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Development Deal: Daredevil

If there’s one thing that a quick look at the current state of television and movies will tell you, it’s that there’s not much need for original ideas when there’s so much out there ready and waiting to be adapted, updated or just outright ripped off. That’s why we’ve decided to help in that process with a series which offers up some of the things we’d like to see being brought to big screen or small. This week’s suggestion? Daredevil.

What Is It?
A long-running series from Marvel Comics, Daredevil is a superhero who gained his super-powers (Essentially, heightened senses of hearing, touch, taste and smell) from the same accident that robbed him of his sight. More grounded than many of his Marvel superhero contemporaries, Daredevil has – through accident as much as intent – become more about smaller, more grounded crime and evil than, say, Spider-Man or Iron Man, with threats often as internal as external (Even Dardevil’s secret identity causes some level of internal conflict; Matt Murdock is an upright attorney who has dedicated his life to the law, even as he breaks it every night as a costumed vigilante)… although there are, of course, ninja clans who can resurrect the dead and vicious crime lords who think nothing of widescale destruction as long as it serves their ultimate purpose, as well. As you might have gathered from that short description, when done right Daredevil can be an astonishing read, but there’s a lot of potential for it to miss the mark, as well.

What Could It Be?
Yes, I know there’s been that forgettable Daredevil movie (First mistake? That costume. Second mistake? Almost everything else), but unlike other Marvel super-heroes, I suspect that Daredevil could be far more successful as an ongoing television series. Only a small amount of tinkering with what’s already on the page could turn the idea into a very easily made television show, especially if part of that tinkering does away with the bright red skintight costume aspect (Think Smallville‘s ability to do Superman stories or a version thereof without the costumes, if you’re that doubtful). The essence of Daredevil is something that could work on television, I think – the pressures of living a (contradictory) double life, mixed with the potential procedural aspect of the weekly crime and whatever “wacky” office hi-jinks you choose to add in Murdock’s work life feel to me as if they could be a potent, entirely acceptable for a mainstream audience who may otherwise reject genre television, combination.

If it were up to me, as opposed to Jeph Loeb and the other decision makers at Marvel Television, I’d skip the more famous Frank Miller version of the character in favor of the current incarnation, as written by Mark Waid; there’s something very compelling about the idea that Murdock has determined to be happy even when his life would force most people into the darkest depression, and it’s a strong place for writers to start with the character, just from the sense of immediately inviting viewers to wonder when he’s going to crack (if ever).

The question of who could play a convincing Murdock is a good one; it’d be a demanding role that would require charisma (Murdock is meant to be a ladies’ man, after all) as well as the ability to convincingly pull off being blind as well as an action hero, and I admit I’m coming up blank for suggestions beyond Christopher Egan of NBC’s dearly-departed Kings a few years back. Choosing a showrunner is far easier, though; Bryan Fuller has superhero experience (He wrote the best Heroes episodes, way back when), showrunning experience (from the amazing Pushing Daisies, amongst other shows) and a relationship with Marvel TV’s Loeb from the aforementioned Heroes. He also understands how to balance light with dark, something that feels necessary for Daredevil, especially Waid’s take on the character, so he’s an obvious nod for me.

With Marvel TV already concentrating on the “street-level” characters in the company’s library – AKA Jessica Jones and Cloak and Dagger are already in development – Daredevil seems like a sensible addition to the company’s offerings, as well as something that could fit inside the crime procedural genre with only a slight twist. Surely that would make it too good to resist.


  • sandwich eater

    Doing a superhero show with no costumes is a terrible idea.  Costumes are part of the genre. I mean seriously, vigilantes need costumes to hide their identities. I don’t know why everyone in TV is so embarrassed by costumes that they give us superhero shows without costumes; these shows invariably turn out to be bland. If you want to make a superhero show, embrace the conventions of the genre.  If you take away the costume you wind up with something like Walker, Texas Ranger.  I mean if you really want a show with no costumes why tie the show to the Daredevil license, why not do a Longstreet remake instead?

    Every superhero wears a costume, even the Punisher.

    I seriously hate how everything these days is so watered down.  There are so few hard science fiction or action shows on the air right now.

  • Wayne

    Ditching the costume or mask is the first suggestion everyone seems to come up with for a ‘superhero’ show. I got sick of Smallville constantly dancing around the question like they were disgusted or ashamed of the origins of their characters and ideas, and in the last seven years I watched a grand total of like five-seven episodes: The last one, the ones of the JSA, a few GA-centric episodes, and the Booster/Beetle one. So, stop trotting out Smallville as ‘the way to do it’.

