Fan Outcry Changes Course of Disney’s ‘Daredevil’, No Longer a “Reboot”

in Marvel

MCU CANON; Daredevil Movie Collage. Daredevil on the left and the Defenders on the right

Credit: Inside the Magic

More than a decade has passed since The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Studios, a move that followed the triumph of Marvel Entertainment’s Iron Man (2008), a film that marked Robert Downey Jr.’s return to the spotlight. Since then, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has made remarkable strides, notably with The Avengers (2012), a film that redefined the superhero genre. The first three phases of the MCU (called the Infinity Saga) ultimately reached their highly anticipated culmination in Phase Three with the enormous popularity of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Josh Brolin as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War
Credit: Marvel Studios

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) prepares for Phase Five (the second installment of the Multiverse Saga) Marvel Studios is broadening its focus to encompass various superhero teams beyond the main Avengers. According to Kevin Feige’s announcement at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, the MCU will introduce teams tasked with handling a wider range of villainous threats — spanning from “cosmic-level” to “supernatural” and “street-level” challenges.

Kevin Feige with the Avengers in the background
Credit: Inside the Magic

Leading this expansion of superhero narratives on Earth? Well, Marvel has decided that the “team leaders” will be none other than Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock/Daredevil. Naturally, Marvel Studios needs to reintroduce the character of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen to current MCU audiences, as the character has been absent from the franchise since the Netflix Marvel Daredevil (2015) series was left hanging in 2018.

daredevil charlie cox
Credit: Marvel Studios/Netflix

Related: ‘Daredevil: Born Again’ Explained: What We Might See In Marvel’s Revival

However, what’s been a spot of contention amongst fans of the Daredevil franchise is just how Marvel Studios is willing to bring in these “extinct” characters from the Netflix TV show days into the Disney+ (Disney Plus) Marvel fold, and the modern MCU at large.

Charlie Cox’s Daredevil/Matt Murdock shocked fans when he appeared suddenly in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) as Spider-Man’s lawyer, officially confirming that the character was indeed canon to the main MCU timeline following the events of Avengers: Endgame. This cameo was brief, however, and merely indicated that a version of Matt Murdock existed somewhere in the main universe — but did not establish a connection to the rest of his show’s world.

Charlie Cox as Daredevil with the Born Again logo
Credit: Inside the Magic

The return of Charlie Cox’s Daredevil in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) as a cameo and love interest however, was a pivotal moment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it established a much clearer link between previous Netflix Marvel properties from The Defenders (2017) continuity and the mainline universe.

Daredevil was a part of this Defenders squad, which includes characters such as Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Coulter), and Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones), who previously had their respective solo shows on the Netflix platform. These shows have since been moved to Disney+ after their contracts expired, but remain defunct (and unmentioned) for all intents and purposes.

Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones in The Defenders
Credit: Netflix/Marvel

Adding to the hubbub was Disney and Marvel attempting to bring other major Daredevil show characters into the MCU and into current Marvel fans’ attention. Disney+ Original Hawkeye saw Daredevil’s arch-nemesis Wilson Fisk/Kingpin back on the prowl (and out of prison) as the Big Bad of Hawkeye.

Confused yet? So are Marvel and Daredevil fans. Marvel’s upcoming Daredevil: Born Again however, was promised to answer these questions.

Marvel Studios Addresses Approach to Daredevil: Born Again

It’s well known that Daredevil was a fully mature and R-rated Marvel television series, which did not shy away from openly showing the brutal violence of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen underbelly, with Daredevil frequently coming to blows with no-holds-barred gangs and the dirtiest, most inhumane crime imaginable.

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

With She-Hulk bringing out a slightly lighter side of Daredevil, fans naturally wondered if the upcoming 18-episode series Daredevil: Born Again, would tone down the mature tones of Daredevil. Marvel President Kevin Feige also went on record stating that the new Disney+ show would be “Season One, not Season Four“, indicating more of a “reboot” of the show than anything else — further worrying fans who did not want to see the heart of the show tamped down for the family friendly platform.

Charlie Cox as Daredevil in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Credit: Disney

Despite promising to feature the long-standing rivalry between Daredevil and Wilson Fisk once more, alongside the return of Jon Bernthal as the antihero Frank Castle, also known as Punisher, major changes to the show’s formula have been felt. Notable changes in the casting, such as Sandrine Holt taking on the role of Vanessa Fisk instead of the original actress Ayelet Zurer, have stirred concerns within the Marvel fan community, sparking discussions about unnecessary alterations made by Kevin Feige and his team.

Despite widespread fan protests and requests, it also appears that two major beloved characters, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), have not been included in the cast of Born Again.

However, Charlie Cox, who portrays Daredevil himself, has made appearances at conventions to reassure fans about one specific aspect of Karen Page, offering a glimmer of hope for their inclusion in the series.

Daredevil (2015), Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Karen Page (left to right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Report: Marvel Walks Back Decision, Makes Netflix Shows MCU Canon

New Information From Marvel: Born Again Is Not a Reboot?

Recent listings with the US Copyright Office has brought several interesting updates about Born Again to light.

A description of the new show has been released, which reads as follows:

Marvel Studios presents Daredevil in which longtime rivals Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) try to leave behind their darker alter-egos to serve the people of New York only to have their pasts catch up with them. In the first episode of the series we are reintroduced to the world of Daredevil.

This is a particularly interesting choice of words, as it seems like the major fan backlash to the seeming “Season One” reboot of the show instead of “Season Four” has swayed Marvel Studios’ approach to Born Again. Marvel here says Daredevil and Kingpin are “longtime rivals”, with “pasts that catch up with them”.

The first episode is also supposedly going to get audiences “reintroduced to the world of Daredevil” — which seems to indicate that previous leaks and rumors about Born Again canonizing the entire Netflix show (and The Defenders) were indeed correct.

Daredevil Born Again Leaked Photos, Matthew Murdock (left) and alter ego Daredevil (right)
Credit: Emmanuel Detres, Inside the Magic, Marvel Studios

Citing new direction from director Michael Cuesta instead of longtime Daredevil showrunner Steven DeKnight (who is not happy about Disney’s Born Again decisions), the new listing also shares an updated cast list:

Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin, Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, Margarita Levieva as Heather Glenn, Michael Gandolfini as Daniel Blade, Sandrine Holt as Vanessa Fisk, Nikki M James as Kirsten McDuffie, Genneya Walton as BB Urich, Clark Johnson as Cherry, Arty Froushan as Buck Cashman, Zabryna Guevara as Sheila Rivera.

Previously, Daredevil star Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk/Kingpin) also added his voice to the mix, stating that the show would stay true to the original show’s themes and maturity. Perhaps that is something that fans can hold onto for now, until the show (tentatively) releases in January of 2025.

Do you think Marvel Studios will truly go back on their word to make Daredevil: Born Again a proper “Season One” reboot? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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