Matt Murdock has appeared as Daredevil only a few times outside of the comics, though fans are hoping to see more of the character in the MCU.
While a number of Marvel’s most popular heroes and villains have found new success outside of the comics with animated and live-action adaptations, Daredevil hasn’t quite experienced the same treatment. Though his few appearances in other mediums have continued to build his mainstream appeal to potentially brighten Matt Murdock’s cinematic future.
With rumors that the Netflix version of Matt Murdock/Daredevil might make an official appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home, it’s the perfect time to take a look at the characters’ history outside of the comics as fans wait to see Daredevil fully realized on the big screen next to the other Marvel success stories.
9 Angela Bowie Created Costumes For An Unrealized TV Series In 1975
Daredevil’s jump outside of the comics almost occurred in 1975, when model/actor/author Angela Bowie (then-wife of David Bowie) was able to acquire the TV rights to both Daredevil and Black Widow, which she planned to develop into a series.
Bowie enlisted Ziggy Stardust costume designer Natasha Kornikoff to help design costumes for the heroic duo, who had a long romantic relationship in the comics. Actor Ben Carruthers stepped into the role of Daredevil for a photoshoot intended to build buzz for the series, though it was never picked up and fans were left with only photos.
8 Daredevil’s Original Costume Appeared In An Alternate Timeline On X-Men: The Animated Series
While Matt Murdock never officially appeared on X-Men: The Animated Series, the series gave the Marvel character a couple of shout-outs. The fourth season episode “Bloodlines” saw a group of children at the doorstep of the Xavier Institue on Halloween.
One of the children can be seen wearing a Halloween costume of Daredevil’s original red and yellow suit before they are scared away by Beast. An alternate reality-version of Daredevil also briefly appears in the two-part “One Man’s Worth” episode that mirrored the Age of Apocalypse comic storyline.
7 Ben Affleck’s Daredevil Appeared In A Deleted Scene From 2005’s Elektra
Jennifer Garner first appeared as Elektra Natchios in 2003’s Daredevil, though the character’s popularity led to her own spin-off that further explored her training as she became the protector of a young girl destined to follow in her assassin footsteps.
While Matt Murdock/Daredevil didn’t appear in 2005’s Elektra, Ben Affleck did a cameo in a deleted scene that featured Matt Murdock in a dream sequence. The deleted scene was later included in a Director’s Cut of Elektra, though Murdock never appeared in costume and the scene did little to further the movie or their characters.
6 Daredevil Made His Live-Action Debut In 1989’s The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk
Bill Bixby starred as Dr. David Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk TV series from the 70s that also memorably featured Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, which ran for five seasons. The series also released a few TV movies including 1989’s The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, which was also directed by Bixby.
The Trial of the Incredible Hulk featured Rex Smith as Matt Murdock/Daredevil in a black featureless costume and full half-face mask. The TV movie saw Hulk and Daredevil team-up against the Kingpin (John Rhys-Davies) and was created as a backdoor pilot for a Daredevil series that never developed.
5 Matt Murdock Appeared As Spider-Man’s Lawyer In Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends
A criminal named Zoltan Amadeus framed Spider-Man for a series of crimes in Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends‘ “Attack of the Arachnoid” episode using a formula he invented that replicated Spider-Man’s abilities.
This led to Spider-Man’s incarceration, leading to the first animated appearance of Matt Murdock (voiced by Frank Welker) as Spider-Man’s lawyer. While Murdock never suited up as Daredevil to help Spidey, he did show up briefly in a flashback revealing his alter ego with a costume that featured a yellow “DD” insignia instead of the usual red.
4 Daredevil Helped A Powerless Fantastic Four Defeat Doctor Doom In The 90s Animated Series
The Fantastic Four starred in a self-titled animated series in the 90s that took place in the same universe as some other series that were produced at the same time like The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, though it only aired for two seasons.
“And The Blind Man Shall Lead Them” featured Daredevil (voiced by Bill Smitrovich) as he assisted a powerless Fantastic Four against Doctor Doom who had taken over the Baxter Building, the FF’s high-tech headquarters. Murdock first appeared as a lawyer before he assisted the team as Daredevil in one of his best-looking animated costumes.
3 Spider-Man: The Animated Series Highlighted The Beginning Of Daredevil and Spider-Man’s Friendship
One of the most successful of Marvel’s 90’s cartoons was Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which ran for five seasons after debuting in 1994 on Fox. Daredevil (voiced by Edward Albert) appeared in a fairly comic-accurate adaptation in the third season’s two-part episodes “Framed” and “The Man Without Fear.”
Similar to the previous animated appearance that loosely adapted the heroic duo’s first comic meeting, Matt Murdock is brought in as Peter Parker‘s lawyer after he is framed. Spider-Man and Daredevil vowed to work together to bring Kingpin down, which was ultimately intended to spin-off Daredevil’s own series, though it again never developed.
2 Ben Affleck Starred As Matt Murdock For The Character’s Cinematic Debut In 2003’s Daredevil
Writer/director Mark Steven Johnson brought Daredevil to the big screen for the first time in 2003 with Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock. The movie featured iconic scenes from the comics and loosely adapted Elektra and Bullsye’s debut storylines. Daredevil’s origin was slightly reworked to make Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) the man responsible for the death of Murdock’s father.
One of the biggest departures from the comic was the leather biker-like design of the Daredevil’s costume (and the lack thereof for Bullseye) that failed to impress fans initially, despite the accurate adaptation of the character’s origin. However, an R-rated Director’s Cut of the movie with thirty minutes of extra footage was later released that has been better received by fans.
1 Charlie Cox Starred In Netflix’s Live-Action Daredevil Series That Launched The Defenders Mini-Series
Fans of ol’ hornhead were finally rewarded with Netflix’s live-action series starring Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock as he developed his costumed Daredevil identity while building his law firm in his civilian life. Daredevil ran for three seasons and helped laid the groundwork for other Marvel characters like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist before starring in the Defenders mini-series.
Daredevil’s costume evolved from his black homemade outfit to his dark red costume that was specially armored, which further evolved with an upgraded cowl that further defined his look. While Daredevil and the Netflix series’ were all canceled, rumors of Charlie Cox appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home have given fans hope this version might appear again.
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