Let's be honest: Marvel loves teasing its fans. Whether it's with a post-credits tease or a carefully-placed Easter egg, the studio is constantly giving its viewers something to obsess over — and ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off back in 2008, you can find an example of this in just about everything the studio's ever made.
... but not every Marvel project takes this approach. Compared with a show like Agents of SHIELD (which heavily relied on the first Avengers film), Netflix's Daredevil series tends to avoid making any sort of overt references to Marvel's larger universe. Given that the series takes place in the middle of New York City, fans were likely expecting some sort of references between the show and the movies — but for the most part, they never came.
As it turns out, there's a reason for that: in an interview with IGN, Daredevil showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez confirmed that they've actively avoided Marvel's traditional take on Easter eggs — and they claim that it's the best way to keep fans invested in the show's story.
From Doug Petrie:
"... We want to keep it in Hell's Kitchen, I think. The example that we used a lot was 'the air conditioner doesn't work at Nelson Murdock.' And that's what we're interested in. New York is a major city that has a larger-than-life presence.
There's celebrities that live there. There are baseball stars that live there. But if you see Derek Jeter walking down the street, that's great and then you turn around and get in an argument with the guy who overcharged you for the pretzel. New Yorkers shrug this stuff off by definition and we wanted our guys to be real New Yorkers."
Sure, it's a shame that Daredevil doesn't feature quite as many nods to the MCU as other Marvel properties, but the reasoning behind Petrie's statement makes sense. If it's about keeping the story in New York City, then any obvious reference to something like Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to take away from that.
Ramirez went onto say that any references that do make it into the show have to feel genuine, or fans will realize that they're completely out-of-place:
"What made the Easter eggs in Season 1 work, and this season as well, is we built the story organically to whatever the story wanted to be and then if the opportunity came up to put in an Easter egg, holy s**t, great.
Sometimes it comes from a staff writer, sometimes it comes from an assistant, sometimes it comes from a Marvel executive or a Netflix executive. Somebody goes, 'You know what would be really cool? If we made that this.' Then you feel the connective tissues happening ... It doesn't feel like 'Oh, they're leading to this obvious connective tissue.' Or 'Oh, they're in the garage of Stark Enterprises for no reason.'"
So far, the approach has worked: the first season of Daredevil featured a few small ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it never felt distracting or random. Daredevil is clearly meant to be a relatively small slice of the MCU — and by avoiding Easter eggs for the sake of teasing fans, the team behind the show managed to pull that off.
The first season of Daredevil was a huge hit for both Marvel and Netflix — and starting next week, fans will finally know if the second season is just as good.
Daredevil returns to Netflix on March 18.