Last weekend saw the two-year anniversary of Netflix’s shock cancellation of Marvel’s Daredevil, marked by an impressively orchestrated fan campaign to get the show trending on Twitter.
Spearheaded by the group known as #SaveDaredevil, the campaign encouraged fans of the short-lived series to share why they would like to see it revived by Marvel Studios in the near future.
Previously, such a move has been prohibited by the original deal with Netflix, which stated that Marvel could not include the character in any of its productions until two years after the cancellation of the series.
But with that milestone now passed, there are now a number of options for how Daredevil could return on either the big or small screen and fans are thrilled at the prospect – but just how likely is it?
Read on for a full breakdown of the situation as it currently stands.
Who owns the rights to Daredevil?
While he is certainly among the most popular characters in comic books, Daredevil has yet to appear in any of the films in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe.
He was exempt from inclusion in the franchise until 2013, when the screen rights to the character reverted from Fox back to Marvel, roughly a decade after Ben Affleck’s poorly received Daredevil solo movie.
From then, Daredevil’s story was delegated to Marvel’s now-defunct television branch in a major deal with Netflix, which also saw streaming shows for the likes of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Punisher.
However, Netflix cancelled its entire slate of Marvel shows over the course of a few months across late 2018 and early 2019, as the service shifted focus towards original programming that it owns outright (e.g. Stranger Things).
As outlined in the original deal, the screen rights to Daredevil stay with Netflix for two years following the cancellation, meaning that Marvel was not allowed to use the character in any of its projects during that time.
Fortunately, that window has now come to a close, so the Man Without Fear is now back on the table – but that doesn’t mean a Daredevil revival is guaranteed.
Will there be a fourth season of Daredevil?
It seems uncertain whether Daredevil could return for a fourth season – despite the obvious fan appetite.
Since the show’s cancellation in 2018, Marvel has shut down its television branch, with its upcoming slate of Disney Plus streaming shows now falling under the remit of Kevin Feige, the producer of the MCU film franchise.
With this in mind, it’s unclear where Daredevil’s more grounded and self-contained stories could fit in Feige’s new vision for the MCU, nor where it could be released.
Obviously, Netflix is no longer an option and Disney Plus is seemingly too family-friendly to be home to Daredevil, which frequently featured scenes of graphic violence.
Some fans have suggested Hulu as a new home for Daredevil, given that Disney is now a majority owner of the service, but that is a more complicated suggestion than it may appear at first glance.
While Netflix and Disney Plus are global services available all over the world, Hulu is only available in the United States, meaning international broadcasters for the show would need to be acquired which could prove challenging.
For now, nothing has been confirmed and Hulu has expressed no intention of reviving Daredevil.
Could Daredevil appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie?
In theory, yes.
Since Netflix’s rights to Daredevil have expired, the character could technically appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film now – but that doesn’t mean that he necessarily will.
Again, it comes down to something of an image problem; the MCU has become the world’s biggest blockbuster franchise through its all-ages appeal, making it a favourite of movie goers both young and old.
Given that Daredevil and his arch-enemies are darker characters, prone to blood-spattered violence, it seems uncertain that Feige would be willing to drop him into an Avengers movie anytime soon.
That said, it certainly isn’t impossible.
After all, it appears that Feige is making room in his franchise for another formerly R-rated character, as Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool 3 is still moving ahead at Marvel Studios.
Fans had previously hoped that Charlie Cox would return as Daredevil in Tom Holland’s upcoming Spider-Man 3, where he could offer legal counsel to a besieged Peter Parker – but Cox has since debunked these rumours.
What have the Daredevil cast said about a revival?
Charlie Cox has previously spoken about the possibility of a Daredevil revival, but it would be fair to say that he hasn’t been overly optimistic about the idea.
Back in April, he told Comic Book that he couldn’t see a fourth season happening but would certainly love the opportunity if it were to come up.
“I haven’t been given any reason to believe that [would happen],” Cox said. “And, from a cynical point of view, it just feels like maybe I’m trying to protect myself, because I’d love nothing more than to do it again.”
He went on to tell the publication that he likes the idea of making a cameo appearance alongside his fellow Defenders in future Marvel projects.
Cox added: “As a fan of the Marvel movies, I’ve loved the little stuff where they pop up here and there but because we were on Netflix, we weren’t able to do as much for legal reasons, I don’t know why.
“But I love the idea of Jessica [Jones] and Matt showing up in the background or Matt as a lawyer advising Peter Parker. That’d be really, really cool.”
But what good is Daredevil without his fearsome arch-nemesis Kingpin? The iconic foe was played brilliantly by Vincent D’Onofrio across all three seasons of the Netflix series.
The actor has voiced his resounding support for a revival, recently sharing a petition by the #SaveDaredevil campaign on Twitter and encouraging his followers to sign it.
Sign this people, for Save Daredevil. https://t.co/YXvtPbPj01
— Vincent D'Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) November 26, 2020
Daredevil co-star Deborah Ann Woll, who played Matt Murdock’s colleague and love interest Karen Page on the series, has also alluded to her support for a revival.
On the weekend Daredevil’s two-year cancellation anniversary, Woll tweeted an image of herself, Cox and Elden Henson in character as legal aids Nelson, Murdock and Page, with the caption: “Justice never stops.”
— Deborah Ann Woll (@DeborahAnnWoll) November 30, 2020
It’s certainly promising that there’s so much enthusiasm from the stars about a Daredevil revival, but fans would be wise not to get their hopes up.
With a huge multi-platform franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are a lot of factors that could complicate such a project from coming to fruition – and until we hear it from the horse’s mouth, it will remain just a fantasy.