Disney needs to give us ‘Daredevil’ season 4: How it could happen
Perhaps the biggest drawback of Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Studios – for MCU fans, at least – was the death of Netflix’s Marvel shows. While we all rejoiced at having the House of Mouse putting its might behind the most successful superhero franchise yet, we also had to suddenly mourn the disappearance of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Punisher, Iron Fist (yes, even Iron Fist) and, of course, Daredevil from future outings.
But now, hope is on the horizon. The rights to the Netflix characters have started to revert to Marvel/Disney. First, Iron Fist on October 12, 2020 (calm down, it gets better) then Luke Cage on October 19. And just a few days ago, the rights to Matt Murdock himself, the Man Without Fear went back to Marvel/Disney on November 29.
Two years after Daredevil’s final Netflix adventure, the character is free to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When Marvel met Netflix
Back in 2015, Daredevil spearheaded Netflix’s development of a Marvel corner in its ever-expanding catalog. Its success augured a bright future for the rest of the Marvel properties debuting on the streaming platform over the following years. And while Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist never quite matched its critical acclaim, they generally felt of a piece with its dark, gritty tone.
The show, anchored by fan-favorite performances from Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page and Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, explored the underbelly of the Marvel Universe. It stayed far away from the colorful adventures of the Avengers – though it wasn’t afraid to reference them occasionally – and dealt with mob bosses & serial killers.
Daredevil ran for three seasons on Netflix and helped launch The Defenders miniseries and the final addition to the Netflix/Marvel universe, The Punisher, which was probably the second best-received Marvel show on the platform. Then, after a season which most fans deem the best of them all, Daredevil was cancelled.
Breaking up is hard to do
While nobody can really say what exactly caused the cancellation of Daredevil and the other Marvel shows on Netflix, it’s hard to ignore how it correlated with Disney’s Marvel takeover and the launch of Disney+ – a clear competitor to Netflix in the streaming wars.
Since Disney owns the rights to the rest of the MCU, in addition to Netflix being unable to expand their Marvel corner, their Marvel shows would basically become advertisements for Disney’s upcoming Marvel endeavors. As if that wasn’t enough, Disney went on to remove all their content from Netflix’s catalog, including the MCU movies. It was, for all intents and purposes, a breakup.
Despite the severed relationship between Marvel & Netflix, the streaming service still owned the rights to Daredevil and the other Defenders, as well as The Punisher. It just wasn’t interested in doing anything with them anymore. And Disney/Marvel couldn’t do anything with them either, not until two years passed from the last time Netflix used the characters, as determined by the terms of the original Marvel/Netflix deal.
Hence the magic date of November 29, 2020 when it comes to Daredevil. Matt Murdock’s time-out is over. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting to see what Disney decides to do with him and his supporting cast.
On one hand, there is what Disney can legally and creatively do with the character now – basically, anything they want. On the other hand, we have the practical concerns when it comes to reuniting the cast from a show that hasn’t been in production for over two years. Have Charlie Cox & company moved on? Is it too late to get the gang back together?
For what it’s worth, Vincent D’Onofrio seems to be game. Despite currently having a big role in the Netflix series Ratched, the actor joined the recent online movement to revive Daredevil. Not to mention, rumors of Marvel starting negotiations with Charlie Cox have been flying fast and furiously around the internet for months.
There are other things to consider, though. Remember the dark, gritty tone we mentioned earlier? It might not mesh very well with the rest of the Disney+ catalog. The violence & morally gray areas that have become a vital part of Daredevil might be its biggest obstacle in joining the rest of the MCU. Would Disney “sanitize” the show in order to bring it home? Would we want them to?
Perhaps the most likely solution to how the Netflix version of Daredevil fits in Disney’s version of the MCU is to reintroduce the character in guest spots in the upcoming movies and TV shows. It would make it easier to work around the cast’s schedules and it would also allow Disney to gauge what it can do with Matt Murdock before committing to a new show in their already-packed lineup.
I mean, we all know Peter Parker is going to need a lawyer after the cliffhanger at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, right?