Born Again was never going to be dark and gritty

Born Again was never going to be dark and gritty

Netflix did the unthinkable with its corner of the Marvel universe by building mature superhero stories that seemed to take place in the real world. So, when Marvel Studios brought Charlie Cox back as Matt Murdock for Spider-Man: No Way Homesome fans were hoping to see the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen return to his gruesome ways, just like in Netflix’s Daredevil performance. As a result, people were disappointed when Cox emerged as a terrifying, happy vigilante She-Hulk: Lawyer.


Cox’s latest Marvel Cinematic Universe cameo also put a damper on the upcoming Disney+ series Daredevil: Born Again, as fans no longer believed that the vigilante’s solo series could be as dark and bloody as before. Furthermore, Cox recently told the press that the upcoming Disney+ show would not bring back the grim version of the character, dashing some fans’ hopes for the character. But while it’s easy to understand why we’d want the old Matt Murdock back, we were just fooled into thinking Marvel Studios would go that route. That’s because a Disney+ Daredevil show would never be dark and dirty.

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Marvel won’t throw away its formula just for Daredevil

daredevil charlie cox suit
Image via Netflix

While the first Iron man still had its fair share of mature elements, the MCU has changed a lot since 2008. Over the years, Marvel Studios has made sure its movies meet audience expectations and created a formula that could perform well at the box office. The MCU formula turns out to be a mix between PG-13 action and adventure, with a good dose of comedy to keep things light in the face of danger. It’s no wonder Marvel’s most serious characters, like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), has also joined the ranks of quick-witted superheroes who drop one-liners between battles.

Phase 4 of the MCU showed how people get tired of every Marvel production feeling the same. Still, the MCU formula remains a huge success. And even if the box office results are not as impressive as they were during the “Infinity Saga”, Marvel Studios’ productions continue to make money. There’s no reason to completely change the formula when it’s making money, so any hope that Daredevil would be ultra-violent and realistic was nothing but a pipe dream.

It doesn’t mean Daredevil: Born Again will betray the character. Fortunately, we have plenty of examples of movies and TV shows that stick to the MCU formula but still manage to tell stories with high emotional stakes. While Thor: Ragnarok made the god of thunder a fun character, the movie is still the best part of the movie Thor franchise, and all the jokes don’t stop it from making fans shed a few tears. And with HawkeyeMarvel Studios proved they could handle street-level vigilantism in an exciting way, even if the connection with the larger MCU means we’re still far from a realistic approach. Phase 4 also showed that there can still be creativity within Marvel Studios’ limitations, with Werewolf at night creating a full-fledged horror film that still adheres to the lighter tone of the MCU.

It might be a bummer for some that Marvel is changing direction for Daredevil Born again. Still, there was no way Marvel Studios was going to just throw away a formula they’ve perfected for over a decade. To think otherwise is just naive.

A new daredevil to fit the MCU Canon

Charlie Cox as Daredevil in She-Hulk
Image via Disney+

Netflix’s Daredevil was released in 2015, and kickstarted Defenders the universe on the streamer. Unfortunately, with Marvel Studios and Marvel Television existing as separate entities, there were many inconsistencies with the MCU Defenders universe, which concluded in 2019 with the release of season 3 of the Jessica Jones. At the time, Disney was preparing to launch Disney+ as a direct competitor to Netflix, which meant cutting ties with the streamer. Disney also decided to shut down Marvel Television and give Marvel Studios the task of unifying movies and TV shows under the same cohesive story. It looked like Disney+ would represent a fresh start for the MCU, and everything that came before would be pushed aside in favor of a new creative direction.

While it’s easy to understand the commercial strategy, that decision left Marvel Studios with the impossible task of saving what worked under Marvel Television’s gaze while ensuring that only their TV productions would be considered hard canon. Thanks to the Multiverse, Marvel Studios was given the tools it needed to bring back beloved actors and characters while keeping the canon clean. That’s the case with Cox’s Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrioits Kingpin.

While Marvel Studios brings back heroes and villains from an earlier era, they can’t push them into the MCU without damaging canon. The end of Marvel Television sent a clear message that the MCU would remain coherent in the future, and past productions were canon-adjacent at best. So even if Cox returns as Matt Murdock, Marvel Studios can’t follow Netflix directly Daredevil series. And to avoid confusion caused by the actor’s presence, they need to come up with a different take on the character, recognizable enough to please fans but able to stand on its own.

That’s why Daredevil now wears a yellow suit and has superhuman agility beyond what we’ve seen in him Defenders universe. Daredevil: Born Again must reflect the character’s appearance i No way home and She-Hulk to keep the MCU coherent, and these latest productions are more important to Canon than Netflix Defenders universe. The reason behind that is that Marvel Studios needs a new Daredevil in the MCU, which means the character can never be the same dark and gruesome vigilante fans love.

As much as we may love Netflix’s take on the street-level Marvel characters, they would never come back the same way. All we can hope is that this new version of Daredevil—and hopefully all of the Defenders—does justice to the character while still fitting the MCU formula. Also, please, Marvel Studios, bring back the practical effects and brilliant fight choreography.

Daredevil: Born Again coming to Disney+ in spring 2024.

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