In celebration of Charlie Cox’s newly confirmed casting as Marvel Studios’ Daredevil, The Illuminerdi is proud to present a retrospective on Daredevil, particularly season three of the beloved superhero TV series.
For those unfamiliar with the Daredevil TV series, a brief retelling of its history may be of some value. The series was created as part of a joint deal between Disney and Netflix: ABC Studios produced, while Netflix distributed the TV-MA content, keeping the mouse’s hands clean of the grit and grime these Marvel series became known for.
Steven S. DeKnight served as showrunner on Daredevil season one, while Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez took the reins for season two. Ramirez also served as the showrunner on The Defenders crossover miniseries, which he created alongside Petrie. Erik Oleson would be the final showrunner, as season three was the final installment before Netflix axed their Marvel line in response to the development of Disney+.
DAREDEVIL: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MARVEL TV SERIES
Four showrunners worked together across three seasons of television to create some of the most compelling television ostensibly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The stories of Matt Murdock, Karen Page and Foggy Nelson are the stuff of legend in the comic book fandom, and their tales are just compelling on the small screen – and that’s not even mentioning the antagonists and supporting characters like Bullseye, Kingpin, Elektra and The Punisher.
Daredevil has it all, and then some. Charlie Cox delivered a masterful performance as The Man Without Fear, and his costars Deborah Ann Woll (Karen) and Elden Henson (Foggy) and just as beloved within the DD fandom. Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance as Wilson Fisk (AKA Kingpin) was clearly noticed by someone, if rumors about his reprisal in Hawkeye episodes five and six are to be believed.
Despite all of this, Daredevil is somewhat estranged from the franchise it was born from. Steven DeKnight recently stated that he had “no idea” if Daredevil was MCU canon. His response is unsurprising considering how Marvel and Disney has cut ties with many of their premerger Marvel Entertainment productions, a group which Daredevil and DeKnight fall into. He may be playing it coy, or Kevin Feige and company may be creating a Daredevil revival without any input from the original showrunner.
DAREDEVIL: CHARLIE COX IS MATT MURDOCK FOR MARVEL STUDIOS
Kevin Feige was as notoriously vague as ever when confirming the continued casting of Cox in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“If you were to see Daredevil in upcoming things, Charlie Cox, yes, would be the actor playing Daredevil. Where we see that, how we see that, when we see that, remains to be seen.”-Kevin Feige, speaking with CinemaBlend
While there’s no reason that DeKnight or the other showrunners have to be involved in the rumored Daredevil Phase 4+ revival, it would be nice if the creative talent who originally developed this complicated, nuanced antihero weren’t so entirely out of the loop. With Team Murdock rumored to make appearances in She-Hulk, Echo, and even a soft-reboot(?) Daredevil project, Marvel Studios could use creative talent who already know the characters and world.
While the Daredevil world may not have been perfect, it featured mature, intelligent storylines about freedom, morality, and the complexities of vigilantism. Combine those shockingly smart stories with action that puts most MCU movies to shame, and the debut of Marvel’s finest creation, Frank Castle, and you have a TV show worth continuing.
The third season of Daredevil featured the return of the Kingpin of Crime following his imprisonment in the prior seasons. His eternal and undying love for Vanessa lead him to infiltrate and take over the FBI, Raymond Reddington style. A broken and Elektra-less Matt Murdock rose from the ashes to fight self-loathing, Kingpin, and Fisk’s newest monstrosity, Benjamin Poindexter.
DAREDEVIL: POINDEXTER SHOULD COME BACK WITH KINGPIN
Poindexter turns into the assassin/supervillain “Bullseye” ins the source material after a devastating injury. In the finale of Daredevil season three, “Dex” was brutally wounded by Kingpin and set up to take on his classic moniker. Throughout the season, Dex killed for Fisk using his near-perfect accuracy and a fake Daredevil suit to turn Hell’s Kitchen against their protector.
Wilson Bethel (Poindexter) should join Vincent D’Onofrio and Charlie Cox in the winners circle, reprising his role in the MCU. Both Bullseye and Kingpin had returns built into their story arcs. For Dex, it was the experimental surgery that rebuilt his spine. For Kingpin, it was the promise that if Vanessa was hurt or imprisoned, Fisk would return with a vengeance.
Imagine if Vanessa was snapped by Thanos, causing Kingpin to escape, reinstate his empire of crime and reacquire his greatest living weapon in Bullseye. Now imagine that when the events of Endgame brought everyone back, Vanessa was thrust into a world where Kingpin has never been more powerful or brutal. The Kingpin and Vanessa power-couple of this hypothetical scenario would be a far more terrifying and deadly antagonist than anything the street-level MCU heroes have faced before. A reboot could take away the history Vanessa and Kingpin have, destroying this potential and creating a Marvel Studios version of Fisk without the nuance and complexities he already has thanks to Daredevil.
When the Kingpin of Crime, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen and the heroes of Marvel Netflix do come back, it should be as a continuation of the immaculate Daredevil TV series, not a reboot. Daredevil is one of the strongest projects in the MCU by a good margin, and the cast and crew deserves to be respected with as much honor as the source material being adapted.
After all, there’s no good reason we can’t have the yellow Devil-suit in the MCU while still building off of established continuity.
How would you like to see Daredevil return? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media!