Sunday, October 12, 2014

NYCC '14: Marvel Unveils Daredevil


Marvel was a large presence at NYCC '14 this weekend and last night gave the world its first look at the upcoming Daredevil series, set to premier on Netflix in 2015, and, once again, they seem to have hit the mark.

Fans of Daredevil have been eagerly awaiting information on the direction the series would take when it streams on Netflix next year. After the live-action right to one of Marvel's oldest characters returned to the studio, Marvel had been working to develop a project that would do the character justice after the sour taste left in fan's mouths from Ben Affleck's Daredevil film. Given what fans in New York saw yesterday, it seems Marvel has found a way to give one of it's most beloved street-level heroes a series with the tone and feel true fans would expect,

Marvel brought some of the cast and some footage that, unfortunately, will not be shared with the public though I have put IGN's description of it below. Marvel brought showrunner Stephen DeKnight along with lead actors Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock) and Vincent D'Onofrio (Wilson Fisk) to the panel. They also used it to introduce a few new cast members while revealing that Rosario Dawson would be playing Claire Temple. It seems Dawson's Temple will be a mash-up of comic characters Clair Temple and Night Nurse and act as the MCU version of the Night Nurse character. As Night Nurse, she'll likely be a part of all 4 Netflix series with the potential to appear anywhere else in the MCU. Joining the cast will be Vondie Curtis Hall (Ben Urich), Bob Gunton (Leyland Owlsley), Ayelet Zurer (Vanessa Marianna, love interest of Wilson Fisk) and Toby Leonard Moore (Fisk's right-hand man, Wesley).

Clockwise: Gunton, Moore, Hall and Zurer
Here's the official release via Marvel.com:


Marvel & Netflix are proud to announce that acclaimed talents Ayelet Zurer, Bob Gunto, Toby Moore & Vondie Curtis Hall have joined "Marvel’s Daredevil," an all-new thirteen-episode series premiering on Netflix in 2015.
 Known for blockbuster films such as “Man of Steel” and “Angels & Demons,” Ayelet Zurer will play Vanessa Marianna, an art dealer whose chance meeting with Wilson Fisk dramatically changes their lives.
An Emmy-award nominated actor known for his powerful work in “ER” and “Chicago Hope,” Vondie Curtis Hall will play Ben Urich, an investigative journalist at the New York Bulletin who’ll soon find himself drawn into a war for the soul of Hell’s Kitchen.
 Garnering acclaim for nuanced work in projects such as “The Pacific” and “John Wick,” Toby Leonard Moore will play Wesley, right-hand man and confidante to Wilson Fisk.
 A veteran of blockbuster films “Shawshank Redemption” and “Argo,” Bob Gunton will play Leland Owlsley, an enigmatic and key figure in Wilson Fisk’s crusade to remake Hells Kitchen.
 These four stars joins Charlie Cox (“Matt Murdock”), Deborah Ann Woll (“Karen Page”), Elden Henson (“Foggy Nelson”), Ayelet Zurer (“Vanessa Marianna”), with Rosario Dawson (“Claire Temple”) and Vincent D’Onofrio (“Wilson Fisk”) in the critically-lauded cast of "Marvel’s Daredevil."
 “These are four of the most important roles in "Marvel’s Daredevil" and we’ve assembled actors worthy of each iconic role,” said Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of Television. “Ayelet, Bob, Vondie and Toby each brign a unique charisma and power to the roles, making it immediately clear why each of their characters is so vital to the war for Hell’s Kitchen.
It'll be interesting to see how Gunton's Owlsley plays into things. He's clearly going to start the series in league with Fisk, but it's likely that his desire for money and power may divide the two at some point.

