Daredevil debuted a second season on Friday that almost seemed like transition to other plot lines. There are many directions the series can go from here. And because the series borrows from some stories that have appeared in its comic book source material, we can draw a few clues about where Daredevil might go with season three. There are heavy spoilers ahead, and if you haven’t seen the whole show, bask in the glory of Affleck and then click away:
Some aspects of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s 1986 arc — where Daredevil’s identity is sold out to the Kingpin, who methodically dismantles his life — aren’t going to translate. It’s unlikely that Karen Page, newly minted cub reporter, is going to start doing heroin and starring in stag films, for example. But the show offers an intriguing moment where, after Wilson Fisk and Matt Murdock have an ugly, angry confrontation, Fisk touches his injured lip and seems to realize he’s been punched like that before. And then, he asks for all the files on Murdock. Even if they aren’t setting up the Kingpin discovering Daredevil’s identity, it seems likely Matt’s threat was a terrible idea that will hurt not just him, but Karen and Foggy.
The Murdock Papers
Or, they could explore the other time the Kingpin used Murdock’s vigilante double-life against him, the conclusion of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s critically acclaimed 2001-2005 run on the book. There, Matt’s life falls apart largely thanks to the fact that, technically, he’s a criminal. The arc in particular stands out because it lingers on just what a thin veneer Daredevil’s dual identity really is, something the Kingpin uses to manipulate Daredevil squarely into a bullseye. This ultimately forces him to surrender to the FBI, and could be used to put Murdock in need of an excellent lawyer, such as, say, Franklin Nelson.
Filled to the brim with excessive violence and absurd plot twists, Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz’s over-the-top 1986-87 miniseries sometimes reads like a parody of contemporary comics. Elektra has psychic powers that are never fully discussed or explained, and the main enemy is the Beast, a creature that wants to start a nuclear war and mind-controls people by forcing them to drink its milk.
So, tonally, yes, it would be an odd fit. That said, it also explores Elektra’s connections both to the Hand and to her darker nature, something season two touched on but hasn’t fully explained. Elektra’s unpleasant cybernetic sometime foe John Garrett, showed up in the first season of Agents of SHIELD, although it was Phil Coulson who rather definitively put an end to him. So, the third season might explore Elektra’s past in more detail, while revealing what being the Black Sky means to her.
“The Purple Children”
One of the best, most unnerving arcs from the recent run by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, “The Purple Children” features the spawn of the Purple Man, who, it turns out, has been carefully building a family all these years. Then he discovers the hard way that his powers can be inherited, and that his children are stronger than he is when they band together, putting a group of angry, confused kids with mind control powers out on the town. If you’ve seen Jessica Jones, you’re aware there’s a roadblock or two to this particular adaptation, but it’s a brilliant plotline, not least because it forces Murdock to confront his worst fears, while simultaneously handing him a thorny problem. These are, after all, children; can he really justify beating them up?
The Punisher: MAX
The Netflix series has already incorporated elements of the highly popular, gritty book anchored by Garth Ennis, such as the “Kitchen Irish” arc, which found the Punisher drawn into a gang war between multiple Irish gangs. And while that book was notable for lacking superheroes, Frank’s war on crime deserves a revisit in the third season, or in a spin-off. The series spent quite a bit of time reinventing the Punisher, making him more tactical and sympathetic while not condoning his methods, and it seems unlikely they’ll let that work, or Jon Bernthal’s performance, go to waste. The Kingpin and the Punisher also have unfinished business, which has been a theme in the comics before.
“The Good Old Days”
Finally, we should see more of Matt’s abilities as a lawyer, which were largely sidelined this season thanks to ninjas and mobsters. Charles Soule and Javier Pulido wrapped up a recent take on She-Hulk, Marvel’s other superheroic lawyer, by pitting her against Matt Murdock in a civil case. At stake? The reputation of one Steve Rogers, who specifically asked Murdock to file the suit against him. While it’s unlikely we’ll see Jennifer Walters get green on Netflix, the storyline would be an ideal way to explore the moral dilemmas and Matt’s commitment to the law.
No matter what, Daredevil seems likely to have a third season, and we’ll be excited to see where it goes. Especially since we need to learn what other narrow spaces you shouldn’t pick a fight with Daredevil in.