Last Friday saw the launch of Netflix's latest original series, an adaptation of Marvel's Daredevil comics. The series sees everyone's favourite (only?) blind superhuman ninja take on the New York's criminal underworld in an attempt to make us forget that Ben Affleck is even a thing. Sounds good right?
It was, actually. Despite the obvious goof from Netflix, I've generally heard positive things about the programme. Critics loved it, the internet loved it, and after spending 13-14 hours watching it all on Friday I loved it. It seems that a second season is inevitable, but what should be included next time around?
Mild spoiler alert! Though every Daredevil comic book reader will know of some of the things I'm about to discuss, some of the characters and events I'll talk about haven't yet entered the show's world. I won't ruin anything major of course, but if you'd rather have every single tiny surprise reserved, you've been warned.
More superhumans and links to the wider MCU
Daredevil is in a funny position because it's the first time the Marvel Cinematic Universe has focussed on street-level crime, and the vigilantes that try to put a stop to it. That means, as a whole, it has a much different tone to something like The Avengers, and integrating those two worlds could be a bit of a challenge.
The links in the first season are subtle, but important. People mention 'the incident' (the Chitauri invasion from The Avengers) and what a disastrous effect it had on Hell's Kitchen, setting in motion the events that lead to the Kingpin's rise to power. If you missed that, however, you could easily assume that Daredevil is a self contained story with no links to the wider MCU. Even if you were looking for specific easter eggs you wouldn't have much luck. I couldn't even see even a glimpse of Stark Tower in the New York skyline.
By the time a second season rolls around the programme will hopefully be in a much better position, continuity wise. A second street-level Netflix series (A.K.A Jessica Jones) should have landed, and since it won't have to deal with the topic of Daredevil's origin there's more room to expand and integrate Daredevil's activities into the wider universe. A few more clues pointing out that this is the same world as the Marvel movies will do -- no copying Iron Man 2 and trying to force connections where they don't belong.
It would be nice to see a glimpse of a certain wall-crawling teenager, too.
The Hand and The Chaste
One of the common enemies in Daredevil's rogues gallery is The Hand, a secret society of what can simply be described as magic ninjas. The Chaste are another secretive martial arts clan, and in the comics they're led by Daredevil's mentor, Stick. The two clans also happen to be mortal enemies.
The mystical ninjitsu elements have already been very briefly touched upon this season with characters like Stick and Nobu, but we were left with a number of unanswered questions. We already know that more mystical elements of the MCU are on the way in the form of Iron Fist and Doctor Strange, and with the obvious foreshadowing it makes sense that 'magic ninjas' will play a big role in Daredevil's future.
Plus in the comics the Kingpin ends up as the leader of The Hand, and it also happens to have a relationship to someone else in Daredevil's life...
Elektra doesn't really have a good rep outside the comics-reading community, thanks to those pesky movies from about ten years ago. But then again, until last weekend, neither did Daredevil.
Elektra is an important character in the lives of both Daredevil and Matt Murdock. She has been Matt's on-and-off girlfriend over the years (even before his vigilante days), and she has been a member of both The Hand and The Chaste before leaving to pursue a career as an assassin.
There are a lot of ways Elektra can be introduced in the TV continuity, and they don't have to stray too far from the source material. We haven't seen much of Matt's life at university, but he did specifically mention to Foggy that he took Spanish because of a Greek girl. That's hardly a coincidence given that's where Matt and Elektra met in the comics, and it wouldn't be too hard to throw in a flashback sequence where the two characters meet for the first time. As for the present day, she could easily be brought back into the fold thanks to the activities of The Hand or Chaste (if the writers go down that road), or as an assassin hired by crime lords to get rid of Daredevil.
Speaking of assassins, here's another one that's haunted Daredevil throughout the years. Bullseye is another character in need of redemption after his previous cinematic outing, and he has proven himself to be one of Daredevil's most formidable foes in the past. I could definitely see an Arkham Origins situation arising where a crime boss offers $X million to be the first assassin who can take out Daredevil. It'd be a nice way to introduce Bullseye, Elektra, and plenty of other members from Daredevil's rogues gallery in one go.
Oh, and given Bullseye talent for accuracy I would love to see him go up against Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye at least once.
You know who else might be interested in a group of assassins congregating in Hell's Kitchen? A certain Mr. Frank Castle. Having The Punisher show up is more wishful thinking on my part, but if there's any place better to introduce the character than Netflix then I've never heard of it. Given that there are currently three cinematic versions of The Punisher, it's probably best that he isn't given a starring role just yet. Plus, his tendency to use lethal force would definitely put him at odds with Daredevil's Catholic morals.
More of the same
As the old saying goes, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" and it's very true here. I couldn't care less about the stuff I've listed here if it means compromising what made this season of Daredevil so great. I would definitely go so far as to say that Daredevil at its worst easily trumps Agents of SHIELD at its very best, and I happen to like watching Agents of SHIELD.
Season 2 needs to keep Daredevil true to what it is. It needs to stay grounded, the tone needs to stay fairly dark, and the showrunners need to focus on better rather than bigger. Oh and keep the format exactly the same. Treating the 13-episode run as a 13-hour movie was a bold move, but it meant there was none of the nonsense that TV shows generally employ to make people watch the next week. There were no repeats or rehashes, and it made for an incredibly pleasant viewing experience. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Bonus Wish: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Did you know that the toxic waste that gave Matt Murdock his powers also happened to be the stuff that turned four ordinary pet turtles into pizza-loving ninjas? According to the very first Ninja Turtles comic it is. Obviously nobody is mentioned by name thanks to copyright issues, but it happened. How cool would it be to see the ninja Turtles team up with Daredevil to fight criminal ninjas? The word you're looking for is insanely.
Sadly, this is never going to happen. If Marvel can't even use the likes of the Fantastic Four, then they have no chance of nabbing the Ninja Turtles.