It’s been more than two years since Marvel’s Daredevil aired new episodes, although Charlie Cox’s blind superhero played a major role in last year’s ensemble miniseries The Defenders. Plot and casting details for the long-awaited third season have been kept tightly under wraps, and none more so than for Wilson Bethel’s Agent Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter, whose role has been so shrouded in mystery that early promotional materials called him simply “FBI Agent.”
However, at a New York Comic Con panel Saturday, Marvel executive producer Jeph Loeb acknowledged that Dex’s real identity is “maybe the worst-kept secret in the history of Marvel,” before adding that Dex’s story is really “an origin story for one of the more iconic characters.” Bethel then confirmed that Dex will ultimately become Bullseye, the fan-favorite Marvel Comics villain.
Prior to becoming Bullseye, Dex will develop a complex relationship with the franchise’s other iconic villain, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). “We’re exploring how does Fisk take somebody who could become a productive member of society, and turn him into this iconic villain?” Bethel said.
In characteristic fashion, Fisk will exploit Dex’s emotional instability and traumatic past in order to control him. “Fisk pulls this psychological manipulation on him, and worms his way into Dex’s life in a way that will feel real, and feel like it could actually happen,” Olsen said.
Bethel added, “It gets very, very weird.”
When season three launches October 19, helmed by new showrunner Erik Oleson, it will also focus heavily on the show’s roots and core cast, fleshing out the characters of Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy (Elden Henson). “I’m a huge fan of dramas that treat every single character like the hero of their own story,” Oleson said. “The Karen and Foggy storylines play a major role in [the story’s] prescription for how to defeat fear, and the narcissistic tyrants who would use fear against us, to divide us against one another.” Henson revealed that Foggy’s father and brother will be introduced early in the season.
Karen, meanwhile, is refusing to believe that Matt is really dead. “Considering how things were left between Karen and Matt at the end of season two and Defenders, there’s a lot of guilt and a feeling that things are unresolved,” Deborah Ann Woll said. “Karen’s never really had a home, as long as we’ve known her on this series, and with Foggy off living his glamorous life, I think I feel really adrift. If I allowed myself to believe that Matt was gone, there would just be nothing. I’m holding onto that as hard as I can, because the alternative is just too much to take.”
Alongside character development, the new season will also feature the show’s most ambitious action sequence to date. “You guys like the hallway fight in season one?” Olseon asked, referring to a memorable scene from the show’s second episode. As the crowd cheered, he added: “Yeah. We top that. There is a sequence this season which I was not sure we were going to be able to pull off, which required me making a phone call to Jeph Loeb and some others to ask permission to stop filming for a day just so that the crew could rehearse an action sequence for one take. That was a brave choice, to allow us to do it.”
Season three picks up with its hero in a dark place following the climax of The Defenders, which saw a Manhattan building collapse on him and the love of his life Elektra (Elodie Yung). Severely wounded both physically and emotionally, Matt is hiding out and recuperating at a church, but his faith in God — along with his moral code — has never been on shakier ground.
“When I read the pilot, I thought we were meeting a man who was really rock bottom,” Cox said, “and then episode two happened. And then episode nine happened. And then season two happened. And then The Defenders happened.”
Despite all the previous low points, though, “season three is Matt at an all-time low,” Cox says. Enter one of the season’s newcomers: Joanne Whalley as the enigmatic Sister Maggie, a nun who helps Matt as he convalesces at the church.
“I got to explore a new side to Matt, a new vulnerability that we haven’t really touched on before,” Cox said of the relationship.