Following the panel, however, they did release the following 2 photos that give us a look at both sides of Matt Murdock:



The first photo was all I needed to sell me on the direction of this first season. While it was met by some confusion from some, the photo reveals that this series will have taken some heavy influence from writer Frank Miller and artist John Romita, Jr.'s legendary run on the comic. The costume Murdock is wearing is IDENTICAL to the one he puts together on his first night as a masked vigilante in the classic The Man Without Fear story arc. The cast revealed that Miller's work, in addition to the work done by Brian Michael Bendis, would fuel the story line of Season One and, for those of you who have read those runs, you know that we should be up for a very dark, very violent take. The footage shown to the crowd affirms just that as the description from IGN details:

It begins with Karen Page coming to her apartment on a rainy night. The door's ajar and all the lights are out. She enters gingerly, noticing blood stain on the floor. Understandably panicked, she reaches up into a vent to retrieve a cell phone stashed inside. As she turns to hightail it out of there, a man steps out from the shadows. It's Wesley who proceeds to throw her into the wall a couple of times, knocking her for a loop. He retrieves the phone she dropped in the struggle, whips out a switch blade and approaches her for the kill.
 That's when we see Matt Murdock -- dressed in his black pro to-Daredevil suit straight out of Man Without Fear -- enter and immediately start brawling with Wesley. The fight is incredibly brutal and vicious, very much like the hand-to-hand combat scene in the Bourne films or the recent Bond movies. The sounds of punches, knife slashes, grunts, and damage act as the soundtrack. Matt and Wesley's brawl leads to them crashing out of the window together and down to the alley below. Matt tries to get up but he passes out face down on the road as the rain drenches him.
At the end of the panel, they showed us an extended version of this scene that fades to Matt dreaming of himself as a little boy sitting in the kitchen of his apartment with his dad, Battlin' Jack Murdock. He tells his tired son to keep up his studies so he doesn't end up like him. "I never studied. Look at how I turned out," said Jack, immediately noticing the sad look on his blind son's face. He takes the boy's hands and lets him feel the lumps and wounds on his battered face. "Come on, Matty. Get to work," said Jack and the scene cuts back to Daredevil waking up in alley just as Wesley attacks him with his knife. A brutal brawl in the rain ensues, ending with Matt wrapping Wesley up in a chain he'd heard jangling. Matt retrieves Karen's phone off Wesley just as Karen shows up, shocked at this black-clad rescuer. Daredevil tells Karen he will take this phone and the data on it to people who can help, but she pleads for him not to take it to police because no one can be trusted.
 The next scene showed Matt waking Matt waking up on Claire's couch, his mask removed. (He refers to his costume as "a work in progress.") She'd found him in a dumpster. He is injured (three broken ribs, a puncture wound on his side, and probable concussion). He's not happy that she's seen his face, but asks her why she didn't just call the police. She said has her own reasons for not calling cops. Not getting much in the way of useful information from Matt about who he is, she nicknames him Mike because he reminds her of an ex who kept secrets. She'll let him rest there for the night.
The next clip showed Wilson Fisk at an art gallery where he first meets Vanessa, the woman who will one day become his wife. He's staring at white painting, his hulking frame and bald dome seen from behind as Vanessa approaches him. She tries making small talk with him (it appears it's her art gallery or she works there). Fisk seems agitated not by her but by the painting. She asked him what he sees in the painting, how it makes him feel. "It makes me feel alone," Fisk replied, far more vulnerable than you could ever expect from this legendary villain. Marvel's Daredevil would seem to be as much Fisk's origin if you will as Murdock's as a vigilante.
 We then saw a scene set at Matt and Foggy's fledgling law office. Karen's made them dinner as a thank you for getting her out of trouble. They said they will bill her as soon they figure out to make bills. She said the meal was her grandma's recipe and she said she's only ever make it for her future husband, which causes a look to cross Matt's face. She says thanks for saving her, and Foggy replies that she should really thank that "nut in a mask." It seems like no one knows Matt's secret identity just yet.
The footage was given high marks by nearly all who saw it and the fight scene was routinely described as brutal, intense and incredibly well-shot. It seems that Marvel will be taking advantage of the Netflix format to ramp things up a notch from their usual PG-13 ratings. Given the material they've chosen to work with, that's a very-wise decision. Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are going to find themselves in some hardcore throwdowns; making them violent and realistic is going to go a long way towards making the series incredibly popular.

Check out the cast interviews below to get some more info about the series. I'm now very excited for what's to come. Marvel seems to have really chosen a great cast and direction for the first of the upcoming series. If/When this series is a hit, it'll set up Marvel for success in the others. 

What are your thoughts on Daredevil?




Marvel’s Daredevil follows the journey of Matt Murdock, who was blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses, now fighting against injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the super hero Daredevil in modern day Hell's Kitchen, New York City.


Sources: Marvel.com and IGN