Daredevil to bid farewell after Season 3?
Aparnna Hajirnis -
We have some bad news for fans of the show Daredevil. Daredevil season 4 probably won't happen - even when Marvel gets the rights back.
Netflix cancelled one series after another, even pulling the plug on Jessica Jones before season 3 released. Netflix never announced the reasons for the cancellations, but they were likely related to a decline in viewing figures combined with changing corporate priorities.
Daredevil was the most popular, and critically acclaimed, of all the Marvel Netflix shows. As a result, Marvel fans are thrilled at the possibility the Man Without Fear could soon make his MCU debut. But, while that's not impossible, it's safe to assume Marvel's plans won't include Daredevil season 4.
Although Netflix never owned the intellectual property rights for Daredevil et al, the contract nevertheless limited Marvel's future use of these franchises. One clause in the acquisition agreement reportedly specified Marvel could not use a character elsewhere - on film or TV - until two years after their show had been cancelled by Netflix. This is actually quite standard in the industry, and it serves to protect the streaming service; it means Marvel can't just jump over to a competitor and carry on regardless, building on Netflix's success. Given the timelines of cancellations, that means Marvel can begin developing Iron Fist and Luke Cage in October 2020, Daredevil in November, and the Punisher and Jessica Jones in early 2021.
The end of Daredevil season 3 brought Matt Murdock's life full-circle. The Man Without Fear had reunited with Foggy and Karen, and they had reestablished a local law firm in Hell's Kitchen. All the secrets and lies between these three friends had finally been dispelled, and the Kingpin had been defeated at last. It was, in a sense, the perfect way to end the story; there was a certain poetic quality to it. There was, however, one major loose end. Daredevil season 3 served as the origin story of Wilson Bethel's Bullseye, a homicidal killer who impersonated Daredevil in order to discredit him. Bullseye's back was broken by the Kingpin, and the final scenes showed him undergoing experimental surgery in a surprise nod to the X-Men franchise. Bullseye's back was broken in the comics, too, and he returned with his broken bones and cartilage replaced by the unbreakable metal Adamantium. This clearly served as setup for Daredevil season 4, and indeed the writing team had solidified their plans. Filming of Daredevil season 4 was scheduled to begin in February 2019 - and then Netflix pulled the plug.
The abrupt end of Marvel's partnership with Netflix left a lot of loose ends. Luke Cage and Iron Fist suffered the worst, with both shows ending on a cliffhanger that set up their next respective (never-to-happen) seasons. But, while the conclusion of Daredevil season 3 is a lot less dramatic, that particular cancellation is still truly disappointing. Daredevil's vendetta with Wilson Fisk had come to an end, but Bethel was a typically pitch-perfect casting choice for Bullseye, and it would have been thrilling to see him suit up and claim that identity as his own.
The sad truth is that Daredevil and the other Marvel Netflix shows are over. Symbolizing this fact, since March 2019 Marvel Television has been regularly auctioning off props and even costumes from Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. They wouldn't have done that if they believed there was any chance they'd be using them again.