Last week, Deadline broke the news that the show that started the Marvel/Netflix universe, Daredevil, would not be renewed for a fourth season. This was a feared but semi-unsurprising outcome, as two other Marvel/Netflix shows, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, were also canceled recently. Where this leaves the remaining two Marvel/Netflix shows, Jessica Jones and The Punisher, is still unknown, but it doesn't bode well.
The cancellation of Daredevil was especially frustrating for fans because after multiple disappointing seasons from Marvel/Netflix—including Iron Fist and The Defenders—season three of Daredevil was very well-reviewed. It loosely adapted the classic Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli run, "Born Again," from Daredevil #227-223 in 1986. The story depicted Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, starting out at his absolute lowest, assumed dead by his friends, and his life in absolute shambles. Meanwhile, Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk/Kingpin not only gets out of prison following his incarceration at the end of season one, but begins to reassemble his criminal empire with a newfound ferocity. Not only that, but season three finally introduced the classic, maniacal Daredevil villain Bullseye, played by Wilson Bethel. Gone was Colin Farrell's campy Bullseye from the 2003 Daredevil film. Bethel's Bullseye (named Benjamin Poindexter, but never actually referred to as Bullseye) was a dark, complex study on sociopathy.
The end of season three left the series in a perfect position for so many fantastic directions from the comics. Here are some of those excellent influences that we'll never get to see.
This is the biggest missed opportunity. As stated above, Bethel's portrayal of Benjamin Poindexter/Bullseye was so complex and dynamic. He gave the viewer a real understanding of who Bullseye is and what makes him tick, but he still managed to convey the absolute sadistic insanity of the villain. Considering the dark places he has gone in the comics, and how terribly he has tortured Matt Murdock over the years, it would have truly been amazing to see this new depiction of Bullseye really dialed up to 11 and given the main antagonistic focus in season four.
9. Guardian Devil
Director Kevin Smith got the chance to write Daredevil comics in the late 1990s when Marvel relaunched and renumbered the series. With art by Joe Quesada, Smith's eight-issue run was titled "Guardian Devil." It depicted Matt Murdock having a baby dropped on the doorstep of his law firm who is apparently the Antichrist. Knowing Matt's long history as a Catholic, this news is especially jarring. Skeptical at first, signs start to appear that cause Matt to believe that maybe the stories about the baby are true, and the lives of Matt and his closest friends start to spiral out of control.
No spoilers here but if you haven't read "Guardian Devil," do yourself a favor and track it down. Suffice to say that, though he isn't the main antagonist of the story, Bullseye makes a historic appearance.
Also, while Marvel/Netflix wouldn't be able to use the real mastermind behind "Guardian Devil" (again, spoilers), the story could have been tweaked to use a different character and still deliver the same emotional impact of the comic. And don't let the baby stuff fool you, "Guardian Devil" is brutal, and absolutely gut-wrenching. Three Men and a Baby this is not.
First introduced in the Mark Waid/Chris Samnee run on Daredevil, Ikari is a very mysterious and extremely deadly enemy of the Man Without Fear. For a time in the comics, Bullseye was crippled, all of his senses destroyed except his sight, and confined to a sarcophagus-like iron lung.
During this time, he had nothing to do but plot revenge on Daredevil. Bullseye had an unknown assassin forced to undergo the same accident that gave Daredevil his heightened senses. The process worked, giving him Daredevil's abilities, but the assassin managed to retain his vision, leaving him a step ahead of Daredevil. The assassin called himself Ikari, Japanese for fury or anger. He dressed in a ninja style version of Daredevil's original red and yellow suit and set himself to the task of destroying Daredevil's life.
Ikari was astoundingly brutal when fighting Daredevil. Considering where we see Bullseye at the end of Daredevil season three (his spine shattered and being operated on), it wouldn't have been too big of a stretch to have the deadly marksman laid up for season four — sending Ikari out to do his dirty work.
Born deaf, Maya Lopez has the ability to perfectly duplicate any physical acts she sees. If she watches dancers perform, she can instantly replicate the dance. If she watches someone fighting, she can immediately become that person's equal in hand-to-hand combat. Her father was a mob enforcer when she was a child, and after he was murdered, Maya was taken in by the Kingpin who, knowing of her incredible gift, paid to send her to the best schools. Years later, Kingpin would send Maya after Daredevil, convincing her that he was responsible for her father's death. As is usually the case with Matt Murdock, he and Maya developed a romance while Maya, calling herself Echo, was trying to kill Daredevil.
Seriously, Superman's greatest weakness is Kryptonite, while Daredevil's is women.
Eventually, Matt managed to convince Maya that Kingpin had been deceiving her all these years and she allied herself with Daredevil. With the Netflix Wilson Fisk ostensibly in prison for life now, he's unable to retaliate against Daredevil for fear of having Fisk's wife outed as an accomplice for Kingpin's crimes. Sending Echo after Daredevil would have been an interesting way for Kingpin to strike back against Murdock. Plus, watching her go toe-to-toe with Bullseye would have been absolutely epic.
