Marvel Comics’ Daredevil may not need his secret identity to continue being a great character.
Daredevil is one of the many comic book characters that have tried to keep their identity secret over the years. Like Marvel‘s Spider-Man, Matt Murdock didn’t just do this for his own safety. He did it so people like his partner Foggy Nelson would be safe from his enemies. Unfortunately for Matt, his identity was made public (see Daredevil No. 33 by Brian Michael Bendis for more on that).
For around a decade, the world knew that Matt Murdock was Daredevil. Matt, Foggy, and everyone close to them tried to dispute it. Eventually, they had to come clean. This led to Matt getting disbarred. However, it didn’t stop him from being the Man Without Fear, or even a lawyer. He moved to the West Coast and continued to be both.
Eventually, the genie was put back in the bottle. Purple Man’s kids made the world forget Matt Murdock was the Man Without Fear (see Daredevil: Purple for more on that). Matt went back to maintaining both lives as normal.
Recently, the Chip Zdarsky run of Daredevil has shown how much Matt Murdock may not need the dual identity. He’s been more Daredevil than Matt since this series began which leads to this question: Does Matt Murdock need to hide who he is?
What Daredevil doesn’t need to hide
If this writer has learned anything about Matt Murdock from reading Daredevil in Marvel Comics it is how Matt can adjust to the adversity. Sometimes, the change isn’t the most positive way for him to go about things. During runs by Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker, he was a more ruthless vigilante – so much so that Luke Cage had to go talk to him. This actually led to him attacking Luke and breaking his hand.
On the flip side, Mark Waid’s run showed Matt embracing everyone knowing his true identiity. He even stopped wearing his costume. Sometimes he wore an all red suit while saving the day. Guess what? It worked! Matt Murdock lived his life as a hero and a lawyer. He truly became the Man Without Fear.
Both comic book runs showed two different sides of Matt Murdock. Both of them were different, but quality stories. The similarities that both didn’t need the dual identity showed the courage of the creative team. They went away from the old formula and created new classic stories. A boldness that could become the new norm.
With everything going on in Devil’s Reign, we could possibly be looking at a return to the world knowing who Daredevil is. Wilson Fisk seems determined to ruin the lives of heroes so the series could end with Matt revealing his identity to the world. This could stop Wilson’s war against heroes in New York. Instead of going back to jail (see Ed Brubaker’s Daredevil for that), Matt could just be on the run from the law in Hell’s Kitchen. And, as we’ve seen, this won’t stop him from being a hero.
Can this work in the MCU?
It’s doubtful that this story will bleed over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe if Marvel Studios commissions a Daredevil movie. There wouldn’t be enough time to get into everything that happens in the comics when Matt’s secret life is revealed, so a movie wouldn’t be able to handle that. As we’ve seen in the past, putting too much story into a movie can ruin a project. However, that would change if we see the Man Without Fear star in his own Disney Plus series.
If Marvel Studios follows on from where the Netflix Daredevil series left off, then it absolutely could tell that story. A series would provide the creative team the time to display all the traumatic things that happen to Matt and everyone he knows.
In the comics, Foggy almost loses his license to practice law, the people Matt loves have hits put out on them, and Matt himself gets disbarred and has to move across the country to be a lawyer. This is two seasons worth of content and change that could help the Marvel Cinematic Universe move into a new era of comic book TV.
What do you think? Does Matt Murdock need to keep his identity secret? Should he? Let us know in the comments below.