Fans are once again calling for the return of Charlie Cox’s Daredevil – here are the ways the popular character could be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe during Phase 4. Created by the legendary Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett (with input from Jack Kirby), the character debuted via Daredevil #1 in April 1964. After a childhood accident both blinded and gave him superpowers, Matt Murdock grew up to become a lawyer by day and a vigilante by night. Also known as the Man Without Fear, Daredevil was established as a working-class answer to Batman.
Daredevil was eventually brought to the big screen for a middling outing that saw Ben Affleck tackle the role. Over a decade later, as Affleck prepared to cross streams and play Batman himself, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen made the move to Netflix. Ostensibly a branch of Disney’s box office juggernaut, Daredevil premiered on the streaming service in 2015. With Cox now embodying the dual roles, the series was met with critical acclaim and a wave of popularity. It would ultimately pave the way for several other solo series, all of which built up to The Defenders, an underwhelming team-up adventure. Despite the overall failure of the Marvel/Netflix experiment, several elements have remained widely praised. Chief among them was Cox’s iteration of the complex hero. And fans have been so passionate about the show that calls for him to return within the official MCU have frequently resurged.
Now that Marvel has regained the rights from Netflix, the calls for that have been louder than ever. With #SaveDaredevil trending on Twitter, fans have insisted that Marvel Studios fight the urge to recast and instead pick up where things were left off – or, at least, let Cox reprise the role, even if in a different incarnation. In an ideal world, Marvel would greenlight Daredevil for a fourth season and retain the grittier, R-Rated tone of the original series. Given the recent news that Deadpool 3 will include such a rating, and that some other outings could follow suit, it’s certainly possible. Whether or not that happens, however, Daredevil could also cameo or play a supporting role in several other adventures.
The dramatic ending of Spider-Man: Far From Home saw Mysterio deliver the kind of final sting that would make even Scorpion envious. Despite his defeat, Quentin Beck succeeded in exposing Peter Parker’s identity. Equally, Peter was blamed for the attack on London and Mysterio’s apparent murder. It remains to be seen how Peter will deal with the fallout of the betrayal. However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he might require some legal representation.
In a frequent theory spreading over the last year, Matt Murdock could fill that role. After all, he is a lawyer already based in New York and has an established reputation for defending superpowered individuals and vigilantes. Murdock’s particular abilities would also allow him to know that Peter Parker is telling the truth. That fact would likely prompt him to suit up to help protect Peter’s loved ones and generally aid him in clearing his name. Daredevil would make for an interesting mentor to Peter, one that could reconnect him with his friendly neighborhood roots. To that end, Cox could return as the very same version as Daredevil from Netflix or, like J. Jonah Jameson, be a new version played by the same actor. Also, given that the MCU’s Spider-Man 3 has only just recently started filming, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
Like was executed by the Arrowverse and the DCEU, it could be revealed that the MCU and the Netflix series mutually exist in similar but distinct universes. Marvel’s own multiverse has long been confirmed to be central to the MCU’s Phase 4. This will be none more apparent than with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Already confirmed therein, the Sorcerer Supreme will explore parallel worlds, with Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) and potential newcomer America Chavez along for the ride.
A reveal that the world of The Defenders was its own separate corner could be an interesting turn. Equally, it would make sense of the minimal overlap and allow things to finally fit with the once-aborted mantra of “it’s all connected”. In that capacity, Cox could cameo as somebody Strange crosses paths with while on his multidimensional travels. Alternately, and perhaps more pleasing to fans, either the established iteration or a new version of Daredevil could cross over to the main universe. This could be to avoid the fall of his world at the hands of the film’s still top secret villain or any number of other comic book reasons.
In lieu of such a complicated way of introducing Daredevil into the fold, it could conversely have him merely established already in the MCU’s prime universe. Outside of the aforementioned Spider-Man connection, another way this could be achieved is in the Disney+ series: She-Hulk. Outside of her superhero duties, Jennifer Walters is also a successful lawyer. Equally, her bases of operation are usually Brooklyn and New York City. As such, it would make sense for Jennifer and Matt Murdock to be associates and/or occasion courtroom rivals.
They would, at the very least, be aware of each other – even if one’s familial connections and the other’s vigilante identity were initially kept under wraps. Matt would likely not suit up to help against the rumored villain: Titania, so as to not infringe on Jennifer’s debut outing. Still, it would be a fun way to further flesh out the world, with the two sparring and potentially bonding later on over their alter-egos. Furthermore, it’d be a step in the right direction to bringing Daredevil prominently into the MCU.
Another interesting way to merge Daredevil officially into the MCU might be to not actually begin with Daredevil at all – but with Benjamin Poindexter (aka Bullseye) instead. Ever since General Ross was glimpsed in the trailer for Black Widow, theories emerged that he would be putting together the Thunderbolts. Comprised mostly of villains – some genuinely repentant, some not – the unconventional team has been a popular element of Marvel comics. The idea that they would be realized on-screen has only been fueled by the MCU actually leaving some of its villains alive in later installments. Equally, the rumors were exacerbated by The Falcon and The Winter Soldier being unable to precede Black Widow. The latter is believed to lead straight into the former, and that both will establish the new, more ambiguous team.
Bullseye has been a member of the team in the comics. Given that Daredevil season 3 was largely an origin story for the character, and he was similarly left alive, this would make an interesting next step for him. Wilson Bethel’s portrayal of Bullseye was equal parts sympathetic and deranged. Even further changed by the end of the show’s run, he’d be something of the perfect candidate and exactly the kind of character Ross would recruit. His need for a “north star to guide him” would equally prompt him to sign up… and potentially be led ever more astray.
As such, as the one with primary experience against him, Bullseye’s inclusion on the team could likewise lead to Daredevil being drawn into the MCU. After all, who better to call upon when the time comes to potentially investigate and otherwise monitor the fledgling (somewhat potentially corrupt) team if need be. And, as the one story that Daredevil left open-ended, it would be a good way to give fans closure – or, at the very least, a brand-new chapter.
Another interesting (and potentially surprising) character through which to incorporate Daredevil could be Kate Bishop. The popular Young Avenger is set to make her debut in the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye. In the comics, part of Kate’s backstory is that she’s attacked and left traumatized. However, given the audience, Disney and Marvel will likely avoid the more sensitive elements of the incident. An interesting retcon could be that Daredevil actually makes a cameo and saves her before things get too serious.
It could even be Daredevil’s involvement and the demonstration of his fighting skills that inspire Kate. On the page, in the wake of the attack, she threw herself into a rigorous routine of extreme combat training. From there, her efforts to dish out violent justice (like Hawkeye did as Ronin) could catch the archer’s eye later on and prompt him to take her under his wing. That would certainly make more sense than contriving a reason for Clint Barton to be away from his family after Avengers: Endgame, in order to be her savior. Though the comic book incident took place in Central Park, the show is actually set to film scenes in Brooklyn, which puts it less than 10 miles away from Daredevil’s regular stomping grounds in Hell’s Kitchen. Again, the timing of said filming has lined up perfectly with Marvel regaining the Daredevil rights – since cameras are set to begin rolling on Hawkeye before 2020 ends.
Then again, it could be another upcoming young character that references Daredevil. Though primarily fascinated by Captain Marvel, Kamala Khan being based in New Jersey and having grown up in the world of superheroes could mean she at least knows of and could mention Daredevil in her own Disney+ series. In any case, the revival of Daredevil and the introduction of the titular hero into the main Marvel Cinematic Universe is clearly something the fans want. And the ways of making it happen in an interesting fashion are all but endless.