Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Here's How Daredevil: Born Again Can Live Up To Those Sky-High Expectations

Matt Murdock enters the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a fun, brick-catching cameo in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," and turns in a couple of welcome appearances as Jennifer Walters' (Tatiana Maslany) legal adversary and surprise romantic interest in "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law." Most importantly, however, this isn't just any Daredevil. This is the version played by Charlie Cox, the star of arguably the best Marvel Netflix series before "Daredevil" and the streamer's other Marvel series migrated to Disney+ and were rebranded as "The Defenders Saga." Fans love Cox's take on the character, and the actor himself has credited the fandom's "Save Daredevil" movement for his return (via Marvel.com). 

Now that Cox's Daredevil is back, his own Disney+ show is fast approaching. "Daredevil: Born Again" is a particularly ambitious MCU small-screen project because of its 18-episode length, and because it has the unenviable task of establishing the brooding Defender as a leading man in a way that still allows him to believably exist alongside the more colorful elements of the MCU. 

Per IGN, "Born Again" won't directly continue the Netflix show's story, but it still has a lot to live up to if it wants to compare. Because of the gigantic fan interest in the original show, it's hard to see the MCU show working without being mindful of what came before. Since hordes of Daredevil aficionados are waiting with bated breath to see how the show holds up to their expectations, here's a look at what "Daredevil: Born Again" needs to do in order to succeed.

Bring back old favorites and know which characters to avoid

Two major players of the Netflix Marvel era have already been introduced in the MCU, and fortunately, they're far and away the most crucial ones. Daredevil himself is obviously a given, but his greatest adversary also made his way to the MCU when Wilson "Kingpin" Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) turned out to be the main villain of "Hawkeye." Despite the implication that "Daredevil: Born Again" will be a soft-ish reboot of Matt Murdocks' story, there's no reason why other "Daredevil"-era favorites couldn't return as well. 

The Netflix "Daredevil" series has a whole bunch of great characters, and it's easy to imagine that fans would be gravely disappointed if Elden Hensons' affable, yet complex Foggy Nelson won't be back for "Born Again." Given her prominence in the "Born Again" comic book storyline by writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Voll) might also return. If she does, let's hope that she'll be better off in the show than she is in the comics, where Karen goes through some seriously hard times.

Still, the Netflix show's character gallery has its misses as well, and they should be avoided at all costs. "Daredevil" features some of the worst MCU Netflix villains, from Colonel Ray Schoonover (Clancy Brown) to the Hand. Speaking of the mystical ninja organisation, the MCU show should probably steer clear of this largely generic group, even if it comes at the cost of highlights like Elodie Yung's Elektra Natchios and Wai Ching Ho's delightful Madame Gao.

Make sure Daredevil has a bad time

The Matt Murdock we see in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" is at least as awesome as he is in the Netflix show, but he comes with a quicker wit, an easier smile, and far faster reflexes than fans of the Netflix show have accustomed to. A small MCU power boost is understandable, if only because a fight between the Netflix Daredevil and a Hulk would be a very short and messy one. However, the happiness part can't really carry over to "Daredevil: Born Again" if the show wants to win over the Netflix-era fans.

Seeing Matt Murdock smile, flirt, and generally have a great time in "She-Hulk" is great, but Fun Hookup Daredevil ultimately isn't the Matt the fans fell in love with. "Daredevil's" three Netflix seasons aren't exactly a picnic for the character. Virtually every aspect of Matt's public and vigilante lives gets repeatedly torn to pieces, and every victory has a steep price.

There's so much suffering-themed precedent for Charlie Cox's character that it would seem outright strange if he maintained his happy-go-lucky "She-Hulk" attitude throughout "Born Again." As such, the viewers might not wish that Matt loses his smile, but since he's one of Marvel's premier "suffering hero" archetypes, "Born Again" simply needs to give him a seriously awful time to make fans feel at home. Luckily for "Daredevil" fans (but unfortunately for Matt), the "Born Again" comic book storyline does precisely that. As such, the makers of the show are probably well aware of the need to send Daredevil to hell and back, regardless of the overall tone the show intends to go with.

