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David Slade Exits ‘Daredevil,’ Fox Facing Fall Deadline To Start Filming Or Else Rights Go Back To Marvel

David Slade Exits 'Daredevil,' Fox Facing Fall Deadline To Start Filming Or Else Rights Go Back To Marvel

Comic-Con officially begins today, but Fox, who’ve been a frequent presence at the event in past years (including stealing the show in 2011 with the first footage from “Prometheus“), are more or less absent, other than a separate panel for their 2013 summer hope “After Earth.” More than anything else, it’s simply because they don’t have anything relevant to show; the long-delayed “The Wolverine” is only getting underway in the next few weeks, and “X-Men: First Class 2” won’t shoot until early next year.

Still, not to be left out, the studio have leaked some news about two of their big in-development comic properties, and there’s a little bit of good and a little bit of bad. Firstly, their reboot of “Fantastic Four,” the superpowered family as seen in two disappointing installments in the mid 00s, is officially moving forward. “Chronicle” director Josh Trank, who’s been linked to the film since early this year, is seemingly making it his next movie, putting it before projects such as Sony’s “Spider-Man” spin-off Venom and the video-game adaptation Shadow Of The Colossus.” There’s no exact word on when “Fantastic Four” will get underway, but the indications from Deadline are that it’ll be after the ‘First Class’ sequel, so probably in the spring of next year, ahead of a 2014 release.

Less good news (depending on how you look at it…) comes with regards to the “Daredevil” reboot that Fox have also been developing. Last seen nearly a decade ago in a much-derided film starring Ben Affleck, a new version has been in the works for a few years, with writers including David Scarpa (“The Day The Earth Stood Still“) and Kyle Kinnen (“The Beaver“) having taken passes over time. The studio are apparently happy with the script, and keen to move forward, but they’ve hit one major stumbling block: director David Slade (“Hard Candy,” “30 Days Of Night“), who was appointed to the film last year, has dropped out, citing his commitment to the Mads Mikkelsen-starring “HannibalTV pilot.

Directors drop out of projects all the time, but this one is more of a concern, as Fox’s option on the character (and presumably, associated ones like villain The Kingpin) is about to expire, and the studio need to be in production on the film by the fall in order to stop the rights from reverting to Marvel. This wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened (characters like The Hulk, Blade and The Punisher have all been made elsewhere before returning to the mothership), but with Marvel starting to dominate the superhero genre, it’s more of a concern to let something lapse, only to see it become a hit for a rival studio.

So what this is likely to mean is a rush to find a new helmer — one who’ll shoot the script they have as is — and get the film moving. A similar situation happened last year with “Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance,” which was rushed into production in order to stop Sony‘s option reverting to Marvel, and as you might remember, that didn’t end up with a creatively satisfying result, so we’re a little worried, especially as, for all the spin, we’d wager that Slade walked because he wasn’t prepared to rush the film. Fox still have an uphill battle on “Daredevil” — there’s no cast attached at this stage, and Slade tweeted only a month ago that they weren’t even ready to start thinking about that — but expect to see a new director announced within weeks, and things to move swiftly on from there. The stakes are too high for them not to…

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