Daredevil: Born Again has a key difference to other Marvel shows – and I'm all for it

Marvel's Daredevil
(Image credit: Disney)

Let's get one thing straight: those expecting Disney's new Daredevil series to pick up right where the dark and gritty Netflix show left off need to check their expectations at the door – there's simply no way that ultraviolent version of the character is going to find himself in the MCU alongside She-Hulk and Spider-Man.

And we wouldn't take the show's title, Daredevil: Born Again, as an indication that the story will follow the comic run of the same name – that territory has already been covered in the third season of Daredevil's Netflix series.

Instead, allow me to detail how Matt Murdock's alter-ego Daredevil might benefit from his new home on Disney Plus, and why I think the announcement that Daredevil: Born Again will have an 18-episode first season points to an entirely different kind of live-action Marvel show.

Daredevil can be light, too

Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's Daredevil

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Contrary to what we've seen so far from Matt Murdock's forays into live action, there's more to the character than the gritty stories Frank Miller has written for him. In fact, one of the most celebrated Daredevil runs started a little over a decade ago, and was much lighter in tone.

I'm speaking, of course, of Mark Waid's Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Daredevil run, which lasted from 2011 to 2014. Regarded by many as one of the best runs in Daredevil's history, the Mark Waid era saw the title embrace the comic book-ness of the character's origins. 

This approach enabled the Devil of Hell's Kitchen to not only face off against a wide assortment of fantastical villains, but also team up with some of Marvel Comics' biggest heroes, from Captain America to Silver Surfer.

Most impressively, the run was able to successfully balance its more sensational elements with one of Matt Murdock's most emotionally affecting arcs, placing an equal amount of focus on character development.

To me, this sounds like the perfect approach for Marvel Studios to take with the character in his first MCU series. I, for one, will not be the least bit surprised if Daredevil: Born Again ends up taking a great deal of inspiration from Waid's run in the same way that the Hawkeye series was inspired by Matt Fraction's take on the character.

We've already seen Matt Murdock interact with Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and we also know that Daredevil is set to appear in the upcoming She-Hulk series.

Additionally, Kingpin's appearance in the Hawkeye series offered a watered-down, PG-13 version of the character that was far less murderous and unhinged than the one which featured in Netflix's Daredevil. In my opinion, each of these appearances offers a pretty good indication of what we can expect from Daredevil: Born Again's tone.

Is this the return of 'story of the week' TV?

Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic Con 2022

(Image credit: Jesse Grant / Getty Images)

As revealed by Kevin Feige during Marvel Studios' SDCC 2022 panel, the first season of Daredevil: Born Again will consist of a whopping 18 episodes – far more than any other Marvel Studios TV show on Disney Plus

Assuming the show will be delivered weekly, that means we'll be getting new Daredevil episodes continuously for around four and half months straight. When you consider that most of Marvel Studios' shows have so far opted for relatively short six-episode runs, we have to assume that Daredevil: Born Again will unfold at an entirely different tempo – and it's about damn time if you ask me.

With the exception of WandaVision, it's my opinion that each Marvel Studios TV show on Disney Plus has failed to capitalize on the strengths of episodic television. Instead of building new experiences around the format, shows like Hawkeye and Moon Knight have felt like unnecessarily drawn-out movies which have been cut into six padded pieces.

Because of this, I often found myself losing interest before each season had reached its conclusion. Sure, serialized television can work wonderfully with shows which have many characters, each with their own fleshed-out story threads, but that hasn't really been the case with Marvel's shows, which usually stick to a handful of main characters and a single plotline.

So why am I excited about Daredevil: Born Again's 18-episode first season? Well, it's because I'm convinced the show's longer season will allow it to have standalone 'story of the week' style episodes to help it break up a larger season-long story arc. 

The approach was pioneered in the early '90s with The X-Files – a classic series which managed to deliver an overarching narrative over 24-episode seasons without testing its audience's patience. It did this by offering self-contained 'monster of the week' episodes which allowed newcomers to jump into the series at any point without feeling like they had to catch up with everything that came before.

Taking into account that Matt Murdock is a defence attorney by day, we expect to see him take on numerous cases throughout the series, which is the perfect setup for standalone stories which can be wrapped up in a single episode. 

Of course, you should take all of this as one person's opinion about what Daredevil: Born Again might be like, because it's entirely possible that the show will be nothing like what's extrapolated above. That said, I personally don't believe for a second that Marvel Studios will attempt to pull off one big story that's broken up into 18 pieces – though we'll have to wait until Born Again arrives in 2024 to find out what Kevin Feige and Co. have in store for us.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.