Daredevil season 3 star Charlie Cox tells Hypable about the central role of fear (and something else) in Matt Murdock’s next adventure.
As fans prepare to dive in to Daredevil season 3 this weekend, it’s helpful to keep an eye out for the larger themes of Matt Murdock’s story. In a season dense with complex villains and profound ideas, a few important concepts stood out in particular to the cast and crew, defining this dark adventure.
For star Charlie Cox, that idea is fear; and certainly, there is no limit to the terrors that stalk Daredevil season 3. (Murdock’s brush with death in the Defenders, the reemergence of Wilson Fisk, the new wildcard of Agent Poindexter, and the ways in which each of these impact Matt’s inner circle, just to name a few.) But Cox is quick to note that the concept of fear exists in counterpoint with another crucial theme of Daredevil.
“Faith,” he says, is equally important in a season where moments of grace come few and far between.
“If I’m trying to think of the whole piece,” Cox muses, the season revolves around the idea that “life is sometimes broken down into decisions. And with each decision there is a path of faith and a path of fear. There is a choice, often, that is the fear-based option, which might be like, ‘If I don’t do this, this might happen, and its a bad thing.’ And then there’s the faith-based option which is, ‘If I make this decision, this is because I’m thinking in terms of things will unfold into goodness.'”
“I think a lot of the characters find themselves at that crossroads, multiple times in the season,” Cox says. “[Their] next decision is going to be a vital one. And it’s gonna be a fear-based decision or a faith-based decision. And some of us make the faith-based ones and some of us make the fear-based ones. And that kind of ultimately defines who we are.”
Incoming showrunner Erik Oleson feels similarly about the major themes of Daredevil season 3 — in fact, he put his thoughts out for all to see.
“What I framed on the writer’s room wall was, ‘You can only be free when you face your fears, because your fears are what insulate you,'” Oleson says.
“Every one of the characters this season is afraid of something. They may not be aware of what they’re afraid of, and in fact, very often, are not aware of what they are afraid of. But that informs the decisions that they make. And only when they are aware of and confront their fears can they overcome them and be free.”
Oleson says that the idea of confronting fear was particularly important to him in the context of current social and political change.
“That was the underlying message that allowed me to speak to people, who I think, are behaving in a fear-based way of the world right now,” he says. “[People] who are maybe voting for people based on fear, or behaving in the world in ways that are not their best selves because they are afraid. And because there are people in the world who recognize the power in playing to those fears.”
Daredevil, of course, is as much a tale of redemption as it is one of darkness. Though its bread and butter may be violence and evil, those unhappy motifs also allow the series to more profoundly highlight moments of triumph, love, and perseverance.
Daredevil season 3 takes many dark turns, and fans should be prepared for loss and pain. But by keeping an eye on the broader themes of the season — fear, yes, but also overcoming fear and instead choosing faith — they might be the first to spot any brighter lights ahead.
Daredevil season 3 comes to Netflix on Friday, Oct. 19.