Disney+: The (Dare)devil will be in the details…

Marvel knows the appetite for more 'Daredevil' but will the Disney+ version be diluted?

It was, perhaps, inevitable that Marvel and Disney would eventually confirm their intentions to bring Daredevil back to the television screen. The most popular series of the Marvel/Netflix era, there was surprise when a fourth season was not given the go-ahead on the platform after The Defenders team-up – though it was soon clear it was a victim of the Disney/Marvel consolidation, wanting to keep all their televisual product under one umbrella (on the  – then – soon to be announced Disney+).

Disney+ has brought us WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knight and the forthcoming She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Ms. Marvel, Echo and Secret Invasion. For the last few months – particularly in the wake of Matt Murdock / Charlie Cox’s appearance in Spider-man: No Way Home – the rumour-mill had suggested that there were plans in the works and the MCU‘s head-honcho Kevin Feige did little to clam the waters by saying that IF Marvel was to revisit Daredevil it would most definitely be with Cox under the mask. Some have speculated the character might turn up again in She-Hulk, given the courtroom common-ground.

Technically there’s no absolute confirmation and there are are few details, just a series of now non-denials and knowing winks and too many respected sites citing sources. Though it now seems everything is lined up, there’s no timeline as yet and, at this point, Charlie Cox is not officially signed-on for the production. It’s generally accepted it’s a matter of time. The real questions will be on how the series will directly connect with its predecessor and its stories. Will Deborah Ann Woll (who played Karen Page) and Elden Henson (who played Foggy Nelson), who played important parts in the previous continuity, return?

Vincent D’Onofrio’s version of Wilson Fisk/the Kingpin, who appeared in the Hawkeye series, was slightly different in tone than the Daredevil version. The Netflix version was dark and menacing, the Disney+ version was very similar in all the important ways but slightly more flamboyant (check out Fisk’s shirts) and definitely more physically-mobile than his previous brute-force first incarnation. It was possible to think about the Blip and consider the changes of fortune it had wrought and then create a throughline for them to be one and the same, but there were still questions that lingered and no clear answer from Marvel.

More noticeably, the Netflix version was famous for its gritty approach. Honouring the comics source-material, the fights were bloody and the acrobatics more parkour than superheroic. Matt had issues of law and of faith and often came out bloodied and battered in some way.  So, if the Disney+ show wants to continue in a similar vein, it will likely become the first of its Marvel slate not to aim for a PG-13 rating – something that’s likely to be clickbait for complaints in some quarters. The flipside is diluting the formula to fit a PG-13 remit and possibly losing some of the original’s appeal – and that decision too would likely create some gnashing of teeth in other areas of fandom.

Cox had previously offered his thoughts on the matter: “If they wanted to make a more PG version of the show, I back them to find a way to do it where it feels totally in keeping with everything we’ve done. And maybe there’s a little less blood, maybe there’s a little whatever, but I back them to do it…”

Matt Corman and Chris Ord are apparently going to write and executive-produce the new run. Steven DeKnight, who was the showrunner for the first season of the character’s Netflix era, was asked this week about his feelings on the possible plans, he admitted they were mixed. “Bittersweet. But all I want is [a] great Daredevil show I can watch with the rest of the fans!” he wrote.