The film and television rights to the character Daredevil (including associated stories and side characters within its comic book universe) will revert back to Marvel Studios in six months, Screen Rant has reported. While Marvel will have complete control over the character again, changes in the structure of Marvel Studios has resulted in uncertainty as to what medium or which variation of the character will be used.
Originally, 20th Century Fox held the rights to Daredevil and made a film based on the character in 2003. Marvel Studios regained those rights in 2013 and soon after Marvel’s television department struck a deal with Netflix to create a streaming series based on Daredevil and series for other superheroes such as Jessica Jones or The Punisher.
Netflix’s Daredevil debuted in April 2015 and would go on for three seasons until October 2018. The series starred Charlie Cox (Stardust) as blind lawyer Matt Murdock, who uses his heightened senses to fight crime as a vigilante named Daredevil. In December of 2018, Marvel Studios parent company Disney announced plans to create their own streaming service consisting of their studios’ content. Following this, Netflix canceled the Daredevil and other Marvel superhero series on its streaming platform.
With the cancellation of Daredevil came a clause in the Netflix-Marvel contract that stipulated the character could not be used by Marvel for two years after cancellation. This stipulation also applies to the other Netflix series, such as Jessica Jones or The Punisher. However, these series were canceled at later dates than Daredevil, meaning Marvel Studios will have to wait longer for those rights.
Despite the cancellation and Netflix exclusivity of the Daredevil series, Marvel can still re-use the same cast and characters from those series once they have regained the rights. Additionally, the series was produced under Marvel Television; in December of last year, Marvel Television went defunct.
Instead, its properties and duties were merged with the broader Marvel Studios, which now oversees all production of television series. Before this merger, the television shows and the Marvel Cinematic Universe were kept separate. Now, Marvel Studios is creating series based on characters and events originally debuting in the films, such as the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The Netflix version of Daredevil could find new life in the films or related television series – or the character could be completely rebooted under the new Marvel Studios.
The Netflix Daredevil and related series are still available to stream on its service.
Image Credit: Raymond Flotat