Netflix’s late-November nixing of Daredevil after three seasons was a most consequential of cancellations. The series – the first and arguably most popular of the contracting canon-connected, Marvel Cinematic Universe-adjacent small-screen streaming offerings alongside Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders – stands as a checkmated king on the proverbial Netflix-Marvel chess board. It’s especially lamentable to star Charlie Cox, who, in a new interview, reveals that the story of Season 4 was already essentially mapped out.
Speaking with Inverse, Matt Murdock/Daredevil himself, Charlie Cox dishes on a crucial aspect of the now-scrapped Daredevil Season 4’s plot. “They’d had a preliminary conversation with me about what might happen and who might be involved or what the story might be” the actor confesses. He adds, “That was exciting me and what I heard was very exciting. So, I had a vague sense of what the show might be. I had some idea.”
In a revelation that will likely be seen by fans as bittersweet, Cox implies that the fourth season would have prominently featured the fully-realized metamorphosis of Wilson Bethel’s Benjamin Poindexter into the signature comic book villain, Bullseye. According to Cox:
“I was looking forward to Wilson Bethel kind of getting to inhabit the character of Bullseye.” Cox adds, “Season 3 was kind of an origin story for the character and how Agent Poindexter becomes that character. So, I was looking forward to having a season where he really embodies the Bullseye persona and what that dynamic would be between Bullseye and Daredevil.”
Indeed, throughout the intricately-woven story threads of Daredevil’s third season (now its final one), the arc of Wilson Bethel’s tortured F.B.I. Agent, Benjamin Poindexter, was prominent for a good reason, since, as anyone familiar with the Marvel Comics title knows, the character was destined to become the maniacal, ultra-accurate supervillain assassin, Bullseye; an A-list comic antagonist of the red-suited Man Without Fear, famously portrayed by Colin Farrell opposite Ben Affleck’s titular hero in the 2003 Daredevil movie.
The arc we got in Season 3 was a tragic prelude for Poindexter, a poster child for the all-too-real aspect of what happens when unchecked mental illness becomes channeled through destructive distractions. Moreover, we saw how his loss of a support system led to a dramatic mental decline, going from the stability and routine of his job toward an insatiable inclination for killing. While (forgoing spoilers,) Season 3 concluded with Poindexter left in a bad spot that hints a transformation, we didn’t get to see Poindexter go full-Bullseye. Thus, it is encouraging to hear that the showrunners intended for those seeds to bear proper fruit in Season 4.
As for Cox, who lost the most prominent role of his career in the cancellation, his approach has been to take it in stride. As he explains:
“I know that it’s not personal, or it certainly doesn’t feel personal to me. Obviously, I’m very saddened by the cancellation and I was shocked by it because Season 3 had been so well received. I imagined we would continue making the show.”
Yet, Cox seems resigned to the idea of his run as Daredevil coming to an end; a notion that contrasts with an early post-cancellation statement from Marvel, which gave fans a sliver of hope teasing, “We look forward to more adventures with the Man without Fear in the future.” It was a loaded statement for sure, seeing as Marvel’s corporate parent, Disney, is launching its own streaming service, called Disney+, for which high-profile Marvel movie-connected TV shows are already planned, notably a solo series centering on Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, as well a series starring Paul Bettany’s Vision and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. Consequently, if (and that is a big “if,”) Disney+ were to rescue and/or revive a wayward Netflix-Marvel series, Daredevil would be a shoo-in for that (hypothetical) spot.
Of course, the legion of fans who were left devastated by the cancellation of Daredevil have been supporting a Change.org petition to revive the show. It’s a notion that Cox appreciates, though his comments don’t exactly evoke optimism. As he states:
“I think it’s awesome there’s a petition. It’s lovely that people want their voices to be heard and say they want the show to come back, and maybe that will have an influence … if there is a possibility for it to come back, I think the petition can’t hurt. It’s a reminder of how popular the show was and that’s really, really cool. Last I heard we’re near approaching 200,000 signatures, which I think is a lot.”
While the cancellation of Daredevil was preceded by the axing of fellow shows The Defenders, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Netflix’s Marvel shows are, in the meantime, still in play with the recent premiere of The Punisher Season 2, as well as the imminent arrival of Jessica Jones Season 3 on a date to be revealed. Yet, you needn’t be an expert industry prognosticator to see the circling shadows of cancellation buzzards, and the seemingly inevitable conclusion of Marvel’s small screen endeavors on Netflix.