San Diego Comic-Con held a treasure trove of goodies for MCU fans. The biggest among them was undoubtedly the announcement of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars.
Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts also got official reveals. But one of the Phase 5 projects that shocked the most people was when Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige told the world that not only is Daredevil: Born Again a real thing, but its first season would contain eighteen episodes.
That’s an insane number of installments—not to mention it’s significantly more than any Disney+ series to date. So there must be something special about it, right?
Could Marvel be hiding one of its biggest street-level events in plain sight? Potentially one with a story that’ll reunite The Defenders themselves?
The Return of the Defenders
For the first season of Daredevil’s return to have such a high episode count, there’s got to be something important about it. After all, it will be three times the length of nearly every other Marvel Disney+ series.
One of the most likely story beats that will be touched upon is the proper reuniting of the Defenders. Krysten Ritter has been rumored to be coming back to the MCU sooner rather than later, and Mike Colter has noted that he’s up for it if the opportunity arises.
While he’s not a proper member of the team assembled on Netflix, Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle is another fan favorite that audiences are dying to see back on screen.
While many of the former Netflix heroes have a real possibility of returning, Finn Jones is likely not to join them. Not only was his solo series critically torn apart, but, to many, his performance and character were simply not up to par with the others.
That’s also not to mention how he didn’t even want to rehearse for his fight scenes—which is likely why they look like satire next to what fans got in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Putting Iron Fist aside, what could be so big as to bring together all of these heroes into one event? Well, as one might guess, it all revolves around Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin.
The Kingpin of New York City
It’s been rumored that Echo will end with Kingpin starting his journey to becoming the mayor of New York City. That’s a big step for the character and would be a drastic status quo shift for the MCU.
For those who are familiar with the comics, that situation is basically the recent event titled Devil’s Reign. In the story, Wilson Fisk becomes the mayor of NYC and proceeds to outlaw superheroes. He goes as far as to hire supervillains to hunt down those who don’t listen to him.
As Daredevil showcased more than once, Kingpin has plenty of power as he was, outside of any political position. As the mayor, the amount of influence the villain would have could make him next to unbeatable—on the grounded street level, of course.
While it could make for a bigger, and more eventful, season if Fisk starts as Mayor, his rise into that position of power could stretch across the season.
The big bad also has a tendency to hire unsavory types to work under him, something that could run rampant if in such a notable role.
This might be the perfect way to bring Bullseye back into the picture, potentially paying off the Season 3 setup, even though the former show’s canon is still in question.
But when it comes to Fisk hiring antagonists for his own agenda, it’s a tendency that basically comes as second nature to the villain. Is this something the MCU has already started to build towards?
Remember how Hawkeye seemed to infer that Kingpin is pulling Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Val’s strings—who looks to be pulling together the Thunderbolts for the big conclusion to Phase 5. What this means is it’s really Vincent D’Onofrio’s villain who controls them.
As of now, Daredevil: Born Again is set to hit Disney+ in the spring of 2024, which will lead right into the Thunderbolts theatrical debut on July 28. It certainly seems to be suspicious timing; given the release order, however, the proper Thunderbolts team isn’t likely to form until after Charlie Cox’s show has finished.
Though given the Spring 2024 window, the long eighteen-episode run could reach its conclusion right before Thunderbolts releases, possibly even stretching on for a few weeks after—which offers some flexibility between the two if there are crossovers on other connections.
There’s More Than Just the Defenders
The Defenders are far from the only heroes who could get involved. With Fisk being Mayor, literally, any super that does work in NYC could be a part of the action.
Obviously, the first name that will come to mind is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. The possibility may feel only obtainable in a dream, but the MCU has pulled off some iconic stuff—who knows what could happen.
There are plenty of great options outside of the webhead as well. Kamala Khan is next door, Echo will be hot off her show, Sam Wilson was just in NYC, there’s a local archer in Kate Bishop, and maybe they could squeeze Moon Knight into the city.
All of these possibilities seem too good to be true. After all, who doesn’t want to see the Defenders, Punisher, and the rest of Marvel Studios’ street-level characters team up for a massive, long-lasting event on Disney+? It would be completely unique and a memorable experience to boot.
Daredevil: Born Again will land on Disney+ at some point in Spring 2024, while Thunderbolts will strike theaters worldwide on July 26, 2024.