Charlie Cox gets it. He understands what makes Matt Murdock tick — why a blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen puts on a red outfit and patrol the streets as a vigilante. You can see that in either season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix, but you don’t know how much of that is the writing and how much is Charlie.
But when he sat down for a roundtable interview that included our Kaitlyn Booth, you could tell by his answers that he truly understood the driving force behind the character. A force that can be attributed to many of the creators who have worked on his series, and no disrespect meant to Stan Lee, Bill Everett, or anyone else…but none more so than Frank Miller.
Miller started on Daredevil with issue #158, but as the artist with Roger McKenzie scripting. He quickly became a rising star, but sales didn’t go up, and Miller hated the scripts he was working on. When Denny O’Neill became the editor, he fired McKenzie and let Miller write the series as well, starting with issue #168. In that same issue, he introduced the character of Elektra.
Miller also brought in Stick, the Chaste, the Hand, Bullseye, the Punisher, and he increased the importance of Matt’s catholic upbringing. He became more than just a guy in a red suit that could see things with a radar sense. He was a trained fighter by one of the best masters in the world and was fighting villains that put him to the test. The Elektra saga is arguably one of the best runs in comic history. It’s also a major part of what makes the Netflix series so good.
Cox talks about Matt’s feelings at seeing Elektra again in The Defenders after having watched her die; after having failed her. Cox explains that his character knows deep down that Elektra is dead and that whoever has come back to life, this isn’t her. Yet, there is still that glimmer of hope that she can be saved — that he can save her.
This was a major part of the resurrection story in the comics: Matt’s hope and belief that she could be saved. Even when Stick was certain she was too far gone, Matt was able to purify her through his love and faith. He didn’t save her life, but he saved her soul. Cox talks about that conflict inside of Matt. He talks about how he is different from the other heroes. That at the end of the night, when Daredevil is done fighting and the bad guys are done…he doesn’t celebrate. He goes home to the solitude and loneliness of his life. That, while Jessica Jones uses alcohol to cope, Matt uses his Catholicism.
The interview shows that Cox gets that in spades. But it also shows that he is understanding it from a fans point of view as well. In the past, he didn’t understand why so many people wanted to see Daredevil in the Avengers movies. Cox didn’t grow up reading comics, so he never saw the joy in seeing heroes from multiple books come together. But when he read The Defenders script, he could see moment that he knew fans would love. And he got excited at bringing together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist — that same excitement that fans feel.