Daredevil: We Want You! by Jerry Whitworth
Within two weeks of premiering, Daredevil has already had a second season ordered for Netflix. Further, the beauty of its arc provides a fairly strong indication about what a second season can entail. Obviously, there will be SPOILERS from this point. By the conclusion of the first season, Daredevil (Charlie Cox) has toppled Wilson Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) empire, dispersed the Triads, heavily disrupted the plans of Fisk’s Japanese allies, and returned Hell’s Kitchen back to its people. Many loose ends presented in the first episode have been tied off leaving what few remain as breadcrumbs toward what’s to come. Some questions remained unanswered such as what is Karen Page’s (Deborah Ann Woll) mysterious past, Vanessa Marianna’s (Ayelet Zurer) instructions from her incarcerated fiance, and what connection, if any, does Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) have to Ku’n-Zi, one of the seven Capital Cities of Heaven (fans speculating she maybe Crane Mother and her part will tie into the upcoming Iron Fist series). In any event, lets examine what could be coming up in the next season of Daredevil.
Daredevil has a relatively small rogues gallery compared to most heroes. Many of his earliest foes like the Jester, Matador, Stilt-Man, Mister Fear, Man-Bull, and Leap-Frog were just silly (making them difficult to translate in live action today). Others have largely already transitioned into live action between the 2003 Daredevil film, 2005 Elektra film, and the recent Netflix series (as Kyle MacLachlan’s Mister Hyde appears in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and David Tennant as the Purple Man will be in the upcoming A.K.A. Jessica Jones). Arguably, the only major Daredevil foe yet to find his way into the live action world is Death-Stalker. In the comics, Philip Wallace Sterling was a wealthy inventor working for a corrupt politician Daredevil took down. When his former employer’s cronies were released from jail, Sterling tried to take over the business only to run afoul himself of Daredevil. Employing a device that temporarily sends targets to a parallel dimension, he seemingly died when the device exploded. Instead, he himself became a prisoner of that dimension only able to escape for a few hours each day (but able to come and go as he wished for that time). Sterling used this new ability to steal high-tech gloves that would kill with a single touch and uncovered Daredevil’s secret identity. Taking the name Death-Stalker, Sterling became a frequent and dangerous opponent of Daredevil before eventually meeting his end in a final confrontation, coincidentally, in a cemetery. Considering the more realistic approach of Daredevil (albeit with a touch of mysticism), certain changes would be in order but a revised version of Death-Stalker could shake things up in the season beyond the direction it appears to be heading toward.
When Wilson Fisk murdered Leland Owlsley (Bob Gunton), it appeared the Owl would not fully emerge in the new Daredevil series (coincidentally, Owlsley died by falling, or “flying,” from a great height). However, Owlsley repeatedly made reference to his beloved son Lee leading fans to speculate if perhaps he would arrive to seek revenge against Fisk, and likely Daredevil, for his father’s demise. Certainly with half of Fisk’s considerable fortune (not to mention his father’s previous ill-gotten gains), Lee would already have significant influence regardless of what else this yet seen entity could bring to the table. In the comics, the Owl was a criminal mastermind that trafficked in super science and superhumans. He ingested a serum that gave him limited flying abilities and wore cloaks that helped enable him to fly (Owlsley also donned claws to combat his enemies).
Melvin Potter (Matt Gerald) tailored Wilson Fisk’s armored apparel under duress before Daredevil offered to help him in exchange for an armored costume. Pivotal to Potter’s agreements with Fisk and Daredevil was the safety of his social worker Betsy Beatty which all but sets up a future conflict when Fisk returns. Potter’s shop is brimming with nods to his inevitable turn as the Gladiator, such as a poster for the movie Revenge of the Gladiators, the Gladiator’s insignia and colors on his bench, and designs for his wrist-mounted saw blades on his table. In the comics, Potter was a costume designer who built a suit of armor in order to commit crimes. Over time, he became one of Daredevil’s most frequent sparring partners often aligning with other villains against the hero. Later, Potter would undergo therapy under Beatty and eventually married her. Turning his life around, he sometimes helped Daredevil but would time and again be forced to return to his criminal ways by his former associates.
Likely hinted at by Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) in the episode “Nelson v. Murdock,” Elektra Natchios was one of a series of women in Matt Murdock’s life who were loving yet ultimately destructive for him. The daughter of a Greek ambassador to the United States, Elektra grew up as a target of her father’s political adversaries and so was instructed heavily in martial arts in order to protect herself. While attending college at Columbia University, she met and fell in love with Matt Murdock. However, their romance was cut short when her father was murdered and Elektra left for China where she was trained by Murdock’s mentor Stick. The growing darkness inside her led her to join the Hand, an ancient cult of ninja, only to later abandon them to become an independent assassin. Eventually, she would return to New York where she came into conflict with Daredevil before learning his secret identity and working with him to combat the Hand. Elektra would become the chief assassin for Wilson Fisk but she couldn’t bring herself to kill Foggy Nelson under Fisk’s orders. She was later killed by the assassin Bullseye. Elektra would be subsequently resurrected by Stone, an ally of Stick and fellow member of the Chaste.
Sharp-eyed viewers of Daredevil speculate longtime nemesis of the hero in Bullseye to have already made a cameo in the first season. When Wilson Fisk wanted to turn the city against Daredevil, he framed the hero for the bombing of the Russian mob and assassination of police officers. The sniper to eliminate those officers was completely covered up by police gear however in his bag appeared to be the insignia of the ace of spades, a common calling card of Bullseye. The origins and identity of Bullseye are an enigma, full of conflicting stories and admitted half truths by the assassin. What is known is that Bullseye wields incredible aim with projectiles, be they thrown or discharged, only to have his record damaged at the hands of Daredevil which formed the basis for their years of conflict. Eventually, Bullseye would become the chief assassin for Wilson Fisk only to later lose his position to Elektra. Bullseye would kill Elektra but Fisk refused to let him replace her. Daredevil would face the assassin which led to an injury that broke Bullseye’s back. The villain would recover and continue his feud with the Man Without Fear.
When Wilson Fisk’s union of criminals emerged, many in the series assumed his Japanese associates to be the Yakuza. However, this organization represented by the mysterious Nobu (Peter Shinkoda) was never identified as such. When Fisk spoke with Nobu asking for help with his Daredevil problem, he was careful not to identify the group by name or title. As Nobu emerged to combat Daredevil, he wore a red ninja uniform reminiscent of the Hand in Marvel Comics. Separate from the Fisk/Daredevil connection, Nobu’s organization also seems to be at odds with Stick (Scott Glenn) and Stone’s (Jasson Finney) group (known in the comics as the Chaste). The Hand is an ancient cult that worship a demon known simply as “The Beast” (as their name is representative as the Hand of the Beast). Highly accomplished in assassination, espionage, and black magic, the Hand became premier mercenaries that have, since World War II, be infrequent collaborators with Hydra (as members of the Hand were founders in Hydra before Baron Strucker took control of the organization). The chief opponent to the Hand is the Chaste, a clan of ninja led by Stick (who has mentored new soldiers for his cause in Daredevil and Elektra). Eventually, Stick and the Hand would have their final confrontation in New York (as Daredevil and Black Widow helped the former) that unfortunately led to Stick’s death.