With Spartacus wrangler Steven S. DeKnight handling writing and directing duties, Daredevil is the first part of an ambitious plan to create a set of linked miniseries – the others will follow Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Mike Colter’s Luke Cage and Iron Fist respectively – with the characters eventually uniting in Avengers-esque Defenders team up series.
Broadwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox plays the titular Man Without Fear, Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer who spends his nights fighting crime and corruption of the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.
As expected, this first look at the series doesn’t offer much in the way of plot details – save for a quick glimpse of Cox in action and a fair few explosive action sequences, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all speculate wildly about what clues are hidden within each and every frame.
Here, then, are the six things we have learned from Netflix’s Daredevil trailer.
The series will be dark
Unlike the widely-panned 2003 film version, this modern adaptation of Stan Lee’s tortured creation is not afraid to be grittier and edgier than anything Marvel has done before. Taking its lead from urban crime dramas like The French Connection and The Wire, DeKnight’s take on the series is firmly grounded in the murky world of organised crime with some gorgeous noir cinematography – all luminescent cityscapes and rain-soaked streets – and multiple shots of Matt Murdock’s battered and scarred body.
Part of the pantheon of realistic, morally ambiguous superheroes that includes the likes of Batman and Green Arrow, Daredevil’s crime-fighting activities are in painful conflict with his day-job as a morally righteous lawyer and also his devout Catholic faith, and this grim, grounded tone is a perfect fit for an antihero in turmoil.
It will be violent
An added benefit of this stripped-down tone is that there’s no need for the type of expensive, effects heavy action sequences required of The Flash or Agents of Shield, which often look like inferior products when compared to their big screen rivals.
Daredevil is not a hero who relies on magically-bestowed powers or expensive gadgetry to get the job done, rather he makes use of his own impressive prowess as both a skilled acrobat and an expert in a martial arts technique that blends American boxing with the Japanese arts of ninjutsu, judo and jujutsu.
It’s no surprise, then, that the action showcased in the trailer is of the brutal street-fight variety as we see Cox’s character throw a thug through a glass window, escape a shootout in a shipyard and pick himself up from a puddle of his own blood during the numerous explosive set pieces.
Daredevil’s Super-Senses are intact
That said, we all know Daredevil is not an entirely average human bean. In the comics, Murdock is blinded by a radioactive substance that also heightens his remaining senses to Spidey-tingling levels.
One of the biggest questions surrounded the series is how the character’s chemically-enhanced abilities would appear in front of the camera. Surprisingly, it looks like most of Daredevil’s powers will be kept intact with the trailer demonstrating how DeKnight will utilise out-of-focus camera angles and the dubbed voices of hundreds of people pleading for help to make the Cox’s hero look like a tormented God-like figure.
There will be no crimson leather costumes… for now
In keeping with DeKnight’s plan to chart Murdock’s transformation from powerless lawyer to superhero vigilante, we don’t see Daredevil don the familiar crimson leather suit that probably still gives you terrifying flashbacks to Ben Affleck’s time in the role.
Instead, The Man Without Fear is kitted-out in a simple-yet-effective black Lycra get-up with red piping along the arms. Those pining for a more traditional look for the character need not worry however, as we’ve been promised that this isn’t the only outfit Daredevil will wear during the series with his kit likely becoming more advanced as his progression into a fully-fledged superhero takes shape.
Introducing The Kingpin…
Given that he has always hidden behind his street-level thugs to build his criminal empire, it’s only fitting that the series’s principal villain, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, is only briefly glimpsed here.
The trailer naturally reveals very little about what nefarious plans Fisk has set in motion, but considering the amount of crime that is running rife through Hell’s Kitchen in the series – and Fisk’s reputation as a Machiavellian schemer in the mould of Professor Moriarty, it’s a fair bet that Daredevil’s vigilante activities are obstructing The Kingpin’s progress, putting these two dangerous foes on a potentially explosive collision course.
… And some supporting characters
Aside from Fisk and two blink-and-you’ll-miss-them glimpses of Murdock’s enigmatic mentor Stick (Scott Glenn) and legal partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), the trailer introduces two significant players in the Daredevil universe.
First up is Karen Page, played by True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll, Murdock’s long-running love interest (in the comics at least). Although she is only seen in a few short scenes, it’s clear from the trailer that Page’s origin story has been given an update as we see her crouched over a dead body covered in blood and then in police custody sometime later. This would suggest that Page turns to Murdock for legal aid, perhaps after being wrongly accused of murder, and that it is her case that drives Daredevil to take down Fisk’s crime syndicate.
We also catch sight of Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple – a role rumoured to be based in the Night Nurse character – who works the night shift at the city hospital and has a moonlighting gig patching up recently pulverised superheroes. Crucially, Temple is a supposed romantic interest of Luke Cage – who will get his own Netflix series later in the year – providing the first clear indication that this set of stories will exist in the same interconnected universe.
All 13 episodes of the first Daredevil series will be made available through Netflix on April 10. The subsequent series will arrive later in the year.
Click here to watch the trailer for Netflix’s Daredevil series.