SMALL SCREEN SENSES BIG CHANGE AFOOT IN DAREDEVIL S3…
We join Charlie Cox on set of the third season of Netflix’s mighty Marvel show.
Charlie Cox is kneeling down in the gloom, practising his safecracking skills. “Whose idea was it to do this in the dark?” he quips, fiddling with the dial. The lack of light, of course, isn’t really an issue for his character, blind lawyer Matt Murdock, aka NYC superhero Daredevil. It’s early March and Small Screen has arrived in Brooklyn to watch a key moment from Season 3 of the Netflix/Marvel show.
Episode eight – of 13 – sees Murdock and newcomer FBI agent Rahul ‘Ray’ Nadeem (Jay Ali) scoping out an apartment. But to tell you whom it belongs to would constitute a major spoiler… What is clear is that Murdock has recuperated from his near-death experience – buried underneath a collapsed building – at the end of
The Defenders, the 2017 miniseries that brought together Daredevil and fellow heroes Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage to fight supervillain organisation The Hand.
“The season picks up months after The Defenders,” explains incoming showrunner Erik Oleson. “Matt is badly injured from what happens
at the end of that show. He starts the season unable to be Daredevil to the extent that we’re familiar with, because his injuries have reduced his abilities. He’s grappling with that.” After being nursed back to health in a convent, the Catholic-raised Murdock begins to wrestle with his faith in S3. “I think he has started to question the benevolence of a god, of a higher power,” says the British-born Cox, who notes that he and Oleson spent time before shooting talking about how Murdock’s been shaped by events.
Conflicted, embittered… this is not the crime-fighting Matt we know from earlier episodes. “In a third season, you want to do something a bit different,” argues Cox. “You don’t want to be the same. I’m really interested in the character’s attitude towards everything: towards himself, towards his friends, towards his life, and how that changes.” Chief among his friends, of course, is fellow justice-seeker and one-time law-firm partner, Franklin ‘Foggy’ Nelson (Elden Henson). “I think Foggy is definitely a little bit haunted by what he thinks is Matt’s death and definitely blames himself for it,” says Henson. “What’s been exciting for me is to just see Foggy step out from Matt’s shadow a little bit and become his own man.”
The season’s focus on change is reflected off-screen too, with Oleson arriving to take over as showrunner from Season 2’s Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez. Oleson’s last gig was head writer/producer on the last season of Amazon’s The Man In
The High Castle. But it’s his personal background – his father worked in the intelligence services – that’s impacting Daredevil’s latest arc.
“I grew up in the spy world and am a student of trade craft,” says Oleson. “Wilson Fisk… I’m treating him like a spymaster this year.” Yes, that’s right. Season 1’s main villain, the criminal Kingpin (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) is back on the streets after his spell behind bars.
“We all have history with him,” notes Deborah Ann Woll, who plays Murdock’s ally Karen Page. In her case, that includes gunning down Fisk’s right-hand man James Wesley in Season 1. “That’s really scary and wonderful,” Woll adds. “Especially for a female in the series. It puts Fisk and Karen on a level together that I really like.” Despite drawing inspiration from the work of legendary ’80s Daredevil scribe Frank Miller, Oleson says the storyline is an original. “It is one which will hopefully scratch the itch of all of the super-fans out there because there’s a lot of stuff they will recognise and jump out of their chair screaming, ‘Holy shit, I just can’t believe they just did that.’”
NUN’S THE WORD
Thematically, says Oleson, this season will be about fear. “It’s my belief that we are all trapped by our fears and only when we face our fears are we able to be our best selves.” For Murdock, his greatest fear would be to lose his purpose, says Cox. “One of the things he’s clung to is this purpose that he has; trying to navigate that purpose has been an emotional struggle.”
Further additions to the cast include Hart Of Dixie star Wilson Bethel (the internet’s ablaze with the rumour that he’s playing sharp-shooting assassin Bullseye). Then there’s Joanne Whalley as nun Sister Maggie (no confirmation yet on whether Maggie is also Matt’s mother, as in the Miller-created Born Again storyline).
As for Ali, his FBI agent is attempting to get Fisk to rat on other criminals to secure his prison release. “What’s going on with my character’s situation is very relevant to what’s going on in the world today,” he says, when he steps off set and out of the darkness. “How someone in power can manipulate someone who is not in power.” Now, can someone turn on the lights? James Mottram
DAREDEVIL SEASON 3 LAUNCHES LATER THIS YEAR ON NETFLIX.
‘HE HAS STARTED TO QUESTION THE BENEVOLENCE OF A GOD’ CHARLIE COX
Deborah Ann Woll also returns as Karen Page.
Back in the black bandana of Season 1.