Marvel fans have spent the last few days enraptured with Avengers: Age of Ultron, so it can be easy to forget that we were provided the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and some argue best – less than a month ago: Daredevil. In the quiet midnight of April the 10th, thirteen episodes starring the devil of Hell’s Kitchen were released for the world to bask in, and the response was massive: Daredevil proved to be a critical darling, a huge ratings success (Netflix’s most watched show), and has been rapturously embraced by fans. The success of Daredevil showed the promise of the new Marvel/Netflix collaboration, and cemented Daredevil’s reputation as a BAMF to mainstream audiences. Like all binge-centric shows, it was over before you knew it and audiences had one thing left in their mind before the new week began: Is there more?
Last January, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos confirmed that all Marvel properties under their belt were more than eligible for multiple seasons. That of course all depended on the success of their shows. It was all a matter of when and more importantly, what. Amazingly, less than two weeks after the show’s debut we got our answer to the question of when – Daredevil will be returning sometime in 2016. The what – is why we’re here. Like all fans, we hunger for more – as soon as we left the theatre having seen Age of Ultron we began speculating about what’s next for the MCU, and Season One of Daredevil offers a number enticing hints about what the future may hold. In this piece, we’ll look at some of the more iconic plot threads from the comics and speculate how they may inform Season Two.
The New Fisk Empire
Fisk is outted to the press and is now awaiting trial. Real life logic would dictate that what happened at the end of the series would in no way hold up legally in real life. Not only is the testimony of one crooked cop insufficient to take down an entire criminal empire without a shred of evidence presented (to the audience at least), his testimony was clearly coerced (by Daredevil) and would therefore be in admissible. Even accepting the somewhat fantastical legal structure of Daredevil (how do Foggy and Matt pay rent with their almost complete lack of clients?) with all of Fisk’s influence and power, it seems certain he will either be acquitted of those crimes or escape prison in no time.
The whole arc of Fisk in prison could make for some great character development not only for Wilson himself but also Vanessa. Consider the fact that she’s out there somewhere with a portion of Fisk’s wealth and could very well be plotting the escape of her husband. Her orchestrating the escape of one of New York’s most notorious criminal masterminds gives the character the shade of ambiguous villainy she’s always had in the comics. One of the more terrifying aspects of Vanessa is her sympathy towards Fisk’s end goals. I’d like to see more of that play out in Season 2.
Another possibility for both character development and advancement of the plot is that Vanessa may already be pregnant with the child of Wilson. It would give so much emotional weight to the already complex characters and tonally change on how they’re defined as villains in Season 2.
Imagine Wilson Fisk gets out of prison to be with his pregnant wife and they move to Japan – just like in the comics – to live in peace. Richard Fisk is born and the ramifications of the Hand’s involvement with the Fisk Empire catches up to them. As a consequence, the Fisks strike back with an even bigger plan than they had before.
Returning from a state of defeat to rise more powerful than before is a classic arc for The Kingpin. He’s been stabbed by his crew in Underboss, jailed at the end of The Murdock Papers, and beaten to a pulp by Daredevil when Matt declares himself the new Kingpin in King of Hell’s Kitchen. Yet he always manages to find a way to reclaim his throne as the Kingpin of New York – most recently, with the Hand serving as his personal army. This element of ruthlessness is echoed throughout the series not only by D’Onofrio but by Zurer as well and would hopefully play a part in their speculated future. It would be amazing to see these two rebuild a new crime empire in their image.
Let’s say Wilson Fisk does stay locked up in prison. While inside and planning his next move outside, he befriends a sociopath tied up in solitary confinement awaiting death row. Fisk eventually manages to get out – legally or through a prison break orchestrated by the man himself – and takes his guy with him as an enforcer for the new crime empire. The man proves himself to be the most lethal enforcer Fisk has ever had and sets his sights on Daredevil and starts calling himself Bullseye. Bullseye is one of Marvel’s most ruthless and terrifying villains, and done right would add further evidence to the argument that Marvel/Netflix may have the greatest villains in the MCU.
