How the ending of The Defenders sets up Daredevil season 3

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MAJOR SPOILER WARNING FOR THE DEFENDERS! DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINALE!

So it’s safe to saw that I was not a fan of the closing moments of Marvel’s The Defenders. The very instant Charlie Cox’s Daredevil told the rest of his quartet of heroes to take the elevator – the one and only point of egress in the entire underground, dragon bone filled chamber in which they had their final standoff against The Hand – back up to the surface while he tried to redeem Elektra, it was obvious which way the story was going. The ever guilt-racked Man Without Fear was going to sacrifice his life.

There was just the slight issue though of us knowing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a problem with following through on major character deaths. Well, that and the fact that Daredevil season three was already officially greenlit a month ago. And so we had to spend the last 15 minutes of The Defenders finale watching everybody grieving the death of Matt Murdock when we all knew he wasn’t really gone. And sure enough, in the final seconds of the episode, we cut to a battered and bruised Matt Murdock, somehow having survived a building dropped on top of him, lying in an iron-framed bed.

Just where he was is not revealed, but we can see a crucifix on the wall and somebody wearing a nun’s habit seemingly attending to him. For the uninformed, this may just nothing more than a random scene confirming that Murdock was actually still alive, but there is one pertinent detail that fans will immediately have latched onto. As the episode closes, and Murdock starts to wake, the nun is heard calling for somebody off screen to “get Maggie”.

Maggie is almost definitely none other than Maggie Murdock, Matt’s estranged mother. And what’s more, the scene in The Defenders is pulled almost straight from “Born Again”, the seminal 1978 comic book story arc by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, which is considered by many to be the definitive Daredevil story.

In the arc, Karen Page (played by Debrah Ann Woll in the TV series) returns to New York City after an absence of 14 years. She had left Murdock and the rest of her friends after he revealed that he was also Daredevil, placing a massive strain on their relationship. She moved out to California to pursue a career in acting, however things went absolutely terrible for her. Unemployed and having hit rock bottom she started acting in adult films and developed a drug habit, and in her desperation to get a score of heroin, she sells Daredevil’s secret identity to a dealer.

This information makes its way up the criminal food chain until it reaches the ears of Wilson Fisk aka the Kingpin, who had been engaged in a war with Daredevil for years. Kingpin used this info to attack Daredevil like never before, using his influence to hamstring Murdock’s law firm until it faces financial foreclosure and Murdock was threatened with disbarment by witnesses who suddenly claimed that he had paid them to commit perjury.

Matt’s entire life is taken from him, including his home, leaving him desperate and paranoid, and even when he eventually figures out that Kingpin is behind it all, the crime boss is ready for him. Beaten, Matt is drenched in whisky and stuck in the back of a stolen cab. The cab driver is beaten to death with Matt’s billy club and the cab is driven into the East River – however, when it was found, Matt’s body is gone.

When next we see him, we realize that his this lady named Maggie had found Matt’s badly injured body nearby and treated him back to health in the small church where she served. Maggie would help Matt to regain his life and take the war back to Kingpin with a vengeance, eventually restoring his heroic status. All the while, Matt began to suspect Maggie to actually be his mother, but she denied it.

Eventually though in “Guardian Angel”, an arc penned by Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith), Maggie would admit to Matt who she was. She had left Matt and his father soon after he was born, as she suffered from violent postpartum depression that led her to wanting to attack Matt for no reason. Fearing what she would do to her son, she left him to become a nun in a convent.

What’s most important about “Guardian Angel” though is that it brings in the villainous Bullseye, and leads to the psychopath with the unerring aim actually killing somebody very close to Matt (who I won’t spoil here) with his own billy club.

Fans have been asking for Bullseye to make an appearance in the MCU for ages now, mostly to wash the taste of whatever the hell Colin Farrell had done with the character in the Daredevil movie out of our mouths. There were some subtle teases to the character in Daredevil season two, and there was even a rumour for a while that Jason Statham had been tapped to play him.

By combining elements of both “Born Again” and “Guardian Angel”, two of the most iconic Daredevil stories of all time, Marvel could lay the groundwork for one incredible season. We know it’s only a matter of time before Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk returns after Daredevil put him in prison in season one, and having him be the one to send Bullseye after Matt (in the original story it was the Spider-Man villain Mysterio pulling the strings) would make a lot of narrative sense.

Clearly though, the big issue here is that the Karen Page of the MCU is definitely not the Karen Page from the comics. She may not be a homeless porn actress drug addict (yeesh, Miller!) but her relationship with Matt is definitely strained right now. She could still inadvertently leak Matt’s secret setting all of this in motion. It’s definitely a very intriguing and promising notion, and would fit perfectly into the world of personal drama that the Marvel Netflix shows love to mine.

Daredevil’s third season is reportedly set to get underway in October, but no release date has been given. Second seasons of both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are currently filming and they will debut first before the Man Without Fear gets some screen time again.

 

Last Updated: August 22, 2017

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