Before Disney bought Marvel Studios, the company had launched a slate of superhero shows on Netflix through their Marvel Television arm. Those included Daredevil, Punisher, and Jessica Jones among others. Those three shows in particular, were huge hits and eventually merged into one team-up universe called The Defenders. Daredevil got to season 3 before it ended and fans still want more in the form of Daredevil Season 4.
But with Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, the company was keen to get everything in-house, so all of Netflix’s Marvel superhero shows were shut down before Daredevil Season 4 could be made.
With Netflix’s Marvel division completely shut down, the fear was that the characters from those sometimes wonderful, sometimes maddening, shows were done with. Apparently, that is not the case. Plans are in the works to bring a few of those great characters from Netflix into the larger Marvel universe. Here’s what they’re doing…
Accusations Of Racism
One of the good things that could happen, if Marvel/Disney chooses to move forward with a Daredevil season 4, is a better handling of the franchise’s Asian characters. The series was previously produced under their Marvel Television arm, but those producers are gone and any future movement would happen under the direction of Marvel Studios proper. And that’s a good thing because the old Marvel Television crew is under heavy fire for perceived racism.
The most incendiary actuations come from Peter Shinkoda, who played Nobu on Daredevil. In a recent interview he dropped this bombshell…
“I’m kind of reluctant to say this, but I’m going to take it and I apologize to Tommy and Geoff that I’m going to take this moment, but I have to because… because I just have to. I’m not really into protecting certain things anymore, but Jeph Loeb told the writers room not to write for Nobu and Gao. And this was reiterated many times by many of the writers and showrunners — that nobody cares about Chinese people and Asian people. There were three previous Marvel movies, a trilogy called Blade that was made where Wesley Snipes kills 200 Asians each movie because nobody gives a shit, so don’t write about Nobu and Gao. So they were forced to put their storyline down and drop it.“
Shinkoda goes on to say that a storyline they were writing for Nobu and Gao was then scrapped and that the writers were “very apologetic” but told him “their hands were tied”.
“It was a very interesting storyline about having to go [to New York] under the guise of getting some kind of transplant for medical reasons and a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy was fudged so that Nobu could get into the country and then carry out his Black Sky plans. But all that backstory was dropped, and the writers that told me they were reluctant to do it because they were so stoked about the storyline, but they were prevented. So I had to concoct this other storyline and then rock that material that I was given. Regretfully, I didn’t get to ever explore that.“
So far there’s been no comment from the old Daredevil team or Marvel. But if Daredevil season 4 ever goes forward, expect big changes in this regard.
Whether Daredevil season 4 happens or not it’s possible that some of the show’s characters could spin off into other Marvel projects. In particular, everyone seems to want more of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. And now it seems it may actually happen.
D’Onofrio himself dropped this vague little tease on Twitter…
Kingpin is one of the most iconic Marvel villains in the comics and D’Onofrio’s portrayal of him created probably the best Marvel villain we’ve ever seen on screen in any movie or television show. To leave him languishing in Netflix obscurity would be a crime. He’s ready to make the leap to movies. Hopefully that’s what Vincent is teasing. or maybe he’s just trying to generate fan hype to talk Marvel suits into re-hiring him. Either way, we’re in for more Kingpin, whether it’s in Daredevil season 4 or the next Avengers movie.
Daredevil Season 4
So while the original Netflix Marvel superheroes won’t be coming back as a team, that doesn’t mean the actors who played those characters are done playing them. We first started hearing rumors a couple of weeks ago which indicated that Disney is considering bringing back Charlie Cox to play Daredevil in Daredevil Season 4. They’re also keen to get back Jon Bernthal to play Punisher and Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones for other Disney-owned projects. But there’s one huge obstacle in their way: Lawyers.
Though Marvel now has the rights to all these characters and the ability to do anything they want with them, they may not be able to hire the actors who portrayed them on their respective Netflix series’. Apparently the actors involved in these shows are technically still under contract to Netflix.
It’s a bizarre contract situation since those contracts are to appear on Netflix shows which Netflix no longer has the legal right to make, but at the same time the actors don’t have the legal right to go play those characters for someone else. That means Charlie Cox can’t be in Daredevil Season 4 for Marvel.
It’s something Marvel may be trying to sort out, but in the end they could end up with no choice but to recast if they want Daredevil Season 4 and that probably means no Daredevil Season 4.
CNET claims they’ve been talking to Kevin Mayer, the Disney executive in charge of Disney Plus. According to their report he told them that Disney Plus could possibly revive some of these Netflix characters, with an eye towards putting the on one of their streaming services.
Specifically the latest word is that Disney wants to revive the Netflix Daredevil series for season 4 and put it on Hulu. Yes, Disney owns Hulu in addition to Disney Plus. So why not put it on Disney Plus? Disney Plus caters more towards family programming and Daredevil isn’t particularly family friendly. It’s a PG-13 show at best and thus probably more geared towards the strictly adult audience of Hulu, if they bring it back for a season four.
The good news here is that if they can get past contract problems, the plan is for this to be a legit Daredevil season 4, with Charlie Cox back playing the Man Without Fear. Better still, they may give the show a bigger budget to really up the special effects into the realm of quality fans have come to expect from Disney’s Marvel products. Other Avengers staples might make cameos, especially Nick Fury, as a way to integrate the Netflix Defenders universe into the rest of the MCU.
Unfortunately because of other contract issues with Netflix this was not actually something they were even allowed to do until 2020. That probably explains why the shows were just cancelled instead of being moved directly over to Hulu or Disney Plus for Daredevil Season 4 without this gap.
The New Defenders
When it comes to Netflix’s Defenders, which sadly ended up being fairly disappointing, there is a plan in place for it too. Looks like Marvel intends to bring the Defenders to Disney Plus, though the team you will see won’t be the team from the Netflix series.
Marvel plans to create the new Defenders line-up closer to the source material, bringing in heroes such as Doctor Strange, Hulk, and Namor the Sub-Mariner, all of whom were part of the original line-up. They may also be bringing into the group Daredevil and/or Jessica Jones.
Of course, this brings into the question of Benedict Cumberbatch’s status. He is on the hook for one more Doctor Strange movie then his contract is over. The thought is that Cumberbatch will stick around long enough through the first season of the series to bring the Defenders together. As more details emerge, we’ll get them to you.