In the latest episode of our ongoing series, Ryan George reveals what (probably) happened in the pitch meeting for the 2003 Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck. Yes, before Affleck was Batman, Jon Favreau was Happy Hogan and Charlie Cox was Matt Murdock, Affleck was Matt Murdock, Jon Favreau was Foggy Nelson, and Charlie Cox was... still waiting for his role in Stardust to come along and make him famous.
Written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, Daredevil predates both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe, and came out in a time when the comic book movie renaissance was just getting started. Tobey Maguire was wowing audiences as Spider-Man, the X-Men were gearing up for X2, and Warner Bros. was tentatively giving the green light to up-and-coming indie director Christopher Nolan to make a new Batman movie.
At the time, Marvel Studios had licensed out most of its characters to other studios and the movie rights to Daredevil were in the hands of X-Men studio 20th Century Fox. After stewing in development hell for several years, Daredevil finally made it to the big screen with Affleck playing the blind lawyer/vigilante, Colin Farrell as Bullseye, and Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin. The movie was generally derided by critics and fans upon its release, but that didn't stop it from being a modest box office success, grossing $179 million worldwide.
With that modest box office success came plans for a spinoff/sequel with Jennifer Garner reprising her role as Elektra Natchios - a fact that was only slightly complicated by the fact that Elektra was killed off in Daredevil. Elektra died a second death at the box office, however, and both she and Daredevil lay dormant for a decade until someone at Marvel TV floated the idea of doing Daredevil again, this time as a TV show. Thus began the Defenders corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will soon be closing its final chapter with season 3 of Jessica Jones.
Now that the initial ire has long since died down, some fans have softened on Daredevil, and it often crops up on lists of underrated comic book movies that are worth revisiting. After all, Farrell and Duncan are a lot of fun as the villains, and Affleck got to try out his superhero smirk before he switched from a devil mask to a bat mask. All it was missing was a nice long one-shot fight scene in a hallway.