David Slade Exits 'Daredevil,' Fox Facing Fall Deadline To Start Filming Or Else Rights Go Back To Marvel

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by Oliver Lyttelton
July 12, 2012 7:00 AM
6 Comments
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Comic-Con officially begins today, but Fox, who've been a frequent presence at the event in past years (including stealing the show in 2011 with the first footage from "Prometheus"), are more or less absent, other than a separate panel for their 2013 summer hope "After Earth." More than anything else, it's simply because they don't have anything relevant to show; the long-delayed "The Wolverine" is only getting underway in the next few weeks, and "X-Men: First Class 2" won't shoot until early next year.

Still, not to be left out, the studio have leaked some news about two of their big in-development comic properties, and there's a little bit of good and a little bit of bad. Firstly, their reboot of "Fantastic Four," the superpowered family as seen in two disappointing installments in the mid 00s, is officially moving forward. "Chronicle" director Josh Trank, who's been linked to the film since early this year, is seemingly making it his next movie, putting it before projects such as Sony's "Spider-Man" spin-off "Venom" and the video-game adaptation "Shadow Of The Colossus." There's no exact word on when "Fantastic Four" will get underway, but the indications from Deadline are that it'll be after the 'First Class' sequel, so probably in the spring of next year, ahead of a 2014 release.

Less good news (depending on how you look at it...) comes with regards to the "Daredevil" reboot that Fox have also been developing. Last seen nearly a decade ago in a much-derided film starring Ben Affleck, a new version has been in the works for a few years, with writers including David Scarpa ("The Day The Earth Stood Still") and Kyle Kinnen ("The Beaver") having taken passes over time. The studio are apparently happy with the script, and keen to move forward, but they've hit one major stumbling block: director David Slade ("Hard Candy," "30 Days Of Night"), who was appointed to the film last year, has dropped out, citing his commitment to the Mads Mikkelsen-starring "Hannibal" TV pilot.

Directors drop out of projects all the time, but this one is more of a concern, as Fox's option on the character (and presumably, associated ones like villain The Kingpin) is about to expire, and the studio need to be in production on the film by the fall in order to stop the rights from reverting to Marvel. This wouldn't be the first time it's happened (characters like The Hulk, Blade and The Punisher have all been made elsewhere before returning to the mothership), but with Marvel starting to dominate the superhero genre, it's more of a concern to let something lapse, only to see it become a hit for a rival studio.

So what this is likely to mean is a rush to find a new helmer -- one who'll shoot the script they have as is -- and get the film moving. A similar situation happened last year with "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance," which was rushed into production in order to stop Sony's option reverting to Marvel, and as you might remember, that didn't end up with a creatively satisfying result, so we're a little worried, especially as, for all the spin, we'd wager that Slade walked because he wasn't prepared to rush the film. Fox still have an uphill battle on "Daredevil" -- there's no cast attached at this stage, and Slade tweeted only a month ago that they weren't even ready to start thinking about that -- but expect to see a new director announced within weeks, and things to move swiftly on from there. The stakes are too high for them not to...

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6 Comments

  • Bring Marvel Home | July 26, 2012 4:21 PMReply

    FF and Daredevil need to revert to Marvel Studios but FF especially. Fox has a history of crapping all over Marvel's properties and because of their mismanagement are killing the brand. Fox doesn’t have a clue as to what to do with these characters. They’ll never get it right. How many second chances do they get? How many reboots do audiences need to endure? They don’t care about the material. It’s just a way to make a quick buck. They’re going to run these characters into the ground. They should be sued for character assassination and have the rights stripped accordingly.

  • Jesse | July 16, 2012 10:58 PMReply

    Please let these characters revert back to Marvel where they belong. I've had enough of studio's destroying my favorite comic characters on the big screen. I'd absolutely KILL to see Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben, Matt, and Fogey get their deserved shine.

  • steve | July 13, 2012 12:03 AMReply

    i hope they lose the rights to daredevil and fantastic four. fox and sony have now become public enemy #1 to us marvel fans. they have no business owning them. they belong back to marvel studios and under the MCU that way we can see these characters in the avengers and crossover films

  • cinematic_high | July 12, 2012 1:18 PMReply

    Just revert them back to Marvel already!

  • Wash | July 12, 2012 8:10 AMReply

    So does Marvel slip Slade some greenbacks to back out last second? It's unethical, sure, but they're owned by Disney.

  • steve | July 13, 2012 12:05 AM

    i hope they did! and i hope they continue to do it if possible because these characters need to go back to marvel studios ASAP

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