Comic writing superstar Brian Michael Bendis helmed a prolific 50+ issue run on Daredevil in the early 2000s. One of the stories from that monolithic run was simply titled, "Out." As we've mentioned, Matt Murdock is not great at keeping his identity as Daredevil secret — especially with the women he loves (seriously Matt, get some help). But in "Out," Matt's secret identity actually ended up being leaked and getting published on the front page of the newspaper. Matt had to go on the defense to the press, denying that he's Daredevil. While this is happening, he was struggling with his partner Foggy about how to best deal with the situation.
If season four of Daredevil had happened, this would have been such a fascinating direction to take it. One of the best episodes of season one was "Nelson v. Murdock," when Foggy found out about Matt's abilities and activities with fighting crime. It's incredibly emotional seeing these best friends deal with the dishonesty that has been going on within their relationship. Forcing them to publicly fight the accusations of Matt being Daredevil would have added so much depth to the show and their friendship.
5. Foggy Gets Cancer
As a general rule in Daredevil comics, Matt Murdock's life is awful. As an unfortunate side effect, this often bleeds over into the lives of his friends and family. During the Mark Waid run on the Daredevil comics, Matt's longtime law partner and best friend Foggy Nelson was diagnosed with cancer. This became extremely difficult for both of them, as Matt was once again struggling with his identity as Daredevil went public. This kind of human drama would have been a perfect "B-plot" for season four of Daredevil on Netflix. Showing the struggle of Foggy dealing with the biggest fight of his life—while Matt deals with his Daredevil problems—and the prospect of losing his best friend would have been epic.
4. Kirsten McDuffie
Another character created by Mark Waid, Kirsten McDuffie was an assistant district attorney who became a large part of Matt Murdock's life. She became extremely interested in proving that Murdock was, in fact, Daredevil, and went out of her way to either get Matt to slip up and admit it or catch him in a lie. As is so often the case, their relationship became romantic. After Foggy's cancer diagnosis, she came to Nelson and Murdock to fill in for him.
McDuffie was a cocky, outgoing, confident, often a playful character, and brought quite a breath of fresh air to the world of Daredevil in the comics. Introducing her into season four would not only have played well with the "Out" storyline, but obviously with Foggy's cancer. It would have made things very interesting in the offices of Nelson and Murdock considering the romantic tension between Matt and Karen Page that they never had a chance to fully explore.
3. The Omegadrive
The Omegadrive was a discarded portion of an old Fantastic Four uniform. Due to the unstable molecules used in making these uniforms, they are able to be engineered as data storage devices of near limitless capacity, called an Omegadrive. So, a business called the Midas Corporation used it to store the records of all their dealings with the Marvel Universe's worst organizations, such as A.I.M., Hydra, Black Spectre, Agencé Byzantine, and Secret Empire. This information was extremely damning for each of the organizations and they all wanted the Omegadrive. So when Daredevil got his hands on it, they all came after him at once. It was a great opportunity to see Daredevil really at his wit's end, trying to keep each evil organization at bay while trying to figure out what to do with the Omegadrive.
While Netflix's Daredevil couldn't have used a piece of a Fantastic Four uniform in season four, it would have been easy to change it to a regular data storage device, and have multiple criminal organizations fighting to get their hands on it. It sounds like the makings of the next epic, Daredevil hallway fight scene.
2. The Owl
Fans may remember Leland Owlsley from season one of Daredevil as Wilson Firm's sniveling accountant. But in the Daredevil comics, he's known as the "Owl" and has been a threat to Matt Murdock since Daredevil #3.
The Owl has always been something of a lower tier gangster-type villain, but still vicious and sinister. He's often depicted as trying to seize power after some higher-up in the criminal world is defeated. Constantly hungry for power, the Owl will do almost anything to give him an edge. This included taking experimental medications in order to gain powers.
While Leland Owlsley was killed in season one of Daredevil, he was shown speaking to his son Lee at one point. Season four could have featured Lee Owlsley coming to Hell's Kitchen to try and take over in the absence of the Kingpin, while simultaneously taking revenge for his father's death.
1. Typhoid Mary
Introduced to the Marvel/Netflix universe as Mary Walker in season two of Iron Fist (played by Alice Eve), Typhoid Mary actually got her start in the pages of Daredevil. Mary is a mutant with a few different powers, such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and telepathy, but she also has dissociative identity disorder. Each power can usually only be accessed by certain personalities. At one point, Typhoid Mary was hired by Kingpin to kill Daredevil, but her stable base personality ended up falling in love with Matt Murdock (for God's sake, Matt). While she didn't get completely ramped up to psychotic Typhoid Mary in Iron Fist, there were hints at the end of the season that she was coming into her own, fully embracing her multiple personalities.
Season four of Daredevil could have brought her over, made her the complete maniac she is in the comics, and teamed her up with Wilson Bethel's Bullseye to really put Daredevil through Hell. (Get it? DareDEVIL? Going through HELL? Right?!)