Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2016 by Fred Topel
Daredevil season two introduces new characters on screen. Jon Bernthal stars as Frank Castle, Marvel comic’s antihero the Punisher, and Elodie Yung stars as classic Daredevil love interest Elektra. There’s some new blood behind the scenes too, or at least promoted blood. Marco Ramirez and Doug Petrie graduated to showrunners this year, after working as writers and producers on season one.
We got to speak with Ramirez and Petrie in advance of the season premiere on Netflix. Ramirez even gave /Film a couple of shoutouts during our talk. Daredevil returns March 18 on Netflix.
Marco: I’m a huge fan of your website. I’m very excited to be doing this interview.
What was the overlap with Jessica Jones? Were you privy to anything they were doing between seasons of Daredevil?
Marco: Yeah, their writers room was actually across the hall from ours so we could just walk over at any point, be like, “Hey guys, what are you guys doing?” So we were lucky in that regard and actually the way that the Marvel Netflix shows are all set up, we’re all in a building. So we can walk over and say, “Hey, are you doing this? Can we do this? Can we use Turk? What are you guys doing with Turk?” So actually the overlap is physical.
Did anything they were doing tonally inform you or encourage you to push boundaries?
Marco: I think we were encouraged from Marvel at every point, that every one of the four shows should be their own thing. They should have their own visual identity and storytelling identity. Certainly we were excited for the boundaries they were pushing over there. Pushing boundaries is always a good thing, I don’t know.
Doug: I think their general ballsiness was very inspiring to us. There was very friendly competition where when Daredevil came out, it was very well received. Season one of Jessica came out, it was very, very well received and now we’re going okay, how do you top that? Hopefully we’ll just all keep passing the ball among the four shows for a long time.
What was the development and decision to play Frank Castle’s backstory as more of a mystery? The Nelson and Murdock team are actually trying to uncover what happened to his family and where he came from.
Marco: I think because Doug and I are both fans of the comics in so many ways, one of the conversations we had early on was it felt like it’s a given. Everybody knows Frank Castle’s backstory. And then, the more we talked to the writers and the more we realized that Daredevil season one and Jessica as well, they were bringing new fans to the table, to the binge world. It felt like maybe this isn’t a given. Maybe not everybody knows this. So storytelling-wise, is there some fun in watching Matt Murdock and Foggy and Karen Page unpack this stuff? For an audience who came to watch Daredevil, they’re watching Daredevil learn information. For the audience who came to watch Punisher, they’re watching Daredevil react to information they already know. So it was a lot of that actually. At first, it was like well, of course, it’s the Punisher. It’s Frank Castle. We all know his story. But we realized we actually don’t all know his story, so we should tell it. And also, because we were taking a kind of bold retelling of the story, we thought it was important for us to unpack it at our own pace, in our own way.
Was it important that both Castle and Elektra come to the series fully formed, you’re not doing their origin stories?
Doug: Well, I don’t think they are fully formed. I think that’s what we learned from season one, as Marco was saying. I’m dating myself, but it’s like watching a Polaroid photo develop. You know what the picture’s going to be. The fun is in watching it come into being and I think that our characters are all about becoming, as opposed to being what the fans expect. As we build them piece by piece, morally and emotionally and in terms of costuming, we don’t start with the Kingpin. We start with Wilson Fisk. And we don’t start with Daredevil, we start with Matt Murdock. I think that approach is something that was so successful in season one that as storytellers and as people who want to build on previous seasons, we thought that that was a great way to unfold this over 13 episodes.