David Slade Discusses ‘Complex’ ‘Daredevil’ Reboot that Never Happened

Published 2 years ago by

daredevil david slade reboot David Slade Discusses Complex Daredevil Reboot that Never Happened

This time last year, Twentieth Century Fox’s reboot of Daredevil still appeared to be on track, albeit with a few wobbling wheels, to head into production within a few months. Talk of a reboot began with Frank Miller and Jason Statham expressing an interest, and Hitman director Xavier Gens later tried pitching the project with Sam Worthington pencilled in to play the lead. Fox, who still owned the rights to the character since producing the Ben Affleck-led version in 2003, began turning the gears on a reboot a few years ago in order to ensure that Matt Murdock remained their property.

Fox chose David Slade – director of the gruesome, low-budget thriller Hard Candy and comic book adaptation Thirty Days of Night – to direct the project early on, and Slade was attached for a couple of years before scheduling conflicts forced him to walk away from the Daredevil reboot. The Grey director Joe Carnahan later made a sizzle reel to pitch his own reboot to Fox, but by that point the studio had lost their temporarily renewed interest in using the property. With the various delays and changing of hands, Fox eventually missed their fall 2012 deadline to begin production on the film, and the rights reverted back to Marvel in October.

The Daredevil reboot might happen one day, but Fox’s hand in it – along with Slade’s version of the film – are officially done. The good news is that this leaves Slade free to share details on the Daredevil movie that might have been, and in an interview with Film School Rejects he teases that it would have been everything the comic book fans wanted to see:

“[I saw it as] really complex and exciting. It was complicated [Laughs], and in the most unimaginable Fox way possible … It’s in the 70s, Kingpin is going through New York dealing with the Irish mafia, and there’s Daredevil in the yellow suit. It was all there!”

Daredevil reboot official announcement David Slade Discusses Complex Daredevil Reboot that Never Happened

The yellow suit mentioned was part of Daredevil’s original design when the character debuted in 1964 (and was later revisited for Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Daredevil: Yellow), but it lasted for only a few issues before Matt Murdock began donning the better-known red suit, modelled by Affleck in Mark Steven Johnson’s film. From the way he describes it, Slade’s Daredevil movie sounds like it would have enjoyed a similar tone to Carnahan’s sizzle reel, which had a very retro feel and integrated classic 1970s songs like “Superfly” into its ultra-violent action. Slade also commented on the similarities:

“It’s funny, I remember Joe Carnahan went after it hard when the rights were about to go. He cut together that thing that was great and exciting, but it was kind of sad, in a way, because everything in that trailer we had attempted to do [Laughs]. Every single thing.”

From the way Slade describes it, it seems as though the Daredevil reboot suffered through the same struggles that have been plaguing the (hopefully) forthcoming Deadpool movie: a darker, more complex, and potentially R-rated plot that would have represented a risk for the studio. The script, which was based on Frank Miller’s often-brutal “Born Again” story arc, underwent an attempted rewrite shortly before Slade left the project, and Carnahan’s pitch included a second sizzle reel titled “Daredevil NC-17“, which featured a greater volume of bloody violence.

With Daredevil back in Marvel’s hands and no current plans from the studio to attempt another movie based on the comic books, Slade has accepted that his shot at presenting the yellow-suited “Man Without Fear” in the planned period setting has been and gone:

“[I'm] moving forward, yeah. You have to. If you don’t, you’ll just go crazy.”

Does hearing about Slade’s originals plans make you sorry to see the Daredevil reboot die? Which actor should have played the starring role, and who should have played the Kingpin? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Source: Film School Rejects

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Daredevil
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  1. Yup, it’s a shame really, that reboot plan sounds like something I want to see. Let’s just now wait for whatever Marvel’s going to do (if there’s any, they got their plate full, after all) with our blind vigilante.

  2. Meh yellow suit, 70′s… I could care less. If they can’t make daredevil relevant and in the current avengers timeline then whats the point.

  3. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Daredevil on the silver screen anytime soon and that’s too bad because he could be an interesting fit in the current Marvel Cinema universe. He doesn’t have to be a member of the avengers or even shield, but remember in the Comics he had a strong history with the black widow and that could make an interesting triangle with DD,widow, and Hawkeye.

  4. And when does the next Punisher reboot happen, despite three unqualified flops?

    • i thought thomas jane’s version was pretty good. i know other people liked it.

  5. I think Sony should buy it if marvel want to sell it. To me it seems pointless it sitting on the shelf gathering dust. There is no way it would fit into the MCU and they do not have the resources to make it as they are only going for two films per year. If Sony had it they could have some cool stories:
    1. Spiderman Vs Kingpin
    2. If Venom is introduced in AS2, as hinted, then later has his own spin off as an antihero you could end up with a sinister six vs daredevil, spiderman and venom working as a team. Then from this victory venom is on thinks he can beat spiderman and that can lead back into the spidey Vs venom plot.
    As I’ve said, IMO this is better then it being stuck on a shelf.

