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The Man Without Fear is about to become the Man Who Inspires You to Get a Netflix Subscription. Daredevil is the first show in Marvel’s sprawling 60-epiosde “package,” which also includes Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and, finally, The Defenders, a street-level, Avengers-modeled miniseries that brings those characters together.
But that wasn’t always the plan — or, at least, it didn’t always involve Daredevil. The film rights to Matt Murdock once belonged to Fox, with the studio producing one ill-fated Daredevil movie in 2003. Those rights reverted back to Marvel Studios in late 2012, but not before director Joe Carnahan was approached by Fox to make a Daredevil pitch.
“What people don’t realize about the DD project is that the producers of the film got to me very late,” he said. “They had a script that I read and I thought that while the action was wonderful, the story didn’t really have any additional bite. There was nothing I suggested a trilogy as follows. ‘Daredevil ‘73’ ‘Daredevil ‘79’ and ‘Daredevil ‘85’ where I was going to do a kind of ‘cultural libretto’ and make the music of those eras a kind of thematic arc . So the first one would be Classic Rock, the second one would be Punk Rock and the third film would be ‘New Wave.’ The problem was, the option was almost set to lapse so we made an eleventh hour bid to Marvel to retain the rights for a bit longer so I could rework the script. Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen. Marvel wanted the rights back. I don’t blame them.”
Even if Daredevil isn’t happening for Carnahan, the filmmaker will have another chance at the superhero genre with Nemesis, an adaptation of the Mark Millar and Steve McNiven comic. It’s a big undertaking, Carnahan said, but a worthy one.
“I think the biggest challenge with Nemesis is that it’s just a motherfucker of screenplay in that it pushes a lot of buttons and does things that both expand and violate the traditional mores of the ‘comic book adaptation’ and that’s a scary conceit when The Dark Knight is considered the socio-political lynchpin of that particular universe,” he said. “I think Nemesis fucks with the genre in such a thumb-in-the-eye fashion that it might simply be something for another time and place. It’s incredibly topical and remains infuriatingly so. I chalk it up to another really wonderful script that my brother and I wrote that simply may be too smart-assed for its own good.”