The Kingpin is putting fear in the hearts of Daredevil fans, but not in a good way this time. Speaking exclusively to Newsweek, Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays the Marvel villain, talked about Daredevil: Born Again, the upcoming revival/sequel/update of the Netflix series Daredevil. Most media outlets are focusing on his confirmation that there will be a second season, with the shoot going through December. To be fair, that is big news, as Disney must be wary of doubling down on Marvel properties at the moment. What’s funny is that D’Onofrio reveals the second season in an offhanded way, like it’s common knowledge:
“And, by the second season, there are gigantic, gigantic payoffs—in the first season, too, but I can’t say much about that—but the fans are gonna really get what they want. It’s really quite cool to be doing it.”
Okay, to be generously hopeful for a moment, I wonder if one of those “payoffs” in the second season will be the return of Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson as Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. Maybe the first season will show Matt Murdock in a low place where he’s lost everything (which would be both true to the original “Born Again” storyline and a retread of season 3 of the Netflix show, which already adapted “Born Again”), only for the important parts of his life to come back in season 2. It’s kind of weird to go from season 3’s ending to Matt being alone again, but Marvel hasn’t been much for continuity or character fidelity lately.
But the worrying part comes earlier, when D’Onofrio tells fans what to expect from Daredevil: Born Again:
“We’ve only just started shooting. I think we’re a couple weeks in, and the show is going to be very, very different than the Netflix show, and it’s so exciting because what we’re doing is quite something… I think it’s something that people are not going to expect. But, always with these Marvel old comic stories that are being revisited and reinvented by us actors, and the writers, the main thing is to answer the fans. To give them what they want but try to be original in some way at the same time, and so that’s what we’re doing on the show… It’s definitely an original way to look at this, and it’s really deep, really emotional.”
“Deep and emotional” is good, but the Netflix series was already deep and emotional, so that can mean anything. It’s the “very, very different” comment that’s so troubling, although not all that surprising. We’ve all feared that Disney would tone down Daredevil so much that it wouldn’t feel like the same show, and Charlie Cox has more or less confirmed that. Having D’Onofrio say it’s that different suggests the same. I really don’t understand the logic behind this other than Disney being arrogant. This should be the ultimate layup for them, and given what’s become of the MCU, they desperately need one. All they have to do is hire back the same cast and some of the creatives (plus some new ones that fit, of course) and just continue the show as it was.
But they’re too full of themselves to admit that someone did it better, or they think Daredevil doesn’t fit their brand (which nobody likes right now), or a million other stupid explanations for doing something this dumb. And that “doing it for the fans” stuff is nonsense. The fans have been pretty clear about what they want from Daredevil, and a lighter tone with goofy humor isn’t it. There are plenty of ways to surprise the fans and draw on comic book stories without changing the feel of the show; the series already did that, with each season being different from the last and packing lots of surprises that felt in-character and complementary to the tone. I want to see more Daredevil, but what they’re threatening to do to it scares me.