  • Adam

    crap idea

  • A. Holland

    Waid, Rivera & Martin’s Daredevil would work best as a cartoon, IMO. Well, if you do it with animators with real love of animation anyway.. 

    & I’ll also chime in with “nah” at the no mask thing. 

  • Schnitzy-pretzelpants

    Gotta agree with those that have said that ditching the costume is NOT the way to do it.  You cite Waid’s take on DD as a good template – and I agree, but how you think that Waid’s take on DD would translate to TV without the costume baffles me.

    Waid’s is the first take on the character in a long time where we see Matt having border-line pure delight in putting on the tights and going for a spin.  You would lose a central aspect of that if you ditched the costume.

    Leaving all that aside, I always though that the perfect producer for a DD tv series would be Dick Wolf – as he could juggle the ‘procedural’ super-hero stuff  with the courtroom drama elements.  Not sure he would handle the more soap-opera, office stuff as well, as Law and Order never seemed to deal with character development from show to show as well – but you never know…

  • Liam Johnson

    I like the idea of superhero/procedural lawyer show. It certainly makes more sense then The Punisher Series. I’d tune in.

  • Hrlambright

    You’re missing a tag in there.

  • Lastnamecumbie

    Costumes help shape the identity and character of a superhero could people really see a superhero without their costume? Like batman all the way to daredevil when I think of daredevil I think of the costume so horrible idea to not use a costume.

  • Big Goonie

    The main problem stopping Marvel from doing a Daredevil television show is the fact that they don’t have the rights to do it.  Whoever did the movie (Sony?) should also have the television rights to do a show.  That’s why they are trying to get a new movie off the ground, to keep the rights from reverting to Disney/Marvel.

    Talk all you want about format and costumes, but if there is a Daredevil TV show, Jeph Loeb and Marvel probably won’t have anything to do with it…

  • Sw00shman

    Keep the mask. Why else do a comic book tv series. If done right, it works. Look at the current Batman movies. I think they are fairly successful even with the cowl and grounded in a “reality.”  IMO, and Daredevil being one of my favs I thought about this often, a Daredevil series on HBO or Showtime would be best and possibly groundbreaking for either of those channels since its a genre superhero show that hasnt been done yet. 

    I think a solid five season series would be sufficient. Mixing in story elements created by Stan Lee (the origin), Mark Waid’s current run, and Bendis and Miller’s runs would make an exciting and dramatic show. I enjoy series that have a beginning, middle and end to them. Not something like Smallville that was played out to horrible exhaustion. 

    Who to plat Matt? No idea. An unknown could be cast. A young Robert Redford. Both looks and charm and acting chops.

  • Poneley

    Costume is a tricky thing. As a viewer, it is very hard to take a character seriously when you see them in a silly get-up. That’s fact. If a well-rounded adult decided to be a vigilante at night, he or she would protect their identity and use protective clothing but they don’t need to look silly. TV and comics are different genres with different sensibilities– you can’t force the conventions of one onto the other. Batman works because his costume is an outgrowth of his character. Daredevil wears a costume because he originated as a character in a comic book. Its a big difference. Fanboys need to relax. Smallville did a good job. Clark Kent was more relatable because he intervened during a crisis– like we all imagine we would if we had super powers. He didn’t run away, change into a costume, and run back to save the day. None of us would do that. That’s silly and it would take away from our ability to relate to the character.

  • +10 Charisma

    I would much prefer a darker take on Daredevil over Waid’s current incarnation. Not that it isn’t good or anything, but DD just appeals to me much more as a dark, brooding hero. His best stories were dark, so I’d say stick to that. I’d say the same for guys like Moon Knight and Punisher.

    And ditching the costumes? Why destroy the fantasy element from superheroes?

  • bfg666

    The first mistake of the DD movie was to tie it to the hugely watered down Elektra movie. The second mistake was to cast Ben Affleck, the human tofu (as in bland). Sure, the leather costume was not the brightest idea ever, but there were far greater mistakes made regarding this movie.

  • Demoncat4

    given how the trial of the hulk was a back door pilot for a daredevil on tv that never went any where. think horn head is long over due . though can not think of any one other then michel clark ducan as the king pin.

  • Ramsire07

    They already did a “Daredevil” show without the costume. It was called The Sentinel. Why in the world would you even suggest making a Daredevil series without the part that makes him what he is? An avenging devil! You would strip away everything that would set a Daredevil series apart from any other cop show/legal drama. The show would be an epic fail.