Karen Page Reborn
Karen Page was left in an interesting place at the conclusion of the series. She still isn’t aware of Matt Murdock’s alter ego, worries about her alluded to dark past coming out in the open, she’s a key member of the Avacados at Law – oh, and she also totally murdered someone, and chose to keep that a secret from her friends. So what’s next for Miss Page?
One obvious possibility would be to spark a romance with Matt Murdock. She is after all Murdock’s greatest love interest in the comics. The show did an amazing job of not jumping at that arc in this season, instead focusing on Karen’s flirtations with Foggy and her subtle attractions towards Matt. This allowed the relationships of these characters with each other to build more organically – and for Karen not be reduced simply to the “love interest” – but for these seeds to finally pan out in Season 2 would create an engaging dynamic for the three characters. Not only would it give Matt Murdock a definite love interest – his relationship with Claire Temple fizzled before it even began – but it would also raises the stakes and adds more emotional weight to his life as a vigilante.
Moreover, it would provide an additional rift between Matt and Foggy – even as they reconcile their conflict over Matt’s extrajudicial behaviour, Foggy becoming jealous of Matt – who he has always seem to have played sidekick to, especially with women – would be an exciting tension to see play out. One of season one’s best moments was the agonized confrontation between Foggy and Matt when Foggy learns of Matt’s secret identity. Properly done, a love triangle dynamic could add some additional strain on the Avocados at Law – particularly given that Foggy knows Matt is Daredevil and Karen presumably does not. It’s also possible that Daredevil would embrace the familiar superhero trope where Karen falls for Daredevil rather than Matt. While the “girlfriend role” is often a problematic and thin one in superhero stories, the show’s deft handling of Karen’s character – far superior to her depiction in the comics – suggest that Karen would be an active character in this dynamic, rather than simply a passive object of desire.
It was hinted a couple of times in the show that our Karen Page may have already gone through her infamous dark period in the past. It’s a brilliant twist to one of comicdom’s most tragic characters – while the comics often focused on just how wretched Karen’s life is, the show chooses instead to have that as backstory, and show us instead a Karen who is capable and strong. Season 2 could see that alleged dark past catch up to her in ways that would shake things up for the dynamic Avocados at Law, possibly setting up the groundwork for an MCU take on Born Again. Given how redeemed and empowered our Karen is, it would refreshing see her battle her own demons and come out triumphant.
Daredevil’s secret identity
With the secret identity trope finally introduced in the MCU, it would make a great deal of sense for them to expand on this fabled concept for Season 2 particularly considering Matt Murdock has arguably the biggest secret identity fuck ups of any comic book character.
In the Silver Age, Foggy and Karen suspect Matt to be Daredevil which in turn forces Matt to come up with the hilarious solution of fooling them into thinking that Daredevil is Matt’s twin brother Mike (alluded to when Matt initially tells Claire Temple his name is “Mike”). In what is considered the greatest Daredevil story – Born Again – Karen has hit rock bottom with her drug addiction and sells out Daredevil’s identity for a shot of heroin. Kingpin learns this information and sets about systemically destroying Matt’s life, eventually driving him insane. A huge chunk of the Bendis/Maleev run revolved around the story Out in which Daredevil’s identity is leaked out to the media, all thanks to a tip to the FBI by one of Fisk’s men. In both cases, the revelation of his identity causes huge issues for both Matt’s superhero and personal lives, and it seems a plot element ripe for mining conflict in the series.
The series concludes with a handful of characters knowing who Matt Murdock really is; Foggy, Claire, Santino, Father Lantom and Stick. But let’s face it, with the exception of Stick none of these characters are currently antagonistic to Matt Murdock. I’m not exactly calling out Stick as a villain, but the old man is as ruthless as they come and may stop at nothing to win his war, even if it meant selling out the very child he groomed for it.
If one of those allies had to be the leak, Foggy would be the most interesting option. It’s a radical shift from the comics, but not difficult to image how it could play out on the show: events transpire that lead to shit going down at their firm, and the Avocados at Law are once again strained. Foggy suffers the most and falls into a downward spiral while Matt finally finds solace with Karen. An embittered Foggy then decides to sell out his friend, or perhaps betrays Matt unconsciously in a fit of drunkenness. It’s fucked up, risky and flips everything about their relationship on its head – and is an exciting subversion of Karen being Matt’s downfall – but it’s one of those things Marvel may be brave enough to do.
