Countdown to Marvel’s Daredevil: Foggy and Karen

If you guys are anything like me, you’re probably as excited to see the supporting cast of Daredevil get their chance to shine as you are to get to see Matt Murdock in action. I have written extensively about both of these characters before – links below – but for this post, I’d like to just sum up my hopes and expectations for how they will be handled in Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix.

Foggy Nelson

In the early days of Daredevil, the big question seemed to be what poor Foggy would do without Matt. These days, the question everyone should be asking is what Matt would do without Foggy. Just as Matt has evolved as a character, becoming at once more resilient and vulnerable, Foggy has changed with the times as well, and grown into the complex character he is today.

While Foggy has developed a sense of independence and confidence, particularly over the last decade, he still harbors aspects of all the different iterations on the character we have seen to date. He is brave in spite of himself, a serious professional with a sharp mind, and a charming character who, when used to that effect, can put both humor and heart into any scene. He also continues to be the mirror in which we are able to see Matt Murdock’s reflection more clearly, in good times as well as bad. In terms of supporting characters, it doesn’t get much better than Foggy Nelson. I am sure Matt Murdock would agree.

The quote above is from the conclusion to the chapter I wrote – The Life and Times of Foggy Nelson – for the Daredevil anthology The Devil is in Details: Examining Matt Murdock and Daredevil. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Foggy Nelson. Having said that, I like some takes on the character better than others. Foggy has usually tended to be likeable character, but has not always been treated with the respect that he deserves. For much of the character’s history, Foggy was written as Matt Murdock’s inferior sidekick.

While Foggy obviously cannot match Matt’s physical prowess, there is no reason he shouldn’t be treated as Matt’s equal as a lawyer. In recent years, writers have definitely come around on this point, and these days Foggy is written not only as a great lawyer, but as a crucial part of Matt’s support system.

From what I read in one of the reviews I only glanced at, it appears that Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson will not be the bumbling fool of yesteryear, but much closer to what we’ve come to expect from writers like Bendis and Brubaker. One thing I’m interested to find out, though, is how the creators and actors of the Netflix show will be able to create a genuine bond between the characters of Matt and Foggy while dealing with a configuration of characters and secret identities that we associate with a bygone era.

I’ve often pointed to Foggy’s finally learning about Matt’s secret, late in volume 1, as a pivotal moment for both characters. The Netlix series, however uses elements from early Dardevil, i.e. Matt setting up shop with Foggy and Karen – the latter being clueless (at least initially) about the fact that Matt is more than he appears – while obviously drawing inspiration from more recent runs, that of Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev in particular.

The deception inherent in the ways Matt Murdock is forced to downplay his remaining heightened senses is something I have reason to return to in my next post, but for now I’m just pointing out that handling Matt and Foggy’s relationship in a way that does not make a fool of Foggy is one of those challenges that the “Dareflix” team is going to have to rise to, in order to do right by Foggy. I hope, and believe, they will succeed in this regard.

Karen Page

I’m really interested to see what the coming Daredevil show will do with Karen. There has already been plenty to suggest that Karen will not be the picture of pure innocence she was during Daredevil’s Silver Age era. I think it was actor Deborah Ann Woll herself who said of the character she’s playing: “Karen Page is trouble.”

The comic book version of Karen went on to have a pretty startling character arc, leaving Matt and Foggy in New York to become an actress in Los Angeles, and then on from there into considerably darker territory. She ended up performing in pornographic movies, got hooked on drugs, and then fell to an ultimate low-point when she betrayed her greatest love for a fix. Fortunately, that was not the end. Karen finally found redemption, got her life back together and reunited with Matt. Twice. When she died at the hands of Bullseye, a creative move still considered controversial, she at least died a hero’s death.

With that kind of background, there are so many elements for the show’s creators to choose from for the Karen we’re going to get to see less than a week from today. Karen appears to be in trouble right from the start, which is how she ends up meeting “proto-Daredevil” to begin with, and I think it may be right to assume that she will be attracting all kinds of trouble along the way. It seems clear that the creators behind Marvel’s Daredevil for Netflix are aiming for complexity and shades of gray in the telling of these characters’ stories, and Karen seems primed for that kind of approach. I’m really curious to see where that will take us.

In conclusion, I think the casting choices for both of these characters are spot on. Deborah Ann Woll has a girl next door kind of appeal that I think is just right for Karen, and Elden Henson has already been mentioned by some reviewers as an example of the show’s great casting. Bring it on!

Links to previous posts about Foggy and Karen

What do you guys think? As always, feel free to dive in and comment away!

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

2 comments

  1. May I just say that I love that concluding paragraph you wrote? Foggy has become one of my all-time favorite supporting characters in a relatively short period of time. Can’t wait to see what the show does with him (and Karen).

  2. And… you win. I’ve just ordered the book. I’m getting too many DD fic ideas and I need more references. I’m sure it will occupy a place of honor in my disorganized piles, close to my Daily Planet Guide to Gotham City, The Physics of Superheroes, and The Deadly Doses: A Writer’s Guide to Poisons.

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