Marvel Studios has been dominating the action/adventure film genre since the release of Iron Man in 2008, and last year stepped into the world of network television with Agents of SHIELD. There is only one place left for Marvel to expand their live action universe into and that is streaming video. More specifically than that, Netflix. Marvel Studios has four individual Netflix series planned for the near future: Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones as well as a team up mini-series to tie them together titled The Defenders. With Marvel’s film schedule full for about the next 20 years fans have been clamoring for live action versions of characters who are not quite mainstream enough for cinematic adventures yet.
One of the main complaints about Agents of SHIELD has been that there have not been enough appearances by familiar or even unused heroes and villains. From the beginning of that ABC series however the creators made it clear that the focus would be on newer, non-powered characters. Now with what is presumably the first round of series on Netflix a larger cast of colorful heroes and villains can be brought forth without the time and content restraints of network television. This will be a boon to the writers and fans of Daredevil, a character notorious for dark and moody stories as well as color palettes.
Daredevil has often been compared to Batman in tone, so fans can expect to see a slightly more serious attitude about the first Netflix series relative to Agents of SHIELD. Anyone who follows film and television productions closely got a first look earlier in the summer of Charlie Cox in costume as the blind lawyer Matt Murdock, Daredevil’s secret identity. The series has been filming in New York this summer for a few weeks already, so patient fans may get a first look sometime soon. For now however they will have to settle for set photos of the characters doing their day jobs as no hints of what the action sequences and costumes will look like yet.
While viewers wait speculation abounds on how the Netflix series will differ from the generally disliked 2003 film starring Ben Affleck. While the director’s cut of the 2003 movie reportedly improves the film a great deal, the backlash to 20th Century Fox’s interpretation of Matt Murdock’s one man war against the Kingpin even influenced the initial disapproval of Affleck’s casting as Batman in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. In the same way that Marvel’s 2008 The Incredible Hulk tried to distance itself subtly from the flaws of the Ang Lee directed Hulk, the Netflix Daredevil series will most likely pay special attention to what is true to the character and what has earned the ire of fans already. With Daredevil set to premier on Netflix in May of 2015 fans will have yet another layer added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that was recently expanded into the stars by Guardians of the Galaxy and will be shaken to its core with the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
By Matt Isaacs