Melvin Potter becomes the Gladiator
Melvin Potter in Daredevil has to be one of the greatest fan services Marvel has ever done in a live-action adaptation. Everyone screamed “Holy shit!! Melvin just threw a sawblade at Daredevil!” as it happened. Having Potter give Murdock the suit tailored to how the story was presented was a stroke of genius (and you’re goddam right that pun was intented). Potter’s depiction was incredibly faithful to the comic book origins – and superbly acted by Matt Gerald – but his presence on the show was minimal, leaving many fans clamouring for more. Luckily, there’s much more to Melvin Potter than what we got to see and that seems likely to feature in season 2.
As comics fans know, Melvin Potter is a disturbed man with a serious case of multiple personality disorder. Beneath the kind and gentle Melvin Potter lurks the violent persona of The Gladiator, who believes himself to be a literal roman gladiator who must prove his worth in combat. The series also alludes to Betty, who is Melvin’s kind psychiatrist that helps him keep his rage and alter-ego in check.
One of the best Gladiator stories is in the Bendis/Maleev run, in an arc called Golden Age. It involved an aging ex-kingpin coming back to Hell’s Kitchen to exact revenge on Matt Murdock. He blackmails Melvin Potter into donning his Gladiator suit by threatening to murder Potter’s daughter if he doesn’t bring him Daredevil. It’s fairly simple and it could very well be done in the MCU. When word gets out that Potter is responsible for Daredevil’s equipment, he’s screwed. Alternately, it could well be Fisk who learns of Melvin’s work with Daredevil, and Fisk who sets in motion the repercussions that punish Melvin and cause him to regress into his Gladiator persona. Remember it was Melvin’s fear that Fisk would hurt Betty that made him so afraid of crossing Fisk in the first place. Not only would threatening Betty be a perfect way for Fisk to unleash the Gladiator persona, it would be a key moment for Matt’s character as well, unable to protect those he has sworn he would keep safe.
The Hand v. the Chaste: Dawn of Ninjas
My favorite episode of the entire series is episode 7, “Stick”. That’s the episode where we’re given a glimpse on what exactly lurks behind the grounded facade of the lore. The mysticism and ninja aspect of the Daredevil mythology is something the MCU hasn’t seen and “Stick” brilliantly sets up the groundwork.
That sting at the end of the episode was originally intended by DeKnight to be the very last scene of the series in episode 13 but the Netflix format of automatically playing the next show prevented them from doing it. The idea clearly indicates the creative direction the team is bent on taking for Season 2 and holy fuck is it exciting. It promised one thing: the war between the Chaste and the Hand is coming and Matt Murdock may be very well in the middle of all of it.
The Hand and Chaste are two sides of the same coin, opposing ninja clans locked in a centuries long struggle. The Hand was always a force for greed and evil while the Chaste sought to eliminate this evil. Though when first introduced by Frank Miller Chaste is successful in defeating The Hand, killing their most fearsome assassin known as Kirgi, The Hand eventually returns, defeating Chaste and becoming one of the deadliest crime organizations in the Marvel Universe.
In the series, we are introduced to a mysterious Hand weapon known as Black Sky, later to be revealed as a child. It is not referred to a singular entity but a series of weapons being transported to New York. There are no current ties to Black Sky in the comics so we could only guess its true nature. An Inhuman gifted child perhaps or something more rooted in the Hand mysticism like the Snakeroot clan (an even darker off shoot of The Hand)? Regardless of what Black Sky may be, the fact that Stick is hellbent on killing that child indicates the danger it poses. Nobu and his friends are preparing for something big, obsessed with securing that one block in Hell’s Kitchen. Could they be building their own Shadowland in Hell’s Kitchen?
For the uninitiated, Shadowland in the comics was a huge event involving all the street heroes of New York, named after the Hand temple built by Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil at this point had joined the Hand in an attempt to use it for justice and good. While the comic itself is far from great, the notion that Daredevil would finally join the Hand after years of battling it is nothing short of profound.
