Daredevil, known as “the man without fear,” is now apparently “the man without a movie.”
Joe Carnahan, director of The Grey, The A-Team, and Narc, had been planning to do a gritty reboot of the blind Marvel Comics character, who uses his heightened other senses to battle criminals. But there’s a ticking clock that may have effectively run out already.
20th Century Fox owns the film license for the character, following the 2003 Ben Affleck/Jennifer Garner movie, but the studio would have to get a new Daredevil project underway by October in order to keep those rights. Otherwise, they have been fallow so long they revert back to Marvel Studios.
Last night, Carnahan announced some bad news for his project — though it is likely good news for Marvel, which has been keen to reclaim rights to characters it licensed before becoming a thriving studio in its own right.
Carnahan is a relatively recent addition to Daredevil after 30 Days of Night filmmaker David Slade dropped off the project in July. But it doesn’t seem like his concept has much of a future. “Think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids,” Carnahan tweeted from his @CarnoJoe handle on Monday evening. “We shall see. Time is NOT on anyone’s side.”
Later, Carnahan released two “sizzle piece” videos that cut together footage from the old Affleck film with comics images and scenes and audio from various New York street dramas. One he characterized as “more PG-13,” while the other more bloody version was designated “NC-17″ (though it seems perfectly safe for work.)
Variety reported last week that Fox and Marvel were discussing a potential trade that would allow Daredevil to get a deadline extension if Marvel could reclaim the villain Galactus and the hero Silver Surfer from the studio’s other licensing deals with the comic company. Both are a part of the Fantastic Four package held by Fox, which is developing a relaunch with Chronicle filmmaker Josh Trank. So that conversation didn’t go very far.
Fox also holds rights to Marvel’s mutant world through X-Men, while Sony owns the film rights to Spider-Man. Most of the other rights, however, remain with Marvel Studios, which has been aggressive about bringing its shelf of characters to the screen, and having them crossover into each others films, à la The Avengers.
Fox did not immediately have a comment on Carnahan’s pessimistic assessment or an update on where the project now stands. But those who love Daredevil may take heart — even if this film falls through, Marvel could very well get its own “man without fear” movie going. It just may take a few more years.
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