NOTE: We originally ran this in April of 2015 when Daredevil season one premiered on Netflix. It has been updated...a lot.
Marvel's Daredevil Netflix TV series may feel completely different from other Marvel Universe projects, but make no mistake, it exists firmly within those confines. As a result, it's positively loaded with references to, not only other Marvel movies and TV shows, but classic Daredevil comics, too. We're going to try and nail down all of the important ones.
We found roughly 100 cool things spread across Daredevil's thirteen episodes. We're always hunting for more, and this article can still be updated if we missed anything important. Anything that readers have found and posted in the comments or tweeted at me gets added once I verify it.
Because this is a long article, it's broken up over several pages. So if you don't see what you're looking for on one page, keep clicking. Here's a quick guide to save you a little time if you've been here before and are looking for specific episode notes:
For episode 1, just stay on this page.
For episode 2 click here.
For notes on episodes 3, 4, and 5 click here.
For notes on episodes 6, 7, 8, and 9 click here.
And for notes on episodes 10, 11, 12, and 13 click here.
I have tried to keep spoilers for later episodes out of the earlier ones, so if you just want to refer to this as you go through the series, you should be able to do so with confidence.
Feel free to offer corrections, suggestions, and point out ones you think we might have missed.
We'd better start at the beginning...and just in case you've forgotten, this is the very definition of spoiler-heavy. There are nothing but Daredevil spoilers awaiting you. Last chance to get out and read our spoiler-free review instead!
Now, let's get going with episode 1...
- This may seem a silly way to kick things off, but stick with me. You see Matt Murdock's unfortunate blinding right up front, right? Imagine that toxic sludge making its way into the sewers of New York City and mutating four turtles and a rat. No, seriously, the Daredevil origin was a major inspiration for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics!
- Matt is nine years old here. In most versions of the story in the comics, Matt was a teenager (15 if you ask Frank Miller and friends). I suppose it's not that important, but you came here looking for weird trivia, right? There you go.
All that aside, this is a pretty faithful recreation of, at least in spirit, the basic origin story from Daredevil #1 (1963) by Stan Lee and Bill Everett.
- The priest who Matt is confessing to is referred to as “Father Lantom” in the press materials. He's a character who has appeared in The Runaways comics, and who has connections to Cloak and Dagger. He's not a major player, or even a supporting one, but it's pretty cool that they at least named him after a guy who has been around in Marvel Comics. By the way, The Runaways should totally be Marvel's next TV series.
- The main bad guy in the pier fight is Turk Barrett. Turk is a small-timer who has been hanging around the Daredevil world since Daredevil #69 back in 1970. He even showed up in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk TV movie (Daredevil's first foray into live-action), and the director’s cut of the Daredevil movie (where he was played by Coolio where he was not played by Coolio...sorry about that, but Coolio's character was a friend of Turk's, so Turk does get around). Basically, as far as non-super villains go, he's got an impressive pedigree. I guess.
- The fight on the pier (including Turk) is mighty similar to events that took place in Daredevil #159 (which came out in 1979). That little skirmish didn't involve human trafficking, but it did involve Turk Barrett getting his ass kicked by Daredevil, as well as DD knocking a bullet away with his billy club. It was also the second issue of Frank Miller's legendary run as Daredevil artist.
- This has been talked about ad nauseum (including by me) since we saw our very first picture of the Daredevil costume revealed, but his black outfit here is very much influenced by Frank Miller's expanded Daredevil origin story, The Man Without Fear. Also, his first foray in the black costume in that comic involved him taking down a ring of human traffickers, so there's another little way into the comics for you.
- There's one other neat thing about the black Daredevil costume, though. Den of Geek writer Gavin Jasper pointed out to me its similarity to Iron Fist's mask. Since Iron Fist will be the fourth Marvel Netflix series, we have to wonder if Daredevil's appearance here helps influence that down the road.
- “The incident” that people keep referring to, the one that makes the MCU Hell's Kitchen a crime-ridden, run-down area (as opposed to the ridiculous rich person haven it is in the real world), is the big battle in The Avengers. It's a nice touch, indicating that the property damage and general chaos of that movie's climax had lasting consequences that couldn't be explored in the main films.
This series takes place about 18 months after the events of The Avengers. I feel like most of the Marvel Universe kind of takes place in "real time" so this may occur before the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I need to verify that.
- Wesley is another one of those non-super supervillain types who has been around the Daredevil block. He made his first appearance in Daredevil #227 (1986), by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, as part of the incredible Daredevil: Born Again story. Basically, if you want to know what Daredevil season 3 or 4 should be, just go read Born Again.
- The "Mr. Rigoletto" Wesley refers to is Kingpin’s predecessor in the comics, as well. Three guesses about how Kingpin came to power. Here's a hint: Mr. Rigoletto didn't retire to Florida. There was another, even earlier, "Kingpin," as well. His name was Alexander Bont, and he's the subject of a terrific story by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev...but I'd be surprised if they ever mention him on this show. Maybe someday.
- Foggy's line about how “if there's a stunning woman with questionable character” around, Matt Murdock will end up with her is pretty much true of all of his major love interests. Matt loved the crazy (and doomed) Elektra (who I imagine we'll meet in Daredevil season 2), Black Widow (it would be great if they can hint that Matt has dated Natasha at some point in Daredevil season 2), and a slew of other ladies with some issues.
Sadly, this includes Karen Page, who is not nearly as innocent as Deborah Ann Woll makes her out to be in these early episodes.
- The meeting of nasty baddies includes Leland Owsley (played by Bob Gunton). He's the crotchety dude with the glasses (who has his back turned to us in the above photo). Owsley is known to comic fans as The Owl, but I don't think we're going to see him make the jump to proper supervillainy any time soon. For an added piece of comic book lore, before Leland Owsley became a supervillain, he was a crooked financial wizard...just like the guy we meet in this episode!
- Mr. Nobu is probably a reference to Kagenobu Yoshioka, the man credited with founding Marvel Comics' favorite ninja clan The Hand back in the 16th century. More on that in the notes for a later episode...
- By the way, in the opening credits of every single episode, they thank both Stan Lee and Bill Everett. I know everybody always makes a fuss over Stan Lee, but he only co-created these characters and never actually drew a single panel. It's nice to see Marvel prominently acknowledging Bill Everett, who not only co-created Daredevil, but also created Namor, the Sub-Mariner. He's one of the great artists of the early eras of comics. (Thanks to DoG writer Marc Buxton for keeping me honest)
Now, keep going to the next page for our notes on Daredevil episode 2...