Since Daredevil declared himself New York’s vigilante hero, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) has had his work cut out for him. As Netflix introduces the highly anticipated crossover series The Defenders on Aug. 18, Matt will find himself wrestling with the aftermath of two seasons of his solo series, plus trying to play nice with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand. So What happened to Matt before The Defenders will probably have a huge impact on the group dynamic.
At the end of Season 1 of Daredevil, Matt sent his nemesis Wilson Fisk to prison and began settling into his dual roles as both half of the law partnership of Nelson & Murdock and of the masked crimefighter, Daredevil. Foggy had discovered his best friend is a blind vigilante and audiences were also introduced to nurse extraordinaire Claire Temple, who specializes in keeping all of the Defenders alive.
Season 2's primary focus was watching Matt test his boundaries as he tried to be a true hero to Hell's Kitchen. But this was also a season of realizing his limitations. The finale ended with numerous losses for both Matt and Daredevil. Based on The Defenders trailer below, Matt will gain a few new allies in his battle against The Hand, but those losses may have changed him for good.
Matt met his match in Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, and his on-again, off-again girlfriend Elektra — both introduced in Season 2. Both Frank and Elektra walk the thin line between good and evil, and their influence affects Matt as he abuses his privilege as a lawyer and superhero. Matt’s fixation with the Punisher complicated his trial and put Frank in prison. When Matt discovered that Fisk was trying to control Frank while in the same prison, Matt paid him a visit. Naturally, the mind games between Fisk and Matt continued, which left Matt trying to control both Fisk and Frank. Consequently, Matt lost Karen and Foggy’s trust. Nelson & Murdock closed, and Foggy was hired by Jeri Hogarth's (first of Jessica Jones) law firm.
Foggy and Matt have counted on each other for years, but Matt's devotion to his Daredevil persona caused his oldest friendship to suffer. Though it was tough to watch Foggy leave Nelson & Murdock, Foggy deserved to step out of Matt's shadow. After all, Season 2 showed fans that Foggy and Matt are equally matched as lawyers, and Foggy deserves to be his own kind of hero too. But with the former friends at odds with each other, Matt may have to lean on his new friends in The Defenders.
By the time Netflix's four key Marvel heroes meet up, The Hand has only grown in power. In Season 1, Matt came face-to-face with Madame Gao and learnt of her extensive heroin operation. In Season 2, Matt subdued The Hand, but tragicaly lost Elektra in the process. Right before her death, Elektra and Matt made a promise to stay together after they defeated their foe. As the Black Sky and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, both were still working through their personal demons, but their commitment to each other seemed as thought it might survive.
In the scene below Matt and Stick stand by Elektra’s grave and Matt tries to make peace with her death. Unfortunately for Matt and the rest of New York City, the last scene in the Season 2 finale featured Elektra back in her role as Black Sky, ready to be raised from the dead for some nefarious purpose. Comic book fans — and those who watched The Defenders trailer on loop — know that Elektra is not herself when she returns, which could trigger Matt’s trauma after losing her the first time.
Officially broken by the events of Season 2, Matt put away his Daredevil suit, but not without revealing his superhero identity to Karen. Since this happened in the finale, it's unclear how Matt's confession will play out in The Defenders. But for someone who is overprotective of his secret identity, this is a big step.
When he joins forces with the rest of the Defenders, Matt may be a completely changed may, which could also affect his new decisions as Daredevil. Whether or not the vigilante has control over his guilt and trust issues still remains to be seen.