How Marvel Studios Can Continue Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’

Following the news that Marvel Studios is bringing Daredevil back on Disney+, we examine how it can pick-up where the Netflix series left off.
netflix daredevil

Daredevil lives. After years of wishful thinking on the part of both fans and star Charlie Cox, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will bring Daredevil back to life with a brand new season of television on Disney+. The news was just made official by the outlet Variety, which also revealed writers Matt Corman and Chris Ord have been tapped by Marvel Studios to tackle the story. Almost immediately after, The Hollywood Reporter let slip that the show would be a “new but continued series” from the critically acclaimed three-season run the character previously enjoyed on Netflix. While this is pretty vague phrasing, it likely means that Kevin Feige is hoping to produce a show that can work as a soft “fourth season” of Daredevil while also standing alone as a fresh take on the character.

You can almost imagine Corman and Ord huddled in a dark room somewhere, furiously attempting to craft the next big solo adventure for lawyer and vigilante Matt Murdock. After all, the duo have a gargantuan task ahead of them. It’s not easy to follow in the footsteps of something so immensely popular, especially while balancing the expectations of fans who want more of the same with a studio that wants something new. Luckily, the pair have two major things going for them – Daredevil is a wildly multifaceted character with decades of tonally varied storytelling to pull from, and the last season of Netflix’s Daredevil ended in a place that allows them to go in almost any direction they please.

The first three seasons of Daredevil draw heavily from the work of Frank Miller. Each one is darker and more brutal than the last, adapting elements from famously depressing arcs like The Man Without FearBorn Again, and Gang War to bring the protector of Hell’s Kitchen to life one beatdown at a time. Murdock’s violent origin, Wilson Fisk’s steel-fisted rule as Kingpin, and the tragic demise of Elektra Natchios. Even when it strayed from the path of Miller, it still found ways to be generally hard-hearted. The second season used imagery directly from Garth Ennis‘ stress-inducing Punisher comic The Choice, while the third season only broke away from Born Again long enough to copy a famous death from Kevin Smith‘s Guardian Devil.

The series finale, however, concluded the show with a scene that was seemingly pointing toward a disparate future. Cox‘s Murdock and Elden Henson‘s Foggy Nelson welcome Deborah Ann Woll‘s Karen Page as the latest partner in their ramshackle firm, with all three, perhaps for the first time, looking at a brighter tomorrow with a shared smile. Though many people associate pain and suffering synonymously with Daredevil, this has never been the case in the comics. Miller‘s elongated era of writing the character has, for some reason, become the default representation of how all Daredevil stories should be. Of course, this has led many to forget that his earliest escapades involved villains like The Matador and Leap-Frog, or that more recent comics involved him casually wearing a sweater that read “I’m not Daredevil.”

This occasional goofiness is something Marvel Studios would be smart to exploit going forward. Erik Oleson and the previous Netflix team couldn’t have teed them up any better. Both in metaphor and in the title, Matt Murdock was born again in Daredevil‘s third season. He comes out the other end of his conflict with Fisk a more optimistic person. In 2013, Mark Waid began a run on the character that aimed to explore the potential of this exact concept in full. Murdock attempts to cope with his traumatic past by forming a renewed sense of adventure, returning to his swashbuckling roots in a classic example of overcorrection. The arc added a new dynamic to Daredevil’s long history, but it never fully ignored the brutality of his past. Adapting this element from Waid‘s run would be an ideal way to give Daredevil a new coat of paint without having to dismiss its former seasons.

So, Marvel Studios’ Daredevil could begin with a reinvigorated Matt Murdock joyfully taking on crime in Hell’s Kitchen while his best friends keep their struggling law firm afloat. Naturally, there would have to be a conflict that uproots this, and the perfect inspiration can be found in the work of acclaimed creative Brian Michael Bendis. The writer had a run almost on par with Miller in the early 2000s, and some aspects of his comics found their way into Netflix’s live-action show. A key plot point in Bendis‘ Daredevil legacy comes in the form of Out, which saw Matt Murdock’s secret identity discovered by the FBI and eventually leaked to the press. The third season of Daredevil also had a member of the FBI learn about Murdock’s double life, and while he never leaked it to the press, it’s not too much of a stretch to say a fellow agent could find proof of Daredevil’s identity while sorting through Ray Nadeem’s old files and decide to make some extra cash.

The ensuing chaos would understandably cause some problems in each of Murdock’s two lives. Forced to face the same kind of scrutiny he had just helped Tom Holland‘s Peter Parker escape, Murdock’s fresh outlook on life would be tested. It would also put somewhat of a target on his back for any criminal who might be wanting revenge for a prior defeat, especially one who always hits his mark. Last we saw Wilson Bethel‘s Benjamin Poindexter, he was crazier than ever and in the middle of receiving a fancy new Cogmium spine. All these years later, it’s entirely possible he would be up and operating as the criminal underworld’s most effective assassin. No longer Poindexter, now simply Bullseye (hopefully in an MCU-worthy, comic-accurate costume). Should he need more resources to get even, he would have no problem finding a wealthy benefactor whose thirst for vengeance could equal his own.

Hawkeye shocked fans by revealing Vincent D’Onofrio‘s Kingpin was still active in New York City. It seems likely he would make an appearance in the next season of Daredevil, but perhaps it wouldn’t be him pulling all the strings this time. The last Fisk was seen prior to Hawkeye, he was being arrested alongside his wife, Ayelet Zurer‘s Vanessa. The last season of Daredevil proved Vanessa wasn’t as innocent as she once appeared, and is potentially more ruthless than Wilson himself. If his most recent arrest is the reason Fisk now operates out of a garage, and Matt’s final threat of ruining Vanessa if Wilson came for Foggy or Karen is the reason all three heroes are still alive, then perhaps a spiteful Mrs. Fisk could be the one hiring Bullseye and calling the shots as the public face of the Fisk fortune. Waid‘s run also had Murdock’s identity being revealed, that time purposefully announced by Matt to avoid being blackmailed. Maybe Vanessa attempts to use the information about Murdock’s identity against him, only for Matt to surprise her by unmasking himself in the court room.

These hypothetical plot points may not always line up perfectly with the Netflix Daredevil series, but there’s a really good chance the new show might not always follow the previously established canon. At least, not exactly. Bullseye may have a Vibranium spine, the aforementioned arrests may not have gone down quite the same way, and Kingpin might be a little more durable than Netflix remembered to show. Aside from the mention of Ray Nadeem or the FBI, all of these elements could be explained away with a line or two of vague dialogue. Either way, they’d be a fantastic way to give Charlie Cox‘s take on Daredevil a proper continuation whilst also giving Disney+ a fresh tone to work with. I mean, if Matt reveals his identity and ends up disbarred in New York, he’s always got that comic book move to San Francisco waiting in the wings.

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