In a year without new Marvel movies, fans have sustained themselves with boundless news and rumors about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Easily the most exciting has been Spider-Man 3, the untitled threequel starring Tom Holland, and in a week full of casting leaks, the latest rumor involves Daredevil star Charlie Cox reprising his Netflix role in a yet to be determined capacity.
But let's pause for a moment. Are the rumors even true? Because of the secretive nature of Spider-Man 3 (again, not an official title, and not to be confused with 2007's Spider-Man 3), fans have only learned about the movie via scoops from The Hollywood Reporter, Collider, and blogs like Murphy's Multiverse, the latter of which is reporting on the Charlie Cox rumors. But is it true?
Here's what we know so far about the rumors involving Spider-Man 3, and most especially Charlie Cox's reprising his Daredevil role in the movie.
What Happened? — On Wednesday, Murphy's Multