With just two words, Daredevil ended its second season with a massive cliffhanger as the focus immediately shifts to Netflix for news on a third season of the Marvel drama. (As of press time, there has been no news.)
In one of the the last scenes of the season two finale, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) revealed his vigilante alter ego to his ex Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), but the camera cut to the next scene before viewers could see her reaction to his game-changing confession that took two seasons of build up to get to.
The finale also revealed that the evil Hand dug up Elektra's (Elodie Yung) dead body from the cemetery Matt and Stick (Scott Glenn) had just buried her in, and the villainous organization put her corpse into the mysterious stone coffin they had been guarding all season. Is her fate as the Black Sky something that cannot be stopped even by death? And what was up with that CD labeled "Micro" that Frank Castle aka the Punisher (Jon Bernthal) recovered from his home before he blew it up and seemingly left for good?
To address all the major cliffhangers, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Daredevil season two showrunners Marco Ramirez and Doug Petrie to find out where the franchise may be heading in a potential third season.
Ramirez: Marvel TV and Jeph Loeb have a solid plan for how everything will weave into everything. We definitely crafted it with the goal of feeding into the larger Marvel TV Universe because they have such a specific plan of action for Marvel and Netflix. That was just our hope, to make sure that it worked as its own season of TV and also as fitting in to the larger world of all the other shows.
Looking at this larger plan Netflix has for all its Marvel fare, how much creative control did you have in writing the story for season two?
Petrie: We were pretty pleased with the creative freedom we were allowed. We're big fans of the canon as well, so as to where the creative electric fences are penning us in, we put a lot of those in place ourselves. There were things we did and didn't want to see and directions we didn't want to go in. It was really about a love of the canon and the characters as they are. There was a lot of self regulation.
How far are you into planning a new season? Would you be back as showrunners?
Ramirez: As these things go, that's a question for Marvel TV, frankly. Not for us.
Petrie: We love our jobs but that's all we can say.
Could you ever envision any overlap with ABC’s Marvel properties or with the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Ramirez: Also not something we can talk about.
Ramirez: [Laughs.] I hate not being able to answer any of these questions but that's another one for Marvel TV, not for us.
Petrie: We can't go near that one, unfortunately.
At the end of the finale, Elektra was dead and buried, but the Hand dug her up and put her in that mysterious stone casket. What does the Hand plan on doing with her?
Petrie: We know that Elektra is the Black Sky. And we know that the Black Sky is a very powerful tool for the Hand. And we know that the Hand is up to no damn good. The clues can be found in the canon and in the comics, but we do hope that our viewers feel that we're not done telling this story just yet.
In her final moments, Elektra chose the side of good, sacrificing herself to save Matt and to make sure the Hand didn't get control of her. If she does come back as the clues are hinting, will she still stick to that path?
Petrie: Elektra has always been on the fence between her wilder, more id-like impulses and the shining beacon of restraint that Matt Murdock represents in her life that confuses and infuriates her. I think a conflicted Elektra is the best Elektra that we can apply ourselves to and be interested in. Like all of our characters, she's going to be deeply conflicted when it comes to moral choices. And we've built a universe where there are no easy, moral choices.
Ramirez: Part of what we liked about the symmetry between the Daredevil and the Punisher storyline is the idea that we open their relationship, the first time they interact is Punisher shooting Daredevil right in the forehead. The last time they interact, Punisher is saving his life. Just the idea that you could get somebody from one side of the chess board to another, that was exciting to us as far as building character arcs.
Petrie: As the season went on, we found that lots of people were affected by the ones we thought they were going to be affected by like Matt and Elektra. Their relationship was tumultuous and exciting and it brought them each to a new place by the end of the season. But with somebody like Frank, we were excited about introducing this guy to the world. And then by the end of the season, not only has his relationship with Matt affected him going forward, but also his relationship with Karen has changed him going forward. These characters have existed for so long in the comics and we didn't want to veer from who they were in the comics, but we can have them interact with each other in such a way that they come out, for lack of a better word, changed.
The Jessica Jones cameo was pleasant surprise in the finale, when Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) offered Foggy (Elden Henson) a job at her firm. Now that Foggy is working for her, will there be more overlap betweenDaredevil and Jessica Jones in the future?
Petrie: We've noticed that with our fans, with Easter eggs and crossovers a little goes a long way. Those worlds will definitely be overlapping and we're threading them in as slowly and as carefully as we can weave them.
In the final moments of the finale, Matt revealed himself as Daredevil to Karen but we didn't get to see her reaction. Why did you set up that reveal but not pay it off this season?
Ramirez: What we wanted the most was for that to feel more like an emotional moment for Matt. He has been brought to the place where the next logical thing emotionally for him is that he just has to tell her. We wanted to build that as opposed to the mask falling off in the heat of the moment. We wanted to make sure it felt like an active choice where someone comes forward and says, "This is something you need to know about me." In terms of what happens after that, we hope that the audience will someday get to see what comes next. We liked very much what we shot, specifically what Charlie and Deborah did in that scene.
Petrie: We love building a world where there are real consequences to choices. It's part of the reason why we love the 13-hour format. We get to really play these things out. Permanent isn't a condition you find often in real life in terms of relationships. Things grow and change and come apart and come back together again. Matt and Foggy and Karen, all three have so much to reconcile among them as friends and Karen and Matt as something more. So there will be long term consequences to all of their choices and how they relate to each other but nothing is permanent.
Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) returned this season and he's still a major player — even from prison. What are your plans for him in the future?
Petrie: We don't know yet. We love Vincent, and we know that fans want to see more of him. We know that the canon and the authors have afforded us some really interesting choices in where to go with Wilson Fisk and Matt Murdock. We're glad that the vault is full and we get to pick and choose, but we're certainly not at a place where we've picked or chosen just yet.
Was it always the plan to bring him back this season?
Ramirez: It was a conversation early on and luckily the stars aligned and it all worked out. Just the thought that we got him and Matt in a room together and a story where Frank and Fisk interacted was a dream come true as storytellers and as fans of the source material. To have all these titans together was something we wanted to do from the very beginning.
Ramirez: One of the things I knew secretly in the writers room was that Karen and Frank are really going to pop. People are going to love that interaction. People were asking lots of questions about how Matt and Frank and how Daredevil and Punisher were going to interact, and all I wanted to tell them was that that was only the beginning of it. He has so much to do with Karen as well. That was a pleasant surprise in how much the fans liked the Karen/Frank, Silence of the Lambs dynamic. No one expected it but we were so excited about it in the room.
Petrie: I don't know if I would qualify it as a surprise but the degree to which we had two new actors come in, Elodie Yung and Jon Bernthal, and play major roles in our story and in Matt Murdock's world, and the degree to which they elevated our material and invited all the writers to reward them with further elevated material, the opportunity to write sophisticated drama in the Marvel format has been a very pleasant experience. I was surprised as how much the writers and the cast were playing, "Can you top this?" back and forth.
What was the biggest challenge for you in taking over the reins this season?
Petrie: Getting it right. We really put it on ourselves to get it right for the fans. We're fans too, so we're in this great position of what's the show that we really want to see? We fully understand how important Daredevil is to its fans over the 50-plus years that he's been around. We wanted to make something that would blow us away and hope that we're big enough nerds that the fans would agree.
Daredevil season two is now streaming on Netflix.