Daredevil, a show Netflix canceled over three years ago, returned to the streaming platform's most-watched TV shows chart this week. The series stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer who uses his other heightened senses as the vigilante Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. Daredevil was produced by Marvel Television before the studio was folded into Marvel Studios. It was the first of six shows Marvel Television produced for Netflix between 2015 and 2019. Spoilers follow for recent Marvel projects.
Although the last of Daredevil's three seasons was released in 2018, the show experienced renewed interest this month thanks to recent Marvel Studios projects. First, the Disney+ series Hawkeye featured Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk/Kingpin villain in its final two episodes. Then, Cox had a cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was co-produced by Sony and Marvel Studios.
It's still not clear if Kingpin and Matt Murdock's appearances in two Marvel Cinematic Universe projects mean that the events of Daredevil and its related shows are canon in the franchise. There was an Easter egg in the Hawkeye finale that hinted the Netflix show is part of MCU canon, as Kingpin was seen wearing his father's cufflinks. As Daredevil viewers should recall, Kingpin's origin includes him killing his abusive father to protect his mother, and wearing his father's cufflinks is a reminder of his father's failings. (Then again, this could just mean that the Kingpin in the MCU universe and the Netflix universe experienced similar horrors in their origin stories.)
The MCU Kingpin does have some differences from the Netflix one. "I knew that he would be physically stronger, and I knew that he would be able to take more physical abuse. I knew that [going in]," D'Onofrio told ComicBook.com earlier this month. Despite the differences, D'Onofrio knew he had to keep some of the character traits that earned his performance in Daredevil plenty of critical acclaim.
Then again, D'Onofrio also told ScreenRant that the MCU Kingpin is the "same person" as his Netflix character. "I think from my point of view, like a lot of the Avengers stuff, a lot of the MCU stuff, they tried to connect as many dots to the original canon as they can, and some dots are just not possible to connect," the actor said. "And that's what we've done with connecting to Daredevil and vice versa."
While Kingpin ended up playing a big part in Hawkeye, Matt's appearance in No Way Home was more of a fun cameo. He came in early to help Peter Parker (Tom Holland) get the criminal charges stemming from the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home dropped. During the Disney Investor Day event in December 2020, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige teased another possible appearance from Matt in Disney+'s She-Hulk, which will also deal with lawyers.
Daredevil launched a collection of Marvel Netflix shows focusing on the darker corners of New York City in Marvel's universe. There was also Jessica Jones (2015-2019), Luke Cage (2016-2018), and Iron Fist (2017-2018), which led to the limited series crossover The Defenders. Daredevil also introduced The Punisher, who received his own two-season series. By February 2019, Netflix canceled all the Marvel shows, but Marvel Studios still had to wait two years to use any of the characters in MCU projects.