Use the show to reintroduce (some of) the other Defenders

As Daredevil and Kingpin start making more and more moves in the MCU, expect an increase in fan theories about other "Defenders Saga" notables. Just like "WandaVision" fans kept creating fan theories about Mephisto, the hype train for other Defenders and their potential introduction in the MCU proper will likely travel at the speed of sound by the time "Echo" draws near ... let alone "Daredevil: Born Again" itself. The only difference here is that compared to the Mephisto stuff, the assumption that an established friend of Daredevil might turn up in a Daredevil show is a far smaller hail Mary. Why would the MCU resist bringing other Netflix-era heroes into its Disney+ shows? That mountain of IP gold isn't going to turn into actual gold by sitting on it forever.

As such, "Born Again" absolutely, positively needs to bring in at least one of Daredevil's fellow Defenders. The most logical way to do this would be via Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), whose snark levels need no adjustments to fit in the MCU — and whose status as a private detective would make her an obvious port of call if, say, a blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen needs help to crack a case. Potentially, Jones would be a good way to bring Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in the mix as well, much like she does in her namesake show. As for Iron Fist ... well, that might be a more difficult case, since his live-action incarnation isn't quite as well-received as the others. Unless, of course, they go with the Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) version, which would be pretty neat.

It's unlikely that "Born Again" intends to introduce the whole gang in one fell swoop. Still, to truly satisfy the fans, at least one of these characters should probably make an appearance.

Make sure the villain game's on point

Since Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin will be in "Daredevil: Born Again," the show has already secured one of the most compelling superhero show villains out there — or at least a version of him. However, it's extremely unlikely that an 18-episode MCU show intends to run with just one major villain.

Apart from Kingpin, the most likely returning foe from the Netflix series is Wilson Bethel's Benjamin Poindexter. His transition from a tormented agent to a Daredevil clone is a major part of "Daredevil" Season 3, and he's all but stated to return as the surgically augmented Bullseye in the season finale. Poindexter is a compelling villain, and his aiming-themed skillset would work great in the MCU, as Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has demonstrated over and over again. What's more, "Daredevil" Season 3 uses elements of the "Born Again" comic storyline, which "Daredevil: Born Again" seems to be based on as well. Bringing Bullseye back in the mix would be a natural fit, especially since the "Defenders Saga" version of the character already knows Kingpin ... even though they're not exactly on best terms.

Regardless of whether Bullseye arrives, you can probably expect other secondary and tertiary villains, as well. This is where the show can (and probably will) get pretty creative, since the "Born Again" comic's secondary supervillain Nuke is basically just Will Simpson (Wil Traval) from "Jessica Jones" — and a bit too close to the MCU's U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell) for comfort, anyway. As such, be ready for some seriously deep cuts into Daredevil's rogues gallery. Could we see folks like Stilt-Man and Mr. Fear make their way into the MCU? Can "Born Again" make them work? 

The inevitable hallway fight scene has to be just right

Look, we all know it's coming. The question is: Can they do it well?

Netflix's "Daredevil" famously features some of the best hallway action scenes this side of "Oldboy." "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" briefly nods at Daredevil's propensity for elaborate combat in dark passageways, so Kevin Feige's troops are clearly aware of the importance of a good hallway dust-up in Daredevil lore. 

However, a big part of what makes the Netflix ones so awesome is their grounded realism. Matt grows more winded and weary with every blow he deals and receives, and ultimately powers through the situation with sheer determination. In other words, these scenes are dark and carry an air of desperation. You know who decidedly isn't dark and desperate? Matt Murdock in "She-Hulk." He also seems much faster during Daredevil's fight with She-Hulk, keeping in line with the MCU's wilder, less grounded tone.

At the end of the day, Charlie Cox's charm and Daredevil's tried-and-tested quality as a live action character mean that if the MCU keeps its eye on the ball, "Daredevil: Born Again" has potential to be an excellent series. However, right now, it's very difficult to see this bouncy, wall-jumping version of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen having any trouble with a dozen mooks coming at him in a narrow space. In order to deliver a hallway scene that satisfies fans of the Netflix show, this is one extra high hurdle that "Born Again" needs to clear with flying colors.