  • Dave Morris

    At first when you said ditch the costume I was dubious. But you’re dead right, that could open it up to an audience ten times bigger than it would ever get on TV otherwise. And it would be pretty cool. Let’s face it, those old superhero costumes are all leftovers from 1930s wrestling anyway – time to move on and find a fresh way to tell the story.

    As for who plays Matt – I think Joshua Jackson would do a great job, but I hope he stays busy on Fringe for a few years yet :)

  • Seth Howlett

    I’d love to see Misha Collins as Matt Murdock. Or even Michael C. Hall. They’d be my 2 choices for casting. I love the idea of Daredevil on the small screen because he’s a character that has so many nuances that can’t be fully expressed in a 2 hour movie. But you can’t lose the costume, he can’t be hornhead with the horns. And as much as I hated the Daredevil movie I have to admit that Ben Affleck was indeed the bomb in Phantoms, yo!

  • steve connors

    love the idea of a new daredevil show/film , but stay away from smallville idea 

    bendis stuff would be good !!

  • Nomansmail

    The R-rated cut of the Daredevil film is a fantastic and underrated masterpiece in Marvel’s film stable. How it is so often poked fun at baffles me, especially by anyone who judges DD negatively based solely on the PG-13 version, on record as director Mark Steven Johnson’s unintended cut forced by producer Gary Foster who has since admitted his mistake. Yes, the Elektra movie wasn’t very good and was unfortunately considered by the studio be be a failed sequel attempt rather than a spin-off and the franchise came to a halt. It was a missed opportunity that Affleck, Johnson and Michael Clarke Duncan did not get the opportunity to adapt Frank Miller’s “Born Again” as the proper sequel to DD, which surely could have been a Marvel classic would it have received the same gritty/noir-ish care and respect that the R-rated film got. I think a TV version would be plenty of fun, but this material deserves to be R and more adult and would be better suited for Showtime or Starz. Daredevil is my favorite comic creation of all time and I get tired of hearing people say that “DD should get a film the character deserves” when i believe he already did. The problem is that too many people judged the property without seeing the “real” movie.

  • unsean

    This is unlikely, if only because Fox (if I recall) has David Slade preparing a reboot.  If it were to happen though, I personally would like to see some variation on a costume drama because not having one leaves you with just drama.

    “Heroes” was the exception, before it nuked the fridge.

  • Shamachu

    I agree that the current version would be the best, Im sick and tired of depressing storylines everywhere, there should be entertaining and fun stuff out there damn it

  • Malangoman

    Thats what happened to the Dolph Ludgren Punisher, the director didnt want his movie to look like a comic….IDIOT…What the hell are you using?

  • Cana

    Smallville was based on the origional Superman premise, where there was never a Superboy, where Clark never put on the coustume. The show worked because this version also never developed his powers until adulthood, I think it was a nice take on it, an alternate Earth Superman.

    It became too X-Filesish for me in the end

  • cana

    The costumed Daredevil off course, and not just the red suit but a short daliance with the origional yellow and red. Stick to the origional concept always as much as possible. The best Superhero movies do. Completely ignore the Affleck movie at all costs.

  • Mario Di Giacomo

    You could get away with a _different_ costume, I suppose.  Something not quite as flashy, like Miller used in the end of “Man Without Fear”.  I also think you could get some mileage out of pushing the parkour elements, to give the “hero” scenes some flair.

  • Lord Prong

    Never understood the hatred or derision for the Daredevil film.  I quite enjoyed the theatrical cut and the Director’s Cut was even better.  Everyone seems to jump on the “hate” bandwagon but I’ve yet to read any negative comments that are at all relevant.  The old “Ben Affleck” is a wooden actor is garbage as he was fine, and the film wouldn’t have even been made if he hadn’t stepped up to do it.

  • bfg666

    Ughhh, please no! The yellow and red costume was an abomination!

  • bfg666

    I don’t jump on anything. I make my own mind, thank you, don’t need critics to tell me what I should feel.
    What I felt watching that turd was a mix between heavy boredom and hysterical laughter. Each time I see a Ben Affleck movie, I am confirmed that he’s a terrible actor who can act like my left foot and has the approximate charisma of an amoeba… except in that Jay and Silent Bob flick, but then again, he was not really acting in it, just fooled around with his pals, so he was more natural. And he made by far the lamest impersonation of a blind man I ever saw.
    Honestly, this guy is a joke and I really don’t understand his success. I wish he hadn’t stepped up, because I would have highly preferred no movie at all than this massive waste of footage.