComplex
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