About a month ago, I mentioned in the Weekly Weblinks that Fox was having some difficulties getting their Daredevil reboot off the ground, with director David Slade bowing out of the project. Now it’s looking like time is running out for Fox, as the expiration date for their license is fast approaching. According to Variety, Marvel has declined to grant Fox an extension on the license — and considering Marvel has been both prolific and successful producing their own movies, this should not come as any surprise.
As things stand, Fox has until October 10 to start putting the film into production — a mere two months away, which isn’t that much time for a movie that has stalled out multiple times. Joe Carnahan, director of Smokin’ Aces, The A-Team, and The Grey, is Fox’s current choice to helm the film, but he has stated he is not optimistic about the film’s chances of getting going before the deadline, posting on Twitter that he thinks it’s “gone up in smoke”. According to the license agreements that Marvel has been using, the license-holders can hold onto the property as long as there is a work in active development. As long as there’s a film actively in development, the expiration date keeps getting moved back; the rights only revert after a certain period of time without a film being in production (this is part of why Sony was so quick to push out another Spider-Man film). The first, and so far only, Marvel character licensed out to another studio that has reverted to Marvel Studios is the Punisher. Fox and Carnahan have eight weeks to start active development on Daredevil if they want to avoid Matt Murdock being the second.
If nothing else, this is all very interesting to observe. I haven’t seen Carnahan’s films, so I don’t know if he would be a good or bad choice for Daredevil, though I think I can see why Fox chose him. But I have to admit, considering how well Marvel Studios has handled their own characters, Daredevil reverting might well be the best thing for the fans.