    Potential SonyCU could be:
    2014 – AS2
    2016 – AS3, green goblin as main villain
    2017 – Venom
    2018 – Daredevil – ends up foiling kingpin plot, could use shocker as a foe who works for kingpin
    2019 – AS4, kingpin and Osborn join forces to destroy spiderman and he in turn recruits DD and Venom to help him. Osborn could supply rhino, doc Oc, lizard, electro. Kingpin could then get shocker and one more to make up the Six

    Just a thought

    • Hey not bad i like the idea, always want a dd movie with kingpin and spidey kingpin were great stories too, i just wish everyon would give up this whole venom thing.

      • Thanks, I’ve only really put the Venom film possibility in as Sony keep mentioning it but I wouldn’t be bothered if it didn’t happen. The main thing for me, like you, would be to see a Spiderman v Kingpin scenario as I enjoyed that in TAS

  6. DD is one of my favorite characters by far and I really want to see another movie featuring him soon. There is so many great DD stories to draw from too. Phillip Seymour Hoffman could be a good Kingpin

  7. Daredevil is one of those comic book vigilantes I embraced right away. The only film version that presently exists suggests the potential of the character wherein his “powers” are his senses, of which we all have been endowed.

    Probably the one superhero with which the average reader/viewer has the most symbiosis, this creature of the Marvel universe –in this post-Dark Knight world of cinema– might find credibility difficult without a substantial and significant story line.

    Your challenge to those of us who comment should be…what narrative might launch Daredevil into an adventure tantamount with the established rhythm of superhero movies now and due for the marketplace.

    Ok, Screen Ranters, I’m punting. Any ideas?

      • Definalty would have to be dark and taken “batman” seriously while still fitting into the vein of the Marvel Universe, just its own thing though.

  8. Damn shame. Not sure I’d have liked the yellow suit and retro feel because Daredevil always seemed like he’d be gritty and current and more likely to be shown in the same kind of modern noir full of darkness, shadows, violence and one man doing whatever it takes to end it.

    Honestly, if it were possible I’d have Daredevil as the more “grown up” of the Marvel movie projects.

    No origin, just flashbacks at key moments to piece together the basics of what happened to him and how he became DD. He’s stopping a murder spree, beating Kingpin’s mob along the way to get to him for causing the murders until he realises that the dead people are criminals.

    The real culprit, shown at the end when DD’s main target is put away?

    None other than The Punisher, played by Thomas Jane.

    How great would it be though? Avengers for the kids, Marvel Knights movies with DD, Punisher and Elektra etc for the older age rating due to the dark subject matter and tone that’s more in line with the violent nature of society as we know it instead of the colourful supervillains of Marvel Studios’ main movies.

    • @Dazz

      Terrific plot outline. Damn, Dazz!

    • I think that would be a great premise.

      With multiple films and a television series resources are really stretched; and the idea of adding Doctor Strange and other lesser known characters audiences have not seen yet, it will be awhile to get Daredevil and Punisher out there. I think it is a waste honestly.

      Daredevil and Punisher on screen together and contrasting their different ideology around justice and revenge while tackling the same enemy, the Kingpin, sounds amazing.

      I say the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe must go back to its roots with Iron Man and really strive for a balance of grounded fantasy with a story that is fun while mature. These characters if fashioned right can then fit easily (or at least easier)

    • Totally agree, Ive been thinking about if they did a DD movie they should do a Punisher reboot/loose sequeal startting Thomas Jane. And somehow connect them together after so many singular movies. The Obvious connection being the Kingpin. DD and PUnisher fight, lots. In the end of whatver goes down or how many movies DD is the one to take Fisk down. HOw to get SPidey in there though? By way of the Rose perhaps??
      My pick for best Matt Murdock/DD would be Guy Pierce.

      • You could even keep The Kingpin out of the fight, angry at them for killing/imprisoning his men but willing to sacrifice his crew just to hae The Punisher and Daredevil clash and potentially take each other out, allowing him the chance to continue his shady dealings.

        I’d have Michael Chiklis as Kingpin by the way.

        • not bad not bad, Kingpin is a hard guy to cast, Chiklis has the look but need someone with size and intimidation not only on how big he is but his presence.

  9. I want to see a Daredevil TV show: a combination of the Arrow and Boston Legal. The character fits TV better.

    • Yeah, I had some question also of DD carrying a feature film…unless they come up with one hell of a script. re: comment by Dazz

  10. I think bradley cooper would make a great matt murdock/daredevil on screen, i cant really picture anyone else playing him.

    if they did do a live action daredevil it would need to be a real down and dirty take, almost no cgi aside from his senses and it should 100% be against the NYC mobs and kingpin, and with that you could probably make it a TV series ala ARROW and have a much more drawn out story than something that needed to be told in the standard 2 hour movie time frame. it would probably work out really well, having most episodes deal with the mob and from time to time having stand alone law and order crime solving cases peppered throughout the season. id watch that.

