by Brett White
What was long suspected was revealed to be true yesterday: Daredevil's film rights belong with Marvel again. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed it after months of fans assuming that was the case; the rights were said to have reverted back to Marvel after Fox failed to get a "Daredevil" reboot up and running before the expiration date. Not that Fox didn't try, with pitches by both David Slade and Joe Carnahan amounting to nothing.
The first "Daredevil" film is not remembered fondly, which is a shame considering how important the character is to Marvel Comics. His comic series, which has been running since the character's debut in 1964, contains more seminal runs than most others. Frank Miller did two highly influential runs on the book (the latter with art by the legendary David Mazzucchelli), followed by Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr.'s lengthy run. Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada made the character relevant again in the late '90s, and then Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev created the most iconic iteration of the character since his Miller heyday. "Daredevil" is currently enjoying critical acclaim under the guidance of writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee.
With so many great and highly respected comics in his briefcase (Daredevil is a lawyer, so... briefcase), it'd be foolish for Marvel to not turn him into their next Iron Man. Here are a few ways they could make that happen.
Tony Stark needs legal help
This is definitely one of the more obvious ways to integrate the character seamlessly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a billionaire businessman, Stark is bound to run into legal trouble every now and then. Who better to turn to than Matt Murdock? This is actually how the Marvel Comics universe works; anytime a hero needs legal help, Matt Murdock or She-Hulk show up ready to bill by the quarter hour. This could be a throwaway included in "Iron Man 3" (not that there are any rumors to back that up), one that need not even include an actor in the role. Pepper could just say, "Murdock's on the phone" to which Iron Man would respond, "Put him on hold Pepper, I have some Extremis to clean up!" Don't worry, I did not write "Iron Man 3."
A mystery in Black Widow's past
Most female characters first show up as supporting characters to men, even if they go on to get their own solo film (like Elektra and Catwoman). Since Black Widow debuted in "Iron Man 2" as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent posing as Tony Stark's assistant, it would be cool to have Daredevil debut in a situation dependent on his relationship to Natasha. Perhaps Natasha has already run across the death-defying, blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen. Perhaps he could play a supporting role in the needs-to-happen Black Widow solo film. Before you freak out, fanboys, think about it. Black Widow is a known quantity, and a pretty popular one at that. Daredevil needs to shake off the stink of early '00s Ben Affleck (J.Lo Affleck, not "Argo" Affleck) and distance himself from his first rap-rock-filled box office dud. He needs to ease back on to the big screen and prove to audiences that he's a fantastic character. I think that's something that could easily be accomplished with him as a supporting character in "Black Widow." Plus Matt and Natasha have a great partnership in the comics that would make for a fantastic film. After that, a solo "Daredevil" film could be viable again.
He's Jane Foster's mystery date
Remember when Chris O'Dowd announced that he shot a date film with Natalie Portman in "Thor: The Dark World"? What if O'Dowd is playing Matt Murdock? If Daredevil is going to pop up as a cameo in any Phase Two or Three film, he'll need to be played by an actor ready to carry a potential franchise, and I think O'Dowd could easily pull that off. Matt Murdock's humor has been played up to great success in Mark Waid's recent comic book run, and a lighter Daredevil could be just right following Dourdevil's film bomb ten years ago. And if Chris Pratt can pull off Star-Lord (which we won't know until "Guardians of the Galaxy" comes out next year), there's no reason why O'Dowd couldn't pull of Daredevil. Plus, Irish actor O'Dowd shares an ancestry with Daredevil, the American son of Irish immigrants.
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
When ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." debuts in the fall, Daredevil has to be first in line to show up. While it's not clear where the Man Without Fear's small screen rights reside, or if they ever left Marvel to begin with, it is clear that he's tailor-made for television. There will be a lot of property damage on S.H.I.E.L.D., and working in a lawyer like Daredevil would be a piece of cake. While it wouldn't make a lot of sense to make the character a regular (being an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. or even a lawyer of S.H.I.E.L.D. robs him of his integral underdog status), he could easily pop up in cameo roles.
After "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is a big success, this is the TV series you follow with. Fall 2014 on ABC. It needs to happen. His heightened sense powers are so low-budget that a fourteen-year-old could accurately make a DD film on their iPhone. He's also a lawyer by day and a superhero by night, which sounds like the best log line for a procedural drama in the history of ever. His supporting cast is rich with fantastic characters like Foggy Nelson, Elektra, Luke Cage and Dakota North. His villains (Kingpin, Bullseye, the Hand) translate to TV with ease. Of any Marvel hero, he fits the most on television. Plus, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" proved that audiences are willing to forgive big screen oddities if the TV show is truly great. This seems like a no-brainer.
How do you want Daredevil to fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!