Daredevil: Born Again Will Break Away From Marvel TV Formula in One Major Way
Could we finally be getting the MCU's take on a procedural drama with Daredevil: Born Again?
Aside from maybe WandaVision, the MCU’s current foray into television has been mostly serialized, with each episode of a series directly leading into the next until the story more or less wraps up at the end of the season. While this allows Marvel to tell longer stories and spend more time with characters than they’ve been able to with movies, this “eight-hour movie” format has also kept this corner of the MCU from embracing some of the things that make TV such a unique and special medium.
Even though serialized TV has started to become the norm in the streaming era, shows like Peacock’s Poker Face and Abbott Elementary are reminding us how fun the episodic format can still be. At the very least, Marvel Studios’ chief mastermind Kevin Feige seems to be paying attention.
The studio head recently sat down with EW to hint at the future of the MCU, including what he wants the TV side of the MCU to look like going into Phases 5 and 6. For one thing, he wants future Disney+ series to further embrace the unique opportunities offered by the TV format: “We want to do shows that can only be shows. I want to continue to make them even more episodic, which may seem counterintuitive. But I do think there is something fun about leaning back and watching an episode that can be relatively self-contained.”
He later brings up Star Trek: The Next Generation as an example of a more procedural approach, saying, “Cliffhangers are great, and I like watching a show where you should go to bed, but you see the cliffhanger and you just have to watch the next episode. You certainly want to keep people engaged. But I’m a big Star Trek fan, and I still find it soothing to watch an episode of Next Gen with a beginning and an end. So, I think we’re going to keep experimenting with that going forward.”
Now, what does this all mean for Daredevil: Born Again? Well, we already know that the first season of this series will have 18 episodes, by far the most we’ve seen ordered for an MCU series at this point and the closest we’ve come to a traditional twenty-something episode season of television in the Marvel universe since the cancellation of the MCU-adjacent series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When asked about how Daredevil: Born Again will fit into the MCU, Feige didn’t say much (of course), but he did say that the series will likely feature a more episodic format: “That’s sort of what I was talking about with the fun of episodic television. That’s really where we’re experimenting with that, with Daredevil in particular.”
This is great news for those of us (myself included) who really wanted She-Hulk: Attorney at Law to lean more into the procedural format of other “lawyer shows,” and were disappointed that the series didn’t embrace the “case of the week” format as much as it could have. As fun as the badass action scenes in Netflix’s Daredevil series are to watch, seeing more of Charlie Cox as lawyer Matt Murdock is honestly a lot more exciting than it may sound. His case in She-Hulk was used to reveal that the Sokovia Accords were repealed after the Blip, so who knows what other kinds of socio-political intricacies could be revealed in other court cases or investigations throughout Born Again.
As the MCU becomes increasingly entangled and inter-connected, it’s nice to see that Feige is willing to take a step back from the serialized format and let some of the TV shows be TV shows moving forward. It will be interesting to see how this “experimentation” plays out in Born Again and other MCU series in the future, given how hit-and-miss some of the MCU shows have been with viewers thus far. But if any show is going to pull this off, I think Born Again has a great shot at it.
Daredevil: Born Again is currently scheduled to hit Disney+ in 2024.