There was a time when Xavier Gens had his eye on producing a grounded, dramatic, Daredevil reboot that followed Chris Nolan’s Batman movies with its portrayal of fellow orphan-turned masked vigilante Matt Murdock. Gens’ project never progressed beyond the conceptual stage, but David Slade become attached to helm Daredevil 2.0 last year. It’s long been rumored the reboot was being influenced by Frank Miller’s famous “Born Again” comic storyline, during Slade’s term as director.
Slade’s commitments to Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal TV series forced him to pass on the Daredevil reboot last month. That news was especially unwelcome by Fox, seeing how the studio’s current deal with Marvel mandates that the film must be in production no later than October 10th of this year (otherwise, the character rights revert back to Marvel).
That’s worth mentioning, as Variety‘s report indicates that Carnahan is in talks to deliver a Daredevil reboot described as a “Frank Miller-esque, hardcore 70s thriller.” Little-known screenwriter David James Kelly was reported to be taking a stab at the script earlier this year; if Carnahan signs on to direct, there’s an excellent chance he’ll also handle the next rewrite personally (he’s contributed to the writing process on all his feature directing efforts to date).
Carnahan has yet to receive an official offer, but his involvement mostly depends on whether Fox chairman Tom Rothman strikes a bargain with Marvel to extend the Daredevil reboot deadline. It seems such a deal could involve the latter studio gaining the rights to two prominent characters from the Fantastic Four franchise (specifically, the Silver Surfer and Galactus).
UPDATE: Deadline is offering a conflicting report on the situation, saying the Fox/Marvel talks are really about getting Disney to co-finance a Daredevil reboot (otherwise, Fox plans to just let the rights revert back to Marvel).
Variety does not mention why, exactly, Marvel is seeking to secure the rights to the Surfer and Galactus. It could (emphasis on could) be the first step in a long-winded campaign to eventually gain back the rights to the entire F4 property, seeing how that franchise is getting a reboot treatment from Chronicle‘s Josh Trank. The studio is (more likely?) planning to resurrect the defunct Silver Surfer solo movie at some point down the line.
We already know that Marvel is venturing further into the cosmic realm of its shared movie universe (MMU) during “Phase II” of development, beginning with the one-two punch of Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy (studio head Kevin Feige has name-dropped Inhumans as another prospective movie in the foreseeable future). That’s to say: Surfer and Galactus will feel increasingly at home in the MMU, as more other-worldly entities are introduced.
Fox’s F4: Rise of the Silver Surfer previously brought the characters to the big screen; moreover, it’s unlike they were going to be recycled in Trank’s reboot, so Fox might not mind parting ways with them. Similarly, the inherently gritty and brutal nature of Daredevil doesn’t really fit into the comparatively lighter-hearted nature of the MMU, so Marvel might not regret passing on the opportunity to win the character rights back.
That’s all to say: this sounds like a win-win situation for all concerned parties, should a deal come to fruition. A “hardcore 70s thriller” Daredevil reboot overseen by Carnahan is something many fans can get behind (this writer included), while others will appreciate the idea of Marvel gaining back two popular players from the F4 universe. All these dealings are still being hammered out and are technically hush-hush right now, so we’ll have to wait and see what actually happens.
We’ll keep you updated on the situation with Daredevil and Fantastic Four as the story develops.