The Marvel cinematic universe is best known for its 28 films, but it has been present on traditional or streaming television since its early days. Marvel’s small-screen projects have gone through several stages with completely different styles, but one of the best parts of the previous stage will be attempted again.
The six MCU series released on Netflix in the Defenders universe were controversial, but the first of them became a fan favorite. Daredevil, with its brilliant martial arts, thrilling emotional storytelling and well-choreographed forensic drama, is considered one of the best the universe has to offer. That’s what makes the fate of the series such a complicated and sad story.
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Daredevil was created by Drew Goddard in 2015, just a year after the rights to the character reverted to Marvel. Matt Murdoch was the central figure of one of the worst superhero films of the early 2000s, and after his return to the screen, he had high hopes for him. Marvel and Goddard presented the series as a darker take on comic book superheroes and made sure its ties to the larger MCU were limited. Releasing the series from continuity also freed up its tone, which made it feel like the sleazy ’70s crime thriller it was supposed to be. What they finished was one of the most perfect adaptations of any comic book and one of the best holistic projects they have ever produced. The show lasted three seasons and ended unceremoniously and tragically.
Disney doesn’t start with a place of goodwill with hardcore Daredevil fans. Just taking their favorite name in the franchise and starting over wouldn’t be good. That’s because Daredevil and his cohorts have endured one of the worst endings the show can get; canceled due to a reshuffle of corporate IP addresses. All of Marvel’s Netflix shows have been shut down in order to direct all efforts to the streaming service, which is owned by Disney and therefore should not share profits with it. “Daredevil” ended not because its story ended or because the creators did away with it, it ended so that Disney could continue to consolidate its intellectual property and get rid of competitors. Fans know and understand that the Daredevil they get these days will not and cannot be the same as it was before.
The modern MCU would rather let one of its heroes languish in obscurity than allow him to exist outside of his interconnected franchise. The key point of the business model is that every single part of the narrative, no matter how verbose or poorly executed, must necessarily be reviewed for other parts. Marvel is not going to give the team of the new “Daredevil” the freedom that allowed the previous team to do so well. This lack of freedom probably extends to tone as well. While some of the Disney+ series have done shocking and incredible things with ideas, insistence on a family tone has sometimes weakened the impact. If Marvel and Disney want the show to be as powerful as the previous version, they should remove the restrictions and let the material guide the story.
The “Daredevil” version, which does not use the themes of each story centered on the characters, is meaningless. The weight of the narrative was handled very well in the original series, and it’s present in every good Daredevil comic. The new series should reveal its themes with the maturity and sincerity it requires. Daredevil is about justice, guilt, self-sacrifice, the pressure of a double life and the moral weight of doing the right thing in a bad situation. These themes have been less prominent in the modern MCU, which features more famous characters and more personal stories. Psychological and sociological storytelling is the key to what fans like about the character. Daredevil is interesting not because he is good at beating people, he is interesting because he constantly struggles with his morality, his duties and an overwhelming sense of guilt.
Disney has confirmed that they are working on a new take on the character. Matt Corman and Chris Ord from the agency “Secret Affairs USA” were invited as the lead writers of the show. Charlie Cox reprised his role as Matt Murdoch in the MCU. Vincent D’Onofrio appeared in his beloved role of Kingpin. None of the stars have been confirmed to participate in the upcoming Disney series. It’s impossible to know what, if anything, will be carried over from the original series. The new show does not have to be the 4th season of the original and should not be in any way related to this series. What the new show really needs is to masterfully handle current topics and give its creators the freedom to do something really special, as it was in the previous show.