Minus the whole occult demonic possession aspect of the story, the MCU take on Shadowland could see the Hand finally securing a base of operations in the middle of New York with the Chaste doing everything they can to prevent it. This could be the war Stick is talking about and the “gates opening” may be about the block Nobu is securing (hopefully it doesn’t mean gates of hell and literal demonic possession – it’s one of the few true low points in the past fifteen years of Daredevil comics).
As awesome as this ninja stuff is, the best part really of incorporating all these elements is that it may finally introduce the most popular female character in Daredevil, Elektra. You can’t have ninjas in Daredevil without his crazy sai-wielding ex girlfriend. We already heard about her in what is maybe the most important easter egg on the show – when Foggy refers to Matt’s Greek ex-girlfriend – and I’ll be damned if we don’t see her in Season 2.
The possibilities behind Elektra’s first official appearance in the MCU are endless. With the Hand being already active in the MCU, Elektra could be introduced as a Hand assassin sent to fight the Chaste, heck maybe even as a leader of the Hand! How about as a lost vigilante looking for answers in the arms of an ex-lover? Seeing Matt Murdock deal with a deadly ex-girlfriend would be great to see on screen.
Having Elektra and all those ninja buddies of Matt Murdock present in the MCU would be the perfect time to introduce another one of Daredevil’s ninja-esque ally-frenemies, Echo. Maya Lopez in the comics, is an adopted daughter of sorts of Wilson Fisk who was duped into thinking that Daredevil was responsible for the murder of her father. A far cry from the MCU take on Fisk but that origin could easily be rewritten. There’s a war coming and she could be introduced as the Chaste’s best kept secret. The Hand has Elektra while the Chaste has Echo. She also happens to be deaf with enhanced visual abilities which provide an interesting parallel with Matt Murdock.
The New Kingpins of New York
With the arrest of Wilson Fisk at the end of the series, it’s logical to assume that the crime empire of New York is in disarray considering its infrastructure. Fisk’s co-conspirators are gone and the most lucrative spot in the world of crime is up for grabs. Season 2 would be a perfect avenue to fill that role.
Showing some more love for the Bendis/Maleev run, there’s are two amazing stories involving the Owl & the Yakuza. The first one is basically the Owl stepping up as the new Kingpin of Crime after Fisk’s loses that spot. He starts a new drug trade by introducing something called the Mutant Growth Hormone or MGH, which basically is a serum containing DNA strains from powered people. This gives the user an intense high along with temporary superhuman abilities. You might think, “Isn’t the Owl dead?” Yes but throughout the series, Owlsley casually mentions his son Lee. DeKnight has stated openly that this son of his may very well take that spot in the future. It would be awesome to see a Wolverine-haired, visceral version of the Owl in the MCU.
The second story involving the Yakuza takes place around the same time period. Daredevil declares himself the kingpin and protector of Hell’s Kitchen. The Yakuza then come in to steal the show by killing Daredevil to claim that top spot. What ensues is hands down one of Daredevil’s greatest fight scenes in comics. Whether or not the yakuza became involved, the King of Hell’s kitchen arc explores a theme expanded upon in Shadowland – Matt, trying to do the right there, by exercising supreme power. Rather than an actual demonic possession, a Shadowland story could draw upon this as inspiration, with it being only Matt’s inner demons that possess him and drive him to evil.
I just want Urich back and him to be all over the MCU. Make him an infinity stone. Make him an Inhuman. Turn him into Adam Warlock just like how everyone wanted Coulson to be Vision. Make him go to TAHITI.
The stakes are undoubtedly higher in Season 2. The new showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez have some big shoes to fill. Not only are all eyes on them but the entire burden of fan expectation rests on their shoulders. Horns up to those new showrunners for heading on this big undertaking.
In conclusion, these are just a handful of arcs from the books that bear resemblance to the blueprint of Season 2. The mythology is ripe for the taking and we may even get the most unexpected of scenarios (Daredevil and Black Widow anyone?). The show is still a year away and I’m already losing my mind with excitement just thinking of all these possibilities.