Disney Axes Marvel Project After Dismal Screenings

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Kevin Feige next to Daredevil, who has a red line through him

Credit: Inside the Magic

It’s a tough time for Marvel – and it just got even tougher.

Once untouchable at the box office, the past few years have taken their toll on Marvel Studios. While it’s had a handful of hits in the wake of Avengers: Endgame (2019) – namely Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 (2023) – many of its projects have underperformed with both fans and critics.

Marvel characters in the background of the Disney+ logo
Credit: Disney

There are multiple explanations behind this downturn, such as superhero fatigue and a general decline in MCU interest post-Endgame.

However, one of the biggest factors is that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has just become too complicated. With the launch of Disney+, audiences don’t just get new Marvel content every now and then – they receive a steady stream all year round.

Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) look at each other in 'Wandavision'
Credit: Marvel

ٍRelated: This Is Why ‘The Marvels’ Is Destined To Flop

Since the release of WandaVision – which remains one of the MCU’s best-received series – in 2021, Marvel has released nine shows. That includes a whopping five in 2021 alone, where there was only one month (May) without a single new Marvel episode on the streaming service.

Long story short, audiences are exhausted. The Walt Disney Company is well aware of the growing ambivalence towards what was once its crown jewel. Earlier this year, CEO Bob Iger claimed that Marvel didn’t know what it was doing in television and confirmed that Disney planned to focus on quality over quantity from now on.

If the most recent announcement is anything to go by, Disney is staying true to its word. According to The Hollywood Reporter, one of Marvel’s upcoming projects – Daredevil: Born Again – has been axed to start again from the ground up.

Daredevil (Charlie Cox) beating up/confronting Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio)
Credit: Marvel

When production paused due to the Writer’s Strike in June, executives such as Kevin Feige reportedly reviewed the existing Daredevil: Born Again footage and concluded that the show didn’t work. It had already filmed fewer than half of its planned 18 episodes at the time.

In September, Marvel quietly fired the show’s head writers, Chris Ord and Matt Corman, as well as the show’s directors. The plan allegedly is to now give the series a total creative reboot, bringing in new writers and directors for the project.

Daredevil: Born Again was set to serve as a follow-up to the Netflix series that wrapped up in 2018 after three seasons. After Disney announced production of its own Marvel shows, there were questions as to whether actors previously cast as superheroes by Netflix would be canon in the MCU.

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Credit: Marvel

However, it was later confirmed that Charlie Cox would return in the role of Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer who fights crime by night as the masked hero Daredevil, and Vincent D’Onofrio as his nemesis Wilson Fisk. Both have already made their MCU debuts in other projects, such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye.

The show is also set to see the return of Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle (AKA The Punisher), but was said to have written out the characters of Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson).

Karen Page in 'Daredevil'
Credit: Marvel

Marvel’s issue with the Disney+ take of Daredevil was reportedly its extreme divergence from the original Netflix show. The Hollywood Reporter claims that it was more of a legal procedural, with Cox not appearing in costume until episode four and most of the Netflix version’s violence and action missing completely. 

Moving forward, Marvel reportedly plans to keep some of the existing scenes, assign a showrunner, and align the show closer with its predecessor (as was rumored earlier this month), all in an effort to reorient its approach to TV shows by “marry[ing] the Marvel culture with the traditional TV culture.”

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil
Credit: Marvel

Related: ‘Daredevil: Born Again’ – Returning Character To Play a “Major Role”

This may not be exclusive to Marvel. Variety previously reported that the Disney+ sequel series to The Princess and the Frog (2009) – known as Tiana – has switched its head writer and director. Stella Meghie was replaced by Joyce Sherri, sparking fears that the long-awaited return for Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) and Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) was also in trouble.

For now, Daredevil: Born Again has allegedly delayed its Disney+ debut until 2025. Considering the overwhelmingly negative reviews that met Marvel’s latest Disney+ show, Secret Invasion, this may not be a bad thing. It’ll take a lot to set Marvel back on the right path right now – but considering the amount of time and money it seems Disney is willing to put into its efforts to do so, the future may be brighter than expected.

Are you excited for Daredevil: Born Again to debut on Disney+? Let us know in the comments!

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