    • Sounds like a tight, solid package. I’d watch it, too.

    • Guy Pierce???

  11. Nah doesn’t sound too good. DD needs to be rebooted and fit in with the Marvel Knights line so we can get a street level type film a la the Avengers along with Moon Knight and Punisher. Hopefully they can fit in Iron Fist and Power Man in there as well to lighten things up a bit. Those two would be perfect for a 70s styled exploitation movie moreso than DD.

    • Seems DD would fit the Marvel universe the way Batman would fit the JLA universe…not an entirely easy fit. But to do a feature in the 70s will cost the producers more money, and they’re trying to do these films on the cheap –especially a lesser known (marketable) and limited character as DD.

      • More money? Why would 70′s costumes/props/sets cost more than modern ones? On the contrary, since much less hi-tech would be involved (and possibly less CGI), it’d probably be cheaper.

  12. Daredevil done in the 70′s would have been awesome. Kinda Kojak meets Scarface gritty NYC Warriors feel. Beating baddies and abusive pimps to a pulp relentless vibe as Curtis Mayfield plays in the background. I can dig it youngbloods.

  13. Sounds awesome. If the footage was awesome, maybe it’ll inspire someone at Marvel. I wonder if these things get passed around behind closed doors and in smoke filled rooms. Dark rooms. With, like, slitty blinds and fat men in white suits smoking cigars… ;)

    • You set the stage, now write the script. If it’s good enough, maybe the producers will take the plunge and do DD as a period piece.

      • It’s a great idea!

  14. lol “FAP”! in the panel :P, i know totally butchered this but couldn’t resist

  15. I’m glad they Marvel has the rights once again.

  16. Meh it is quite simple actually. Marvel/Disney needs to have a Marvel Knights Branch.

    They would work alongside the current Marvel stable (with nods, mentions and possible cameos) but for the most part be on their own.

    They could for all intent purposes work at ‘ground level’ where as The Avengers work at the sky level.

    This could also free up Hawkeye and Black Widow from The Avengers.

    Even if it needs to be farmed out to Fox/Sony etc. thats fine they jsut need to keep a tight leash on it.

    The Marvel Knights brand could be:
    Black Panther (I say keep him in Africa I would love to see stories that deal with the Kingdom of Wakanda and his power struggles and dealings with various faction after the vibranium)
    Hawkeye/Black Widow
    Ghost Rider/Doctor Strange/Blade

    Simple really.

    • oh forgot The Punisher….

    • DC form a co-op with Marvel and bring all those superheroes under the same tent, if not into the same universe….

  17. Doctor strange is far from a ground level hero. Blacl panther is already going to the avengers, so he will not be ground level either.

    • Just because he appears in The Avengers does not say he is going to be a reoccurring character. It may be just a feeler to go off on his own.

      Also Dr. Strange more or less has battles not known to the world as a whole. You know like The Avengers, Hulk, Ironman etc.

      That is what I mean by ground level. Little niche characters that are regulated to their own little part of the world and or area.

      Characters that are still part of the MU as a whole but really do not want anything to do with an alien invasion unless it directly effects their stomping grounds.

      Still simple.

  18. It would be cool to see the yellow and red single “D” costume on the big screen.

  19. I wish they would do another Daredevil movie. It was not tecnologically/FX-wise as cool as later hero movies, but it was all we had at the time, so ya gotta respect that. personally, I would like to see the daredevil movie that was proposed that would have originally been #2: Daredevil vs. Kingpin and Mr. Fear!

  20. When first cast I originally wanted Matt Damon, but got Ben Affleck. Horrible film, which immediately needed a reboot. My choice for Matt Murdock would be Ryan Gosling. They will need someone that can act and can kick ass. Affleck couldn’t even kick above his knee.

    The Kingpin need not be a known actor, but they need to focus more on his presence. DD is by far my favorite character that will sadly not see a reboot. What’s Christopher Nolan up to?

    • Christopher Nolan is the new Ridley Scott…with something to prove. Why is that? I have no idea.

  21. I like the Marvel Knights Idea. It almost has to be a seprate branch to even get these characters out there, considering everyone at M Studios is tied up. Gosling would be a good pick for DD, the dude can definatly act. I think someone with maturity would be something i would want in a Matt Murdock. Someone older. Maybe im just catering to the idea of Guy Pearce but if you picture him in a suit, blind glasse and picture him in the red DD costume, his mouth under the cowl. His manurisms, his voice, i thinks its DD all around, no better match. Gosling definatly has maturity and the chops to do it, i just think that no age restrictions Pearce is the best choice.

  22. Do a Punisher vs Barracuda…bloody beginnings to NC-17 end…or stand alone Barracuda movie