Heading into the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil, new producers Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez know they are working with an impressive roster of superheroes.
Under producer Steven DeKnight (who has moved on to the Transformers franchise), Daredevil’s much-lauded first season worked at a slow and steady pace as it built toward the transformation of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) into the title hero.
Now, as Season 2 of the Marvel/Netflix series kicks off, Daredevil has become comfortable in his role as his city’s nightly masked guardian, as well as with the reality that he’s not the only one running on the rooftops and making his own rules.
Joining Daredevil this season are old flame/martial-arts expert Elektra (Elodie Yung) and the heavily armed Frank Castle, aka the Punisher (Jon Bernthal). In Marvel’s larger world, Elektra and the Punisher have both starred in movies that were less than successful – which explains why the rights for their use reverted to Marvel.
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“This season, from Day 1, we know we have Matt, we have Elektra and we have Frank Castle, so what story does this want to be?” Ramirez said. “So it wasn’t like we actively walked away from the other version of Season 1. It just felt like: What (story) do these characters want to tell?”
Petrie said adding two characters to the mix wouldn’t be possible if this were a superhero movie. This only works, he said, because the series format gives them a dozen hours of storytelling to work within.
While crafting Daredevil’s second season, the producers said they had to constantly remind themselves that this was Daredevil’s story. Elektra and the Punisher are so fun to dramatize that they can overtake an episode.
“We had to discipline ourselves to not let the story become the Elektra or the (Punisher) story,” Ramirez said. “We had to constantly remind ourselves and the writers’ room that this is the Matt Murdock show. All avenues need to lead to Matt Murdock.”
Petrie and Ramirez call themselves longtime comic-book fans, and Petrie said having three classic Marvel characters could have been a complication if the producers had allowed their fandom to take over their decision-making process.
“You’ve got three incredibly powerful, rich, motivated, complicated human beings (in these three characters) who are acting out on this very dramatic New York backdrop, operatic stage,” Petrie said. “And in terms of being a straight-up nerd ... you want to see that. And I think that’s actually a pitfall that storytelling sometimes falls into. And we have to be aware of giving the audience what they want to see from these characters, what we want to see from these characters and yet always, how can we torture our Catholic Matt today, and what can he learn from the world coming to him.”
And then there’s the costuming. One major decision was to upgrade Daredevil’s suit. Fans will notice that the look of Murdock’s suit, especially the mask, is more aligned with the look in the comic books. Yes, it’s still a mix of black and red, but the mask – particuarly with the red lenses that hide Daredevil’s eyes – is a nice nod to the comics.
In Season 2’s first episode, Daredevil almost looks as if he is having fun. He even flashes a smile on his masked face. This is a feeling that Petrie and Ramirez were determined for Daredevil to have ... for about five seconds.
“We started the season with Matt Murdock feeling pretty good about himself and feeling pretty good about his role as the guardian of Hell’s Kitchen,” Petrie said. “We just thought: We can’t let him be that happy for that long, so we just hit him between the eyes with a sledgehammer as soon as we could ... and that felt right.”
Ramirez added with a laugh: “I wouldn’t watch the show if he was happy all the time.”
‘Daredevil,’ Season 2, is available for streaming on Netflix.