The two-year hold that Netflix had on “Daredevil” has expired and now the character will return to Marvel Studios but what will happen next?
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
If you paid attention to Twitter on Sunday, Nov. 29, you might have seen a trending hash tag labeled #SaveDaredevil, which was an impassioned plea from fans of cancelled Netflix series in hopes that show could be rescued now that the rights to the character have reverted back to Marvel Studios.
It’s been well documented that “Daredevil” along with the other three main shows that previously aired on Netflix — “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and “Iron Fist” — were all cancelled but the streaming service maintained the rights to those characters for two years after the series ended.
The expiration date for “Daredevil” was Nov. 29 with longtime fans of the series wanting Marvel to resurrect the show now that the character has returned home again.
Unfortunately as much as #SaveDaredevil was a valiant effort, it seems highly unlikely that Marvel Studios will look to bring back that series for a fourth season.
There are a number of reasons why but probably the biggest one being the cast was released from their contracts some time ago and rejuvenating the series would require Marvel Studios to attempt to gather everybody back up again, sign new deals and hope that they could put the same team back in place again.
For instance, “Daredevil” star Charlie Cox is currently in production on a new series called “Kin,” where he’s starring alongside “Game of Thrones” alum Aiden Gillen. Meanwhile, Vincent D’Onofrio, who portrayed Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin, has gone onto do several series since “Daredevil” ended including “Ratched” on Netflix as well as “Godfather of Harlem” on Starz.
Obviously with enough money and means it’s still possible that Marvel could put the whole team back together again but it just seems unlikely to happen at this stage of the game.
So with that said, now that Marvel Studios has regained the rights to “Daredevil” what will be next for “The Man Without Fear”?
A Feature Film
While getting the entire cast of “Daredevil” to return for another season of the show seems like a long shot, how about a new feature film focused on the hero of Hell’s Kitchen?
It seems much more plausible to get at least the majority of the cast back for a project like that, which would maintain the familiarity of the audience that loved the show on Netflix while also introducing “Daredevil” to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And let’s be honest, the character deserves a second chance after the original “Daredevil” movie starring Ben Affleck was just an unmitigated disaster.
While the “Daredevil” series on Netflix did manage to tackle a few key storylines from the comic book history of the character, there’s still a lot more material to mine through for a film, especially with a bigger budget that you’d typically receive for a television series.
It also gives Marvel another franchise to lean upon with a well-known character as the studio moves beyond the original “Avengers” franchise with at least Robert Downey Jr. no longer anchoring the films as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
That’s not saying Daredevil could replace that character by any stretch of the imagination but fans probably know more about ol’ hornhead than identifying a single person about to appear in the upcoming film “The Eternals” due out in 2021.
Keep Some of the Characters for Random Appearances
Another option that would certainly appease fans of the “Daredevil” series would be to at least maintain a few of the key characters from the show to then crossover into films.
It goes without saying that Charlie Cox was a spot on choice to portray both Matt Murdock and his vigilante alter ego Daredevil. It’s really hard to imagine a better choice in that role and Marvel would be ludicrous to recast it, especially with Cox only 37 years old with plenty of time left to play the character in the film universe.
Marvel would also be insane not to find a way to keep Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin after he played that character with such quiet rage for three consecutive seasons. What made D’Onofrio so good was that he was able to display patience with a calculating mind for Wilson Fisk while still being able to transform into a menacing gangster as Kingpin. D’Onofrio could easily carry an entire Marvel film as the main villain and it’s tough to see anybody doing a better job playing Kingpin than him.
Supporting characters such as Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page and Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson were also integral parts to the show with such deep ties to Matt Murdock/Daredevil.
It would be an easy sell to see Cox return as Matt Murdock working out of his law office alongside Henson as Foggy and Woll as Karen as they team up to help somebody from the Marvel Cinematic Universe stuck in a legal jam.
There was even an early rumor that perhaps at least Cox would return as Daredevil for the upcoming “Spider-Man” sequel starring Tom Holland that would see him represent Peter Parker in court. It seems unlikely that’s actually happening but then again anything is possible.
A Brand New Series
Considering the entire cast is no longer under contract, it’s tough to imagine Disney and Marvel would be able to put everybody back together again for a resurrection of the old series but what about a new show instead?
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that key components couldn’t return just like the possible appearances in upcoming films. Marvel could try to lock up Cox, Woll and Henson and then attempt to secure D’Onofrio in a guest starring role.
The biggest problem with a new “Daredevil” series is where the show would end up.
All of the upcoming Marvel Studios shows — “Falcon and Winter Soldier,” “WandaVision,” “Loki,” “She-Hulk,” “Ms. Marvel,” and “Moon Knight” — are all headed to Disney+. While it’s entirely possibly that one or more of those shows will push the envelope, there’s little chance that any of them would go beyond the typical PG-13 rating that Marvel films typically receive.
While “Daredevil” wasn’t exactly an R-rated series, there was definitely a more intense level of violence and that might be a tougher sell for the Disney+ audience.
Of course Hulu remains a viable option with Marvel already putting “Helstrom” on that streaming service but it’s a little harder to see a popular show like “Daredevil” being separated from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Unvierse on television.
The last and hopefully least viable option would be Marvel putting “Daredevil” on hold for a couple of years while figuring out what they want to do with the character. That time off would also allow the rabid fanbase hoping the original television series would return to let go of those actors once and for all with a new cast eventually taking over for either a “Daredevil” film or show.
That might seem somewhat crazy considering Marvel could at the very least retain Cox to return as Matt Murdock/Daredevil for a few appearances in upcoming movies but the studio may want to just start fresh with an entirely new look for the character.
Remember, Marvel Studios has “owned” the X-Men and Fantastic Four for nearly two years already yet Kevin Feige hasn’t even hinted at when those characters might actually show up in the film universe. Outside of Ryan Reynolds returning as Deadpool, it’s assumed that every other major role from past X-Men films will be recast under the Marvel Studios banner.
There have been rumors that perhaps “WandaVision” and then by extension the upcoming sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” could be the entry point for mutants to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe but that’s still just speculation for now. Add to that, the “Doctor Strange” sequel isn’t even slated for release until 2022 so that would almost be a four year gap between Marvel taking ownership of the X-Men before actually introducing any of them into the films.
The same thing could happen to “Daredevil” and eventually characters like Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage once their rights return to Marvel.
It’s entirely possible the studio will shelve all of those characters for the immediate future until there’s a right time and place to introduce them either on television or through the films. That’s certainly the least popular option for fans of the “Daredevil” series but there’s a better than average chance that’s actually what will happen.