Between Charlie Cox's Daredevil, Patrick Stewart and Anson Mount in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Evan Peters playing the infamous Ralph Bohner, continuity in the MCU is complex.
The roster of the Marvel Cinematic Universe once consisted of four heroes from four franchises and a couple of master assassins. Now, with Avengers: Secret Wars on the horizon, the roster is seemingly endless.
The Multiverse Saga is the name of Phases 4-6 in the MCU and it is a fitting title. Already between WandaVision, Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness fans have been introduced to the idea of multiple universes, variant characters, and crossovers between movie franchises previously thought to be separate in canon.
All of those moving pieces make it difficult to keep track of which Marvel projects are a part of the MCU. The Fox-Men franchise has made an appearance along with previous Spider-Man runs. Even the loosely connected Netflix Marvel Universe has characters in the mix.
Everyone is waiting for that big moment of clarity to answer all of those messy canon questions.
No one thought that She-Hulk: Attorney At Law could be the project to do it.
The Daredevil Conundrum
Charlie Cox made his MCU debut as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home. This was very much a cameo appearance but an important one that blew the doors off the hinges for what is possible with past Marvel properties.
He is here and fans are happy. But the job is not done. Much like the mountainous task of canon clarity in Avengers: Endgame, Multiverse of Madness, and No Way Home, Marvel Studios needs to make sense of the hows and whys of Murdock's presence in the MCU.
After all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the powerhouse it is because of its ability to weave a complicated web into a tapestry of whiz-bang and fan service.
So here are just a few of the questions being asked about Charlie Cox's Daredevil in the MCU:
- Is this the same Daredevil from the Marvel Netflix series?
- Is this a soft reboot with the same actor?
- Is this a completely different character fans have never met?
- What about everyone he loves from Daredevil?
- Does "The Blip" have anything to do with this?
- Does the Multiverse have anything to do with this?
- Do people need to watch all 3 seasons of Daredevil on Disney+?
That is a complicated situation that could water down the potential of this character if it is met with ambiguity.
If only there was a character in the MCU that could look the audience right in the eyes and explain exactly what is going on.
She-Hulk is unlike any Marvel Studios show that has come before it. It does not feature an in-depth character study, deep emotional plotlines, or any progression with the overall MCU narrative.
However, choosing not to focus on those traditional MCU qualities, allows this show to do whacky and creative things other shows cannot.
The week-to-week nature allows for a wide variety of fun MCU world-building. The comedic tone puts fan-favorite characters in entertaining situations. Most importantly, the commitment to the sitcom vibe allows the main character to look at the camera and reference what everyone at home is thinking.
She-Hulk has used the fourth wall break very sparingly through five episodes. This has mostly been through references to recastings, commentary on social media conversations around the show, and great use of the "Papa Doc" method from 8 Mile to laugh at itself before anyone else has a chance.
There are a variety of applications to the fourth wall break and with Daredevil set to appear in Episode 6, She-Hulk has an opportunity to expertly answer one of Marvel Studios' most challenging questions.
What is the deal with Matt Murdock?
A Wink And A Nod
It has already happened in Episode 2 of She-Hulk. Mark Ruffalo's Hulk makes an in-universe reference to the recasting of Bruce Banner after Edward Norton. Jen Walters looks right at the audience and says "ha".
Letting everyone at home know that what you are thinking is right and they did just make a comment about a studio decision.
A similar joke was made in Deadpool 2 when Ryan Reynolds is being wheeled through Xavier's Mansion and references how hard it is to keep track of all of the rebooting in the Fox Studios X-Men Universe.
That confusion of timeline, character, and continuity with X-Men was eventually the downfall of one of the most institutional comic book movie franchises of all time.
She-Hulk has a chance to learn from those mistakes, and ensure that their audience knows EXACTLY what is going on with this character who debuted in a series that was previously considered non-canon.
This is hyperbolic, but if Jennifer Walters looked at the camera and said "So this is the same Daredevil from the Netflix show! Make sure to catch up on all three seasons of Daredevil now available on Disney+." it would not only be INCREDIBLY appropriate for this show, it would send fans to their feet with cheers and applause.
It could even be as simple as Jen breaking the 4th wall and saying "so it IS canon! *wink*". The same exact effect, and is right in line with what this series is.
Even if it is the opposite where this is a rebooted character played by the same actor, the point is that Marvel Studios has granted themselves an opportunity to handle one of the messiest continuity situations they have with one of their most beloved characters with ZERO confusion.
It is an opportunity that only comes with this type of show, and this type of character. Being able to lay out exactly what fans can expect out of Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock moving forward will save millions of fans time and effort trying to solve the puzzle on the internet.
It also eliminates what would have been the most frequently asked question at any sort of Daredevil: Born Again press event. So...
Dear Marvel Studios,
You have built an incredible vehicle of exploration with She-Hulk and have placed Daredevil right in the middle of it. Do the right thing. Have Tatiana Maslany grab the audience by the face and tell them EXACTLY what is going on.
Deadpool would do it.
A Confused Marvel Fan