With the second season of the highly acclaimed Netflix series, Daredevil, set to hit the streaming network on March 18th, we’re beginning to learn more about what we can expect. Just recently, while at the TCAs to promote the series, members of the cast teased the differences between the first season and the second, as well as hinted at what roles both Elektra (Elodie Yung) and Frank Castle/The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) will play in Matt’s (Charlie Cox) life. The showrunners also talked about the potential Punisher spin-off that was announced by TV Line, stating that they were excited to “introduce” this character into this world.
Still, even with the showrunners and cast opening up about season two, there’s still plenty that we’re unaware of. Such as, is Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) returning? Will we see Leland Owlsley’s son, Lee, make an appearance now that his father is gone? How big of a role will Stephen Rider‘s Blake Tower play in the second season? As it stands, it’ll most likely be some time before we get any answers to these questions with the second season still being a ways out. But that doesn’t mean that showrunners, Doug Petrie And Marco Ramirez, aren’t open to discussing Elektra and the Punisher, two fan-favorite characters finally debuting within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Question: You’re bringing on huge characters this season with The Punisher and Elektra, so how did that come about?
DOUG PETRIE: We were given those two characters and we eagerly embraced it. We asked ourselves, how do we avoid antagonist glut and icon glut in one season? What made Season 1 so successful was the slow burn and the build of exploring Wilson Fisk and Matt Murdock completely. But, Jeph [Loeb] really helped us with that. He was intrigued with the question, what is it to be a hero? In Season 1, we built the hero, but now we have these new characters coming in and testing Matt Murdock. They’re saying, “Oh, okay, you’re going to put on this suit and beat people up that you feel deserve it. We do that, too, except there’s a difference. We kill them.” They don’t feel like it’s that big of a difference, but he does.
Shortly after Daredevil was renewed for a second season, we broke down what we wanted to see in season two. One of the things we touched upon was Karen’s “dark period” which was touched upon back in season one. According to the showrunners, they remain tight-lipped on what’s in store for Karen, but don’t out-right deny that we’ll see pieces of her mysterious past come to light.
You’ve laid the groundwork for Karen Page to have a mysterious past. Will we get reveals, in that regard?
PETRIE: I’m not just being coy because I have to be, but it’s yes and no. We want to keep dangling that carrot, not because we’re big teases, but because the way we approached every story was, what does this character need now? I think Karen still has some mystery and some development. She’s come into her own in this season, in a way that builds upon Season 1. Where the voice of truth in New York goes is a free-floating idea that’s almost like a character that we had to honor.
One of the highlights of the first season of Daredevil was how they managed to give a sense of humanity to Wilson Fisk. The writers managed to make viewers sympathize for Fisk and question who was ultimately right and wrong. So naturally going into the second season, fans are curious if we can expect the same from Castle. According to the showrunners, we’ll definitely come to sympathize with him.
Will we leave this season with some sense of sympathy and understanding of Frank Castle’s actions? Is that your ultimate goal with the character?
PETRIE: Sympathy for the devil, in this case, is absolutely essential, but we can also guarantee that’s not the only thing you’ll be feeling. We’re very much looking forward to and are terrified by what we hope will come, which is a variety of responses to this guy. He’s more than one flavor, and he’s definitely more than one layer. We go deeper into what drives him, what his moral code is, what his contradictions are, what his methods are, and how people react to them, particularly Matt. But then, you’ve got Foggy going, “I do not like this man.” If you make the argument, “I don’t like this man, I don’t like his methods, and I don’t agree with what he does,” and nothing justified what he does, you can make that argument. You can make a very solid argument, but it would be an argument. We do get into that in particular episodes where we have the voices of New York saying, “He’s good,” or “He’s bad.” There’s precedence in real New York lore, with Son of Sam, Bernard Goetz and the fictional Travis Bickle. It’s this idea of New York pushing someone to the point where they’re going to take justice into their own hands and you don’t love what they’re doing, but you have more than one feeling about it. Will you have sympathy for him? We hope so. Will you feel just sympathy? We hope not.
Although Daredevil season two will mark the Punisher’s debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it isn’t the first time the character has been brought to life. The Punisher first hit the big screen back in 1989 and saw two more reboots with 2004’s The Punisher and 2008’s Punisher: War Zone. So this new version, brought to life by Bernthal, will serve as the fourth version of the character brought to life. For the showrunners, this wasn’t very worrisome. While a majority of the world is familiar with the character – to some extent – due to the films, they feel that Bernthal’s portrayal of the character will come to be the only version they know.
This is the fourth live-action version of The Punisher. Does that familiarity with the character help you?
RAMIREZ: Yeah. Because he’s being introduced on Matt’s show, it just made sense for us to introduce him even beyond the consciousness. I don’t think my mother knows who Frank Castle is. She might recognize the skull on a t-shirt from a comic book I had as a kid. It was more about how affected Matt is and finding the right time in Frank’s life to have him affect Matt. Because the audience is familiar with Matt now, hopefully by having seen the first season, they’ll feel like they’re on Team Matt. So, it’s more about how does this storm that’s coming to Hell’s Kitchen affect their guy, the guy they love, for better or worse. They might fall in love with the storm, for all we know. We hope they do, in some ways. But, it never felt like we could skip all of that because the world knows who The Punisher is. We didn’t take that for granted. You can’t assume the whole world will know who that is. We just introduced him as organically as we could to Hell’s Kitchen.
PETRIE: In that first episode where we’re so mysterious with him, if you know the character of Frank Castle, you’re just going to go fanboy bananas because we really tease it out. And if you’ve never seen him before and are unfamiliar with the canon, it’s still a pretty satisfying episode because something really powerful that is against what Matt stands for is now inexorably entering Matt’s backyard.
RAMIREZ: And it was always important to us, even if you know the character, you’ve never seen him like this. That was the big thing we wanted. There are four movies, eight hours and four actors. We’ve seen this guy. We think we know who he is, but even we learned that he’s so much more. That was exciting to us.
PETRIE: What’s great is that, in the interplay between Jon [Bernthal] and Charlie [Cox], Jon really owns this guy. We hope to make people forget what they’ve seen before, whether they’ve loved it or not.
The second season of Daredevil will hit Netflix on March 18th. Until then, you can stream the entire first season, as well as the first season of Jessica Jones, on the streaming service now. As always, for all things Daredevil be sure to follow along here.