It doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the reporting going on last fall, but Marvel Studios Kevin Feige confirmed that the film rights to the Marvel Comics superhero Daredevil have indeed reverted back to the studio from Twentieth Century Fox.
Fox had purchased the rights back in the 1990s and released one film featuring the character being played by Ben Affleck in 2003. Last October the studio was under a deadline to have new film with the character in production by October or else the rights would automatically revert back to Marvel. 30 Days of Night director David Slade had been working on the project since the spring of 2011 before abruptly leaving. The studio brought in Joe Carnahan who pitched them a dark and gritty take on the Hell’s Kitchen hero in which the studio reportedly was interested. Unfortunately, the reversion deadline was too close for Carnahan to get a script ready in time.
While Feige confirmed that Marvel now had the hero back in their stable of characters available to show up in their growing cross-franchise cinematic universe, he did not state what, if any plans, they had for when he could return to the silver screen.
But barring an appearance in The Avengers 2 in 2015, I don’t really foresee Daredevil swinging his way into cinemas before about 2018. We already know Marvel’s release schedule up through the end of 2015, when we’ll see Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, the first film in Marvel’s “Phase 3” which will supposedly culminate in The Avengers 3 sometime in 2018. But Feige has already stated that we could very well see either a Dr. Strange film and/or a Black Panther film as part of Phase 3. Provided that Marvel stays at a two-films-a-year pace, that only leaves two other spots that a Daredevil film could be slotted into and I would think that Marvel would rather use them for either a third Captain America or Thor film or a second Guardians Of The Galaxy film. This would push Daredevil to a post-Avengers 3 position.
Now there is one other possibility that the studio could be considering – Television. It currently has a pilot for SHIELD television series sitting with ABC that seems like a sure thing to be picked up. But the studio had been developing a number of Marvel’s properties for television, though they did not have much luck in getting them past the pilot script page. One of those was Cloak And Dagger for ABC Family which featured two more street-level characters in a mold similar to Daredevil. Granted this is pure speculation on my part, but if SHIELD is a hit, the studio would certainly want to look to exploiting that with further television series. And since SHIELD has crossed over to TV from the Marvel films I would see no reason why a television Daredevil wouldn’t be able to cross over to the Marvel films for an appearance.