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And just like that, the promise of Joe Carnahan's gritty '70s-based take on "Daredevil" appears to be a thing of the past.
Word recently leaked about a proposed deal between Fox and Marvel that would have extended the life of the "Daredevil" option for Fox in exchange for them allowing Marvel to use some of the characters that are included in the various rights packages that Fox has under option, specifically Galactus, who is still bundled in with the "Fantastic Four" property.
It appears that will no longer be the case.
If you check out Carnahan's Twitter timeline, you can see the conversations he's been having for the last few days, and it certainly seemed like Daredevil was on his mind. At one point, he told a fan "DD fans would be very pleased if they saw the things I've seen of late. Very, VERY pleased…" He also discussed some of his own feelings about how to portray the character. "You have to deal with the fact that he IS blind," he told one person who brought up the idea of Daredevil's other senses being supercharged to such a degree that his blindness didn't matter. "He can't be super-charged and seeing 'sound' through walls. That's bulls**t."
I love that Carnahan has not had that blunt, uncompromising attitude of his dulled by years of playing the development game in Hollywood. He's still very much the guy we first spoke to around the time "Narc" came out, and he's one of those people who doesn't seem to play the game by tiptoeing around things. If he's got something on his mind, he spills it.
That's why it's discouraging to read his tweets from last night.
"Think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids."
"We shall see. Time is NOT on anyone's side."
That's true. If Fox doesn't pin down a plan to extend their option by October, that's it. Game over. Marvel gets the rights back and Fox loses the character permanently. I wish we had some idea of what happened that ended Carnahan's ambitions for the character. This is not uncommon, though, this kind of a near-miss in developing a film. Carnahan's certainly had more than his fair share, too. I'm sure he'll rebound nicely, but this is going to be one of those great unanswered "What if?" moments, and that's a shame. I'd love to have seen what he was working on, and if the rights revert to Marvel, I doubt we'll see any version of the film any time soon.
For now, content yourself with the sizzle reel that Carnahan prepared for the studio, which he just released via YouTube:
Oh, well. Maybe next time.