Fans of the now-defunct Marvel Television have long argued for the canonicity of shows like Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD, and Helstrom. Now that select characters from the franchise have been brought back to life by Marvel Studios—namely Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio)—it would stand to reason those aforementioned shows would take place in the same continuity as the long-running Marvel Cinematic Universe. Same characters, same actors, same canon, right? Not so fast.
Despite Cox and D'Onofrio both returning, in addition to the countless rumors of other potential Marvel TV returns, an MCU project—read, one of those productions made by Marvel Studios and officially deemed as part of the franchise—has yet to directly reference the events of one of those said shows. In fact, a pretty sizable canon problem is brewing amongst the Marvel fandom.
In a world where social media is available to anyone at the drop of a hat, platforms like Twitter have grown more divisive, especially amongst the pop culture circles that feature fandoms with opinions stronger than vibranium. That atmosphere, combined with an age-old debate, has made an environment increasingly toxic with no winner on either side.
Let's use the Man Without Fear as one example. You have the "must be canon" group, which accepts all three seasons of Daredevil as canon regardless of what Cox himself says—or even comments made by She-Hulk head writer Jessica Gao suggesting the version of the character in Attorney at Law is considering new by the show's writer's room. Beyond that, there's even a sect of "need to be" diehards that need the three seasons of Daredevil to be in the MCU continuity because the sense of community and belonging.
To those followers, the original Daredevil series not residing with the MCU canon doesn't do anything to change those shows. Every single episode still very much exists and will be streaming on Disney+ until the end of time. At any point throughout the day, you can log onto your device and stream any of the show's 36 episodes. Not being an official part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe changes none of that.
On the flip side, there's the "never canon" group, which refuses to accept anything without the Marvel Studios logo as canon. Despite direct references to the events of Avengers or other MCU films, this group insists anything from Daredevil to Agents of SHIELD and beyond is as connected to the franchise as HBO's Watchmen series or Adult Swim's Rick and Morty.
On this side, there's a sense of elitism and superiority. The MCU is the biggest franchise in the history of Hollywood, and a substantial amount of this group finds it needs something to walk on and criticize. With something like the shows made by Marvel Television, it allowed this side to hoist all Studios-produced content on their shoulders while tossing the TV-produced projects in the mud, attempting to justify it by tweeting something along the lines of, "See, I don't like all Marvel stuff."
The fact of the matter is, it's a debate that will likely never be settled. Marvel Studios executives now have near-complete control over the entire live-action Marvel library, and they'll never harm their own content by denouncing a project as existing outside of continuity. With the DefendersVerse now streaming on Disney+, it'd be unwise to tell fans one of those shows isn't in the MCU given the sense of quality the Marvel Studios logo carries with it. Radio silence will continue, shows will never reference or point towards the Marvel TV side of the equation, and the war will rage on.
There's a canon problem with the Marvel fandom and, quite frankly, it doesn't look like it will ever be resolved.
Daredevil: Born Again is expected to drop Spring 2024. The first three seasons of Daredevil and The Defenders limited series can now be seen on Disney+.
What other characters do you hope to see join Marvel's new Daredevil series? Let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter to chat all things MCU!5comments