Over the weekend, Marvel Studios unveiled the next few years of movies and TV shows that make up the MCU, a cinematic project that will outlive us all. Among the many announcements was confirmation that Charlie Cox will be suiting up again as the lawyer-by-day, vigilante-by-night, tortured Catholic at-all-hours hero Daredevil. That wasn’t a big surprise but a little more surprising is that his Disney Plus series will be titled Daredevil: Born Again.
That understandably holds a lot of weight for evangelicals, for whom “Born Again” is a loaded term. But it also means a lot to fans of Daredevil’s comic book appearances. “Born Again” is the title of one of the character’s most iconic arcs, and one that’s pretty interesting for fans of spiritually rich superhero drama.
The year was 1986 and writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli were asked to return to the pages of Daredevil, who they’d transformed from c-lister to bestseller in an earlier collaboration. They agreed and wrote a single story told over four issues, brimming with both pulpy noir plot devices and Christian metaphor so explicit C.S. Lewis might have told them to dial it down a little. In the story, Daredevil’s archenemy Wilson Fisk discovers the hero’s true identity and sets out systematically destroying his life, piece by piece, reducing Matt Murdock to a vagrant teetering on the edge of sanity. Through the salvific help of his long lost mother, now a nun, Matt comes back from the brink, defeats demons both inner and external, and is restored — ”born again,” as it were.
If that sounds a little familiar, it’s because Daredevil’s Netflix show more or less adapted it for its third and final season. So why is Disney returning to that same well for its own spin on Matt Murdock’s story? It’s possible that this is less an adaptation of the comic book arc itself than it is a repurposing of title for a different story.
They’ll have time to do something — this season will run for 18 episodes, by far the longest of any of Marvel’s Disney Plus shows so far. Disney has confirmed that Vincent D’onofrio will return as the wicked Wilson Fisk but, other than that, it’s not clear who — if any — of the Netflix cast will make the jump. But with a title like “Born Again,” you can bet we’ll be watching either way.