Daredevil leaps back onto Netflix for its third season on Friday and the man behind the mask will be in a dark place as it kicks off.
Blind hero Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, was in pretty bad shape the last time we saw him — waking up battered and bruised after being caught below an exploding building in the final episode of The Defenders.
It seems like that experience has left the man without fearthat enable his heroism.
“He is not in the greatest of spirits and he’s mentally a little loose. And as a result, that kind of sends him down a path that, at least initially, is quite unlike the Matt Murdock that we’ve seen in the past,” Cox told us in an interview during New York Comic Con.
The actor suggested that Matt has become a little like Frank Castle — the gun-wieldinghe clashed with in — as he brutalizes criminals.
The injuries Matt sustained during The Defenders also limit his physical capabilities. He isn’t quite up to the character’s signature acrobatics in the initial episodes of the third season and must rely more on up close and personal moves that his father — the late boxer Jack Murdock — taught him.
Cox acknowledged the physical challenge of playing a character like Daredevil for so long — having done so in this show’s two previous seasons and team-up miniseries The Defenders — and revealed how he’s adapted.
“I incorporated for the first time quite a bit of yoga, which has been really helpful in terms of recovery and preparing my muscles and joints for the grueling action sequences,” he said.
Matt is aided in his recovery by Sister Maggie (played by Joanne Whalley), a character with a very close familial link to the hero in writer Frank Miller’s Born Again comic arc — from which this season takes some inspiration. Whalley wouldn’t confirm that the show’s version of the character would be the same, but acknowledged they have a bond.
“We share some history, we have similar questions about God and the universe,” she told us. “Through supporting him and helping him — she’s figuring out a lot about herself too.”
Cox’s co-stars don’t have as much physical work to do, but Deborah Ann Woll, who plays reporter (and Matt’s former flame) Karen Page, highlighted that the non-superhuman characters allow them to showcase more realistic violence.
“We often forget that a lot of the violence of everyday life is very sloppy, very mean and very scary,” she said. “That was the kind of physical work that we were doing. How do people fight who don’t know how to fight? Who are just trying to stay alive?”
Woll also noted her appreciation that the show has allowed her and the writers to craft Karen into such a nuanced character.
“It’s important to me that we move further and further away from this idea that you have Bettys and you have Veronicas. You have good girls and bad girls,” she said, referring to the stereotypical female pair in Archie Comics (recently).
“And instead, we play with complex, multidimensional women who make mistakes, who are heroes, who do all of these things.”
Foggy Nelson (played by Elden Henson), Matt’s best friend and former law partner, starts this season fearful about their old enemy Wilson Fisk— he and Karen are unaware of Matt’s whereabouts after the events of The Defenders.
“He’s getting out on his own a little bit more. He’s becoming a bit of a man — he’s running for DA, sort of finding himself outside of the shadow of Matt Murdock,” Henson said of Foggy.
“His girlfriend Marcy floats the idea of hiding in plain sight and sort of running towards it.”
Marvel’s Daredevil season 3 debuts on Netflix on Oct. 19. Check back on Friday for our interview with executive producer Jeph Loeb and showrunner Erik Oleson, and then again on Saturday for our look at some of the show’s villains.
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