The Man Without Fear’s archnemesis will finally make their MCU debut in Daredevil: Born Again. No, not Kingpin; Vincent D’Onofrio has already mastered that part. And no, we don’t mean Stilt-Man, who hasn’t lumbered into live-action yet.
We’re referring to the master assassin Bullseye. Deadline reports that Wilson Bethel will join the cast of Daredevil: Born Again, which hopefully means fans will finally get the chance to see Bullseye done right in live action.
Of course, Bullseye has been portrayed on screen before. The 2003 movie Daredevil stuffed the screen with too many characters, including Colin Farrell as Bullseye. Writer and director Mark Steven Johnson didn’t take the most subtle approach, and basically let Farrell do whatever he wanted as the man who couldn’t miss. As a result, Farrell played Bullseye as a nervous man who didn’t take joy in killing as much as he did it to gain a bit of peace from anyone who got on his nerves.
That’s an interesting take, but it didn’t work in the mess of the film ,and outside of the comics version sporting the target-scar on his forehead (a gift of the terrible Kevin Smith limited series Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target), most people forgot about Farrell’s interpretation.
In the surprisingly strong third season of Daredevil on Netflix, Wilson Bethel played Benjamin “Dex” Pointdexer as an unstable FBI agent who gets manipulated by Fisk into hunting Daredevil. Dex has perfect aim and does become obsessed with Daredevil, but outside of that, he bares little resemblance to the Bullseye of the comics.
Readers know very little about Bullseye’s backstory and, in fact, his real name has never been revealed, outside of the first name “Lester.” And it doesn’t matter. Bullseye is a force of nature, a madman who likes to kill because he’s really, really good at it. That sounds like another psychopath in the vein of the Joker, which have become a tired and unshackling trope in genre fiction. But while he does get written as a pseudo-Joker, Bullseye makes the most sense as an arrogant villain in the vein of Lex Luthor or Doctor Doom.
Bullseye can do things that no one else can do. He has perfect aim, a level of athleticism that not even professional sports can properly recognize. The only way that Bullseye gets the respect and fear that he feels he deserves is by working as an assassin. Arrogance drives him, the belief that his abilities set him above the average person, a fact he proves every time he relishes in killing his challengers.
Bethel did a great job playing Dex in Daredevil. He made for a believable and even sympathetic figure, a person with incredible talent but a deep-seated need for acceptance that compelled him to stalk a colleague at the FBI and, eventually, fall for Fisk’s manipulations. Dex is an interesting villain, but he’s not the villain from the comics. He never even put on the Bullseye costume, choosing instead to wear Daredevil’s suit during a notable action scene.
The casting of Bethel — along with the return of Jon Bernthal, Elden Henson, and Deborah Ann Woll — suggests that Daredevil: Born Again will practically be a fourth season of the Netflix series. The MCU has largely done a great job of either faithfully adapting or even improving upon their characters from the comics. Hopefully, they’ll hit the target once again.
No release date has been set for Daredevil: Born Again.