The fall TV season is about to get under way in just a few short weeks, but, for many Marvel fans, the show they're eagerly awaiting won't debut until next year. Marvel and Netflix joined forces to produce Marvel's Daredevil, the first of four shows along with Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage that will culminate with the mini-series The Defenders.
Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight is serving as the showrunner and executive producer on Marvel's Daredevil, revealing in a new interview that the show will be as grounded, gritty and realistic as possible.
"With this version of Daredevil, we wanted it to be grounded, gritty, as realistic as we could portray. That naturally fits in with the Daredevil character. Matt Murdock, on a regular basis, would get the shit beat out of him. That's one thing that makes him a great character. He's not super strong. He's not invulnerable. In every aspect, he's a man that's just pushed himself to the limits, he just has senses that are better than a normal humans. He is human. The other thing that really drew me to this character is that he's one of the most morally grey of the heroes."
When asked to elaborate on the "morally grey" nature of Matt Murdock, Steven S. DeKnight reveals one of his favorite moments from the Marvel Comics, which came during Frank Miller's run, while claiming that Murdock's morality is very close to another Marvel character.
"He's a lawyer by day, and he's taken this oath. But every night he breaks that oath, and goes out and does very violent things. The image that always stuck in my mind was the Frank Miller Elektra run where he's holding Bullseye over the street, and he lets Bullseye go because he doesn't want Bullseye to ever kill anyone again. When I read that originally, when I was young, I'd never seen anything like that in comics. Superman scoops up the villain and puts them in jail. This time the hero didn't do that. It was a morally grey ground that I found absolutely fascinating. There are two sides to this character. He's literally one bad day away from becoming the The Punisher! Frank Castle went just a little bit further than he did. Daredevil has no qualms about beating the hell out of somebody. He's not going to tie them up with his webs! He'll come close to killing somebody. And it's that fine edge - Why doesn't he go all the way? I really liked the flawed heroes, the human heroes."
The showrunner also talked about the casting process, and how happy he is with who they have on the show.
"Whenever you start casting to get a show off the ground, it's so nerve-wracking, it's akin to a writer just looking at a blank piece of paper before you start. There a thousand ways to go, and you're sure that 999 are the wrong way. You just have to hope you find the right way. Luckily our cast came together, and I couldn't have been happier. No one will ever perfectly fit what's in your head. For me, the more important thing is not whether or not they look the part, but if they feel the part."
He also talked about not getting in the way of the director on the set, and how he won't give specific notes to the actors themselves.
"When I was on set as the writer, I was always glued to the director, making sure every little detail was how I thought it should be. There's nothing better for a writer, than to direct to give you a different perspective on the process. Now, I have a much more relaxed attitude. I don't sweat the small stuff. One of the most important things about being on set if you're not the director, is to know that-yes you're there to make sure the vision of the show is what you want it to be-but you're also there to support the director. I never talk to the actors directly to give notes, because I think that's confusing. I will whisper in the director's ear about a note, and keep an eye on things and big picture stuff too."
"Usually I'll talk to the director if I think something is a little bit hinky. On Daredevil we have a phenomenal cinematographer, Matt Lloyd. He was just nominated for an Emmy for Fargo. His work is just gorgeous, so usually I have nothing to say but, 'That looks fantastic!'"
When asked if Daredevil's nickname, "The Man Without Fear," translates to his job as a showrunner, Steven S. DeKnight said his job is filled with fear, which he believes is healthy.
"Oh, hell no! (laughs) This profession is just ripe with fear at all turns. I think a healthy dose of dread is good. It keeps you moving. It keeps you motivated. You can drown in it... but it keeps you on your toes. I don't think I will ever be the man without fear."
He also talked about the level of creative freedom Netflix has given him with the series.
"Netflix has been fantastic. They are phenomenally supportive of the creatives. How much freedom will I have? This is a bit of a different scenario because it's a Marvel property. Once you have an IP like that, there are restrictions that you have to accept. I'm fine with that, I totally understand. I'll push it as far as I can, of course, but I also respect the fact that this character has been around for decades. Overall I've been surprised at how willing everyone is to take a really fresh look and really push what we're doing."
Fans still have several months to wait before the first season airs, but it's never too early to start thinking about Season 2. Steven S. DeKnight added that they are kicking around ideas for a potential Season 2, but they still aren't sure if that will happen yet or not.
"I honestly have no idea. That's so far above my pay grade. Making it even more complicated is the fact that [Daredevil] is one part of the bigger plan - Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and then The Defenders. How that all fits together, and whether or not there will be a second season of this show-or if it will fold into the others-are question nobody really has answers to yet. I can say we've been talking about some very cool stuff for Season Two that, good God, I can't even hint at! It's something that would be just fantastic to work on!"
Are you more excited about Daredevil now? Chime in with your thoughts below, and stay tuned to find out when the series will debut on Netflix next year.