Just when we thought Netflix’s Daredevil series was canon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a new report has cast doubt on those claims.
How? According The Hollywood Reporter (opens in a new tab) (THR), Daredevil: Born Again — the upcoming MCU superhero TV series — has reportedly added Jon Bernthal to its casting ranks. Bernthal, who played Frank Castle/The Punisher in netflix‘s Defenders-Verse, to reprise his role as a bloodthirsty vigilante in Daredevil’s Disney+ show, which is expected to arrive in late 2024.
We previously reported that Bernthal was coming to the MCU as part of Stage 5 Wonderso we’re glad to see that The Walking Dead former student prepares to play the fan-favorite character again.
As nice as Bernthal’s return is, it raises some big questions about how Netflix’s Defenders-Verse fits into the MCU (if at all); whether the MCU’s Daredevil is the same as we’ve seen before; and what it all means to wonder if he decides to incorporate other non-MCU TV shows into his colossal cinematic universe.
Let’s start with the MCU canonicity of Daredevil. Marvel announced that a Daredevil MCU TV show was in development during its Comic-Con panel in July 2022confirming Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio would reprise their roles as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Wilson Fisk from Netflix’s Marvel TV Universe.
Immediately, fans started theorizing if the pair would be the same characters we saw on Netflix. daredevil TV show. After their cameo and supporting roles in Spider-Man: No Coming Home And Hawk Eyeviewers were unsure if that was the case.
However, Daredevil’s supporting role in She-Hulk: Lawyer seemed to confirm that this iteration of the superhero was the same one we saw in Netflix daredevil series. It was She-Hulk episode 8 that almost confirmed that the Daredevil Netflix series was canon in the MCU, which apparently put an end to the confusion.
The return of Bernthal’s Punisher, however, casts doubt on that. For starters, The Punisher is a far more violent character than Daredevil, dishing out deadly punishment *ahem* by the blood-filled bucket in the comics and in his recent live-action appearances.
If the MCU’s Punisher is the same version that Bernthal portrayed in daredevil season 2 and its standalone series on Netflix, Marvel will have to rein in its brutality, which reduces its effectiveness as a character juxtaposed with Daredevil.
Charlie Cox exclusively told TechRadar that Daredevil: Born Again will not be fully R-ratedso it won’t be as violent as Netflix’s daredevil series was anyway. Even so, the best part of Bernthal’s Punisher was its raw, uncompromising, and vicious crusade against the criminal underworld. Removing that R-rated aspect of the character dilutes him and, in some fans’ eyes, might make The Punisher too Disney-fied to be considered the same individual we’ve seen before.
Then there’s the other elephant in the room: the absence of Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson and Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page.
daredevil season 3 ended with Foggy, Page, and Murdock teaming up once again to form a new law firm called Murdock, Nelson, and Page. However, THR suggests that Woll and Henson weren’t invited back as characters for born againnoting that it is unclear if they have been recast or if they are not part of the series at all.
If the MCU’s Daredevil, Fisk and The Punisher are the same iterations of Netflix characters daredevil, wouldn’t it make sense to bring back Matt Murdock’s business partners – not to mention extremely loyal friends? Foggy and Page are an integral part of Daredevil’s comics and live-action journeys just like anyone else, if not more so.
The shelving of these characters – especially the versions played with such emotional gravity by Woll and Henson – for born again indicates that Netflix’s Daredevil show may not be completely canon in the MCU after all. Likewise, it raises the question of whether born again would make up for their absence. If not, audiences can view this as Marvel simply choosing the elements they want to carry over from Netflix’s TV adaptation.
The studio also has the previous form for selecting content and characters for its non-MCU productions.
Agent Cartera Marvel television show airing on ABC and taking place after Captain America: The First Avenger, is not technically an MCU project. However, Marvel took bits and pieces from that show, like Howard Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis, and incorporated them into Avengers: Endgame. Anson Mount reprized his role as Black Bolt on another ABC Marvel show – Inhumans – In Doctor Strange 2although as a cameo.
Finally, there’s speculation that Chloe Bennet’s Daisy Johnson/Quake, first seen on ABC Agents of SHIELDwill appear in Secret Invasion Later this year. Marvel’s decision to include certain characters and subplots from non-MCU projects into its cinematic universe then only further muddyes the waters on what’s canon.
Unlike its sister shows, however, it seemed like Netflix’s Daredevil series was fully integrated into the MCU. The inclusion of The Punisher, along with the obvious lack of other key characters from Netflix’s TV adaptation, suggests that may no longer be the case.
Of course, there is still time for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction. Marvel has already confirmed that Dead Pool 3 will be his first fully R-rated movie, so there’s always the potential that born again could be the first TV-MA/18-plus MCU TV series. Page and Henson could also appear in cameo roles, despite what THR reported.
Marvel, Cox, and company may just be trying to confuse us in an effort to save a few surprises for when the show begins to air. At a time when fans are hungry for every bit of information about Marvel’s upcoming projects, withholding those secrets until the launch date would be a welcome change.
Right now, though, it looks like just one character’s return has blown our theories – about Netflix daredevil to be canon in the MCU – out of the water. With principal photography for the series set to begin shortly, hopefully Marvel will confirm if born again is a full sequel to the Netflix television series.
For more Marvel coverage, check out how to watch marvel movies in order. Plus, see which MCU TV series have arrived on our best Disney Plus shows list and how we ranked every marvel movie so far.