The villains in Daredevil (Netflix) seem like a loose coalition, all with separate goals but willing to work with the Kingpin in order to achieve them.

The goals of some of the villains seem obvious:

  • Leland Owlsley is in it for the money. He even

steals from the Kingpin. In hindsight, not the wisest move.

  • The Russians are also in it for the money. Fisk allows them to traffic drugs and people, and with his help they've replaced the Italian mob as the tough guys of the underworld. They are also pretty clueless and clearly expendable.

But what about the other villains?

  • What does Nobu and his clan want? This is clearly not the actual Yakuza, but some sort of mystical band of ninjas. They are invested in some sort of superweapon they call the Black Sky (which is never truly resolved or explained). But separate from the Black Sky, they are also expecting Fisk to give them some sectors of the city. They seem to be interested in some buildings/zones in particular. Why? What end goal do they have in NYC, even if it turns out Nobu's Clan is actually

The Hand from the comics?

  • Madam Gao explicitly tells Leland trading heroin was never her goal, that it was an unimportant means to something way grander. She says her blind workers blinded themselves voluntarily out of "faith" in something grander (or something like that). What was it? Faith in what? If Madam Gao is a character from the Daredevil comics, is this goal at least hinted at?

  • Wilson Fisk himself talks of "rebuilding" the city, and it's clear he is doing some kind of ultraviolent gentrification. In the process, he turns cops into murderers, and corrupts politicians and judges, demonstrably making the city even worse. So that's his goal? Forced gentrification? Seems odd for a supervillain...

What were these villains trying to achieve? Did they share Fisk's vision? Did each of them have a grand goal?

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    I think their "end games" have been left intentionally vague. We're to focus on the Kingpin and his arc for now. Perhaps season two will shed some more light on the other players.
    – Möoz
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 1:08
  • 1
    @Mooz I think so, too. From what I've read, it's likely they will be featured as villains of other Marvel TV shows. But maybe their goals were a little too vague in Daredevil. The worse culprit for me was Nobu and his Black Sky, which was spoken of as something ominous and then... nothing much happens.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


In-universe, we don't know. They leave it intentionally vague, leaving plot holes open, hint at things that could have massive impact on the plot - Madame Gao's supernatural powers, what the Black Sky is (and whether or not Stick actually killed it), the endgame of Fisk. Nobu shows up in traditional "The Hand" garb from the comics, but we don't actually know what that entails... they may go with a traditional style of the Hand from the comics, or something completely different. We don't have enough information.

Out-of-universe, it's easier to see where this is going. The MCU has been successfully using an expand-contract method to spread the story. Five superhero movies (including both Iron Man & Iron Man 2) led to them contracting into The Avengers, then expanding again into 4 movies, Agents of Shield/Agent Carter & Daredevil, then contracting into Avengers: Age of Ultron, then expanding again into a 7 movie blitz starting with Ant-Man, the continuance of Agents of SHIELD, as well Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Damage Control.

Daredevil is based in Hell's Kitchen, not too far from where the invasion of The Avengers took place. There are hints and references to the Iron Fist storyline, and the Jessica Jones (and therefore, Luke Cage) storyline also takes place within the same basic area due to the interactions with Claire Temple, the nurse. We know from the trailers that Fisk doesn't stay down, and that Elektra is being introduced in season 2, and her general ninja-ness will probably tie into either Madame Gao or Nobu... or both. Since this is the MCU, there may be ties to the Inhumans... or not, since Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Kilgrave, and Luke Cage have abilities not tied to the Terrigen Mists.

On a meta level, Daredevil's closest analog is actually the Green Arrow, on the Arrow TV show. The villain in either case has a deep tie to the area, wants to save that area from the dregs of corruption, and wants to do that by effectively destroying it first. Arrow spoilers:

Malcom Merlyn attempts to complete the Undertaking on the Narrows of Starling City by using the earthquake generator, while Damien Darhk wants that section of Star City to be ruled by him and HIVE... both feel that the best way to rebuild the city is by destroying the corrupted parts first.

It's also the response of the League of Shadows to Gotham in Batman Begins... and while Daredevil is an MCU property rather than a DCU, it's not a huge leap to think that Fisk's intention to restore Hell's Kitchen is in the same vein. Madame Gao is using him as much as he is using her, and it's clear that Nobu and the Hand had other plans, which seem to have failed spectacularly... although all of this may be just be part of an overarching plan by someone larger and darker in the shadows.

  • 1
    “expanding again into a 7 movie blitz starting with Ant-Man” — this from pedant’s corner, Ant-Man is apparently the end of a blitz, rather than the beginning. Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 18:10
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    While Ant Man is technically in "Marvel Phase 2" release schedule... but chronologically it is the first of seven movies before the next Avengers movie. That is, the 'individual' movies between Avengers: Long Weekend of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War... which are Ant-Man, Cap America: Civil War, Dr. Strange, Guardians 2, Spiderman 42, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.
    – Vogie
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 18:24
  • +1 Interesting! Especially the out-of-universe part of your answer, I hadn't thought of this. However... I understand Madame Gao was using Fisk, but what the hell was her goal? At least with Nobu we get some hint in the form of the Black Sky, but what did Gao want? Is there any hint from the comics or anything?
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 19:47
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    @AndresF.: I think she wanted to sell heroin and kick-ass. Mission accomplished! I also think Fisk thinks corrupt minions are fine, as long as he controls them. Bad guys don’t think they’re being bad. Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 9:34
  • 1
    @PaulD.Waite "I'm here to sell heroin and kick ass, and I'm all outta heroin"? :P
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 13:36

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