News broke yesterday that Marvel is negotiating to extend FOX’s hold on the rights to Daredevil in return for the rights to the Silver Surfer and Galactus, two characters FOX controls as part of their Fantastic Four package. (Surfer appeared in the second of the studio’s recent FF films, as did Galactus … sort of.) The report was later contradicted, but it’s clear that Marvel execs are busy prioritizing which leased-out characters they’d like to pull back into the fold ASAP. And, quite frankly, the thought that they’d rather have Surfer and Galactic back instead of Daredevil is shocking to me.
Daredevil isn’t exactly Spider-Man, but he’s a solid B-level character from Marvel’s stable of heroes. Mark Steven Johnson didn’t do him any favors with his lifeless, Ben Affleck-starring 2003 take on the character, so you’d think Marvel would be eager to get Daredevil back to take another crack at him. But instead they want the nude silver-colored alien and a giant godlike being in a funny hat? That’s insane!
Well, it’s insane unless you consider that aliens and gods are what Marvel is all about now. Don’t forget The Avengers has already teased the Hulk-sized outerspace beastie Thanos in its mid-credits tag. And, at Comic-Con, Marvel announced that a Guardians of the Galaxy movie is going into production. That will be based on a comic that prominently features a colorful cast of non-human characters, including a goddamn talking raccoon. In other words, the Marvel movieverse is moving far away from its somewhat-grounded-in-realism Iron Man beginnings, and maybe Daredevil — a character who works best in a grim-and-gritty universe not unlike Christopher Nolan’s version of Gotham — just doesn’t fit.
Which to me is kind of a bummer, but maybe that’s just because Daredevil has always been one of my faves. I’ve also been holding out hope for an eventual Marvel Knights flick. Punisher and Blade are back in the fold. Once they get Daredevil back, Marvel can team those three up, throw in Moon Knight (shut up — I love Moon Knight) and bring Black Widow along for the ride just to connect it to the Marvel movieverse at large. You know you’d go see that. I sure as shit would. And teaming up Marvel’s darker heroes would provide a nice counterpoint to the Avengers’ more colorful antics. (Which I quite enjoyed, though there’s no reason we can’t have both.) But if Marvel passes on Daredevil to get back Silver Surfer and Galactus, I’m not going to expect anything other than far-out cosmic hijinks for quite a while.