Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight talks DAREDEVIL; show will be dark, gritty and morally grey

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Daredevil is a joke. No, I’m not talking about the character or comics, which has been absolutely phenomenal for years now already, I’m talking about the 2003 Ben Affleck movie, which boasted a Looney Toons version of Bullseye and more horrible wire-work acrobatics than a two-bit Cirque Du Soleil ripoff. But if you were to watch the director’s cut of that movie, you’ll find yourself getting a much, much better experience. No, they can’t fix the bad fighting and really dumb script issues, but director Mark Steven Johnson flips things around to give us a very dark and gritty version of the horned hero, one that is even willing to kill if needs be. But more so, the director’s cut shows a much more human version of Matt Murdock, one who sometimes struggles with his heroic responsibilities.

And according to what showrunner Steven S. DeKnight recently told Paste Magazine, we can probably expect something similar for Marvel/Netflix’s upcoming TV series reboot of the character.

 “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.”

And just like most of us humans, Daredevil can also be pushed too far, with the results sometimes being rather extreme – maybe even deadly – for the person doing the pushing. That angle was something that was a staple of writer-artist Frank Miller’s legendary run on the character, and it seems that just like his work on Batman is heavily influencing DC’s upcoming Batman v Superman, Marvel and DeKnight are also drawing on Miller’s moral grayness for Daredevil.

“The other thing that really drew me to this character is that he’s one of the most morally grey of the heroes… 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!”

And with Marvel now once again owning the rights to the Punisher, who knows? They may just end up having that one bad day together!

Read  Netflix is launching its first comic book from Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel

Fan-fictions team-ups aside, I’m really liking what I’m hearing of the show thus far. Though the latter seasons of DeKnight’s Spartacus was an absolute chore to sit through due to laughably bad writing and characterization, the early stuff was top notch. With Marvel behind him, and very talented actor like Charlie Cox cast as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, I’m really excited for this. Now all I’m waiting for is for them to reveal Cox in the costume. And there’s a chance that I may not have to wait too long, as Marvel have said that they will be revealing more on the show at the New York Comic Con in October.

Last Updated: September 15, 2014

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Maybe we’ll be lucky & Matt Murdock will wander past a laundromat where Frank Castle is waiting outside for his washing to finish.

    I’m always wary when people say they’re going to make something dark & gritty… either it is or it isn’t based on the writing, deliberately throwing in stuff to make a dark or gritty scene is just forced. It’s like when they say they want to make something cool or badass.

    • Kervyn Cloete

      Completely agree with you. In the case of Daredevil though, “dark and gritty” should be the default setting, which is unfortunately not what we’ve seen thus far, which is why it’s good to hear here.

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