Post-Strike: Marvel finds an alternative ‘Born Again’ identity…

Amid Marvel/Disney+ moving some of their projects, it's 'Daredevil: Born Again' that is getting a newer brief...

There were always going to be repercussions from the industry strikes that have taken place this year. The WGA have now resolved their differences with the studios and have returned to work, but the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) is still looking for a suitable conclusion to its own negotiations.  By default, a lot of shows have remained in hiatus and even those that now have a workable writers’ room still don’t have their full ensemble of actors to shoot new material.

It’s led to a restructuring of various productions, some being cancelled, some being curtailed. It appears that during the summer, Marvel and Disney‘s Powers That Be looked at the material shot for their much-touted Daredevil: Born Again  series (which had already shot just less than half of its sixteen episodes) and decided that the enforced break might have given them a stop-gap to reassess what they wanted and what they were getting.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that head writers Chris Ord and Matt Corman were let go during the break and that the directors intended for upcoming episodes for the remainder of the season were also told that it would not be proceeding quite as planned. (Ord and Corman will technically remain as Executive Producers).  There are said to be concerns that the tone of the show was so different from the successful and considerably darker Netlflix run (three acclaimed seasons) and that the new incarnation was feeling more like a legal procedural with Matt Murdock not appearing as his vigilante hero until the fourth episode. It is believed that the changes in the show will bring it more into a balance of the courtroom and the streets and the way that Matt tries to juggle those aspects of his life.

This specific series takes its name from the classic story-arc (penned by legendary Frank Miller) in the comics where Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin) is sold information about Daredevil’s true identity and then the mobster slowly takes apart Matt’s personal and professional life, causing a complete breakdown – with the arc charting Matt’s fall and then rise back against his nemesis. It is not known how closely the show will be inspired by those specifics and just how cleanly Born Again will fit into the continuity established in the Netflix version (though Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio are both back for the face-off and Cox has already appeared as the character in Spider-man: No Way Home and in the She-Hulk series). The Kingpin – who has since appeared in Hawkeye –  is also expected to reappear in the Echo series on Disney+ which was recently moved from its potential November broadcast to early next year.

In answer to a fan’s concerns on Twitter/X, D’Onofrio responded to the news by saying: “Every cool project I’ve been involved with has evolved constantly during pre-production, production and post. It’s just reported on these days as if it’s big news. It’s not. It’s simple a bunch of creatives doing their best to get it right. It’s a constant in this business. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Frankly, I’d be worried if we were settling for less.”

While wishing the new show well, Steven DeKnight (the showrunner under the Netflix incarnation) also recently noted that the practise of rebranding shows – sometimes with only slightly different wording or subtitle – was often a way for studios to avoid having to pay their creatives more  – with longer-running shows accruing more pay-outs than ‘new’ shows in their technical first year. Such issues were some of the problems discussed and dissected during the recent writers’ strike.

It’s also believed that Marvel will be looking at the entirety of its televisual output and perhaps reassessing the production pacing in more traditional ways rather than the greenlighting of entire runs and fixing any potential problems in post-production.