What If… DAREDEVIL Returns To Marvel?

With Joe Carnahan's DAREDEVIL dead at Fox, the property is probably returning to Marvel Studios. What happens now?

Yesterday Joe Carnahan revealed the sizzle reel for his take on Daredevil; it would have been a gritty, 70s set period piece that harkened to films like The Warriors. Fox was in a rush to get the movie going because they have a deadline - if there's no Daredevil in front of cameras by October, the rights revert to Marvel Studios. It seems that the studio decided there simply wasn't enough pre-production time to get a film into swing by the deadline, and so Carnahan's vision is out and the character will return to Marvel.

If that happens - and while it's 99% certain to occur, nothing is set in stone - what happens next? What happens when Daredevil enters the stable of Marvel characters?

My guess: not much. Here's my thinking: Marvel has a plan that covers the next three years. That plan is fairly established, and it's building towards the cosmic nature of The Avengers 2. There just isn't room for a Daredevil movie between now and 2015/2016. And that's a long, long time.

I'm not even sure there's much room for a Daredevil movie at all. The first time around it didn't go so well, and Marvel has a whole passel of street level characters who could become movies without the baggage of Ben Affleck's version hanging on them. If anything, the Kingpin feels like he'd make it in to other Marvel movies before Daredevil does. And since he wasn't originally a Daredevil villain (he was introduced as a Spider-Man villain), it's sort of fitting. 

If Marvel does get the rights back I wouldn't be surprised if a future film has an easter egg where someone mentions Nelson and Murdock being their law firm. Marvel may not have immediate plans for Daredevil, but that doesn't mean they'll just toss the character in someplace; as he's a potential franchise leader they'll hold back on showing Daredevil or Matt Murdock onscreen just in case they ever need to hire someone famous. Could Battlin' Jack Murdock, Matt's boxer dad, show up somewhere else - perhaps in a flashback? I don't see why not. 

Could Daredevil end up on TV? That seems more likely. Marvel is searching for the right show to air on ABC; while I pitched the idea of a Damage Control series, what ABC wants is a drama. Today's surefire dramas are cop shows, medical shows and lawyer shows. Guess which superhero is a lawyer? Matt Murdock's practice is so low-level that the show would mostly center on him defending decent people in Hell's Kitchen/butting heads with the goons of the Kingpin. Sweeps weeks would be when a larger Marvel Universe character might show up. 

In the meantime, I think that Daredevil is going to pull up a seat next to The Punisher, who reverted to Marvel Studios after America was too dim to appreciate Punisher War Zone. Together these street level characters will wait, possibly watching untested others like Iron Fist or Moon Knight getting their moment.