For those who don’t know, Marvel sold the film rights many of its hottest properties in the late 90s to avoid bankruptcy. Sony bought Spider-Man and Ghost Rider, Fox bought X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Daredevil among others.
You may remember the Mark Steven Johnson – directed Daredevil film from 2003, notorious for its abysmal PG-13 theatrical cut, slightly redeemed by its R-rated director’s cut. I say slightly because putting Ben Affleck in spandex will probably never make an entirely watchable film.
Still, Daredevil did a few things right: Collin Farrel was a decent, albeit corny Bullseye, and Michael Clarke Duncan was a fantastic choice for the crime lord Kingpin. The action was good, it had a good story at its core, and it kept Daredevil as the gritty, no mercy badass he’s famous for being (at least the director’s cut did anyway).
It performed well enough to merit a spin-off film, Elektra, rated as one of the worst superhero movies of all time, but a sequel never came.
Once the reboot craze hit Hollywood, Fox planned on starting anew using Frank Miller’s classic take on the character as a new launchpad. However, they needed to make the movie by October 10th, 2012 in order to retain the film rights.
In case you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been a second Daredevil film, and Fox isn’t confident in their ability to slap one together in a month’s time, meaning order has been restored and Marvel Studios now has a new shiny toy to play with.
This could mean a few different things: we’ll no doubt see another Daredevil movie in the not-too-distant future, but probably not until 2015 or later when Marvel’s production slate has cleared up a bit. As it stands right now, Iron Man 3 is set for a 2013 release, followups to Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger are due out in 2014, Avengers 2 is planned for a 2015 release, and between all that sequel business the studio plans to release two new franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man. Besides all the official news, there are also rumors of a Hawkeye / Black Widow movie and a Black Panther film in the works, a character that will almost certainly appear in one of the aforementioned films.
Where does “the man without fear” fit in here?
Most likely a cameo in Avengers 2 and his own film shortly after.
The other option would be the live-action TV series Joss Whedon was recently attached to. No details have been released about it yet, but Daredevil could be a possible fit for the medium. If you’re not familiar with the character, he’s a blind lawyer by day, crime-fighting vigilante with super-senses by night. Picture Law and Order with more leather and kung-fu – TV gold. That’s a very exciting prospect, especially with Whedon at the wheel. If you’ve never watched Angel, this is kinda what Joss is all about.
Whatever they decide to do, the best part about the deal for now is that it opens up some more doors to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, the giant crossover concept that’s currently making them a ridiculous amount of money and which every other studio with a high-concept film franchise is almost surely trying to replicate.
For me at least, all the crossovers and shared continuity is what makes Marvel’s films so exciting and getting a great, prominent character like Daredevil thrown into the mix is excellent news.
Now if we can just get Fox to return their other Marvel properties…
It’s unlikely that they’ll give up X-Men, as it’s one of their biggest cash cows and even with trainwrecks like The Last Stand and First Class under the banner, but the clock’s counting down on their Fantastic Four rights.
Now, who could possibly make a better Daredevil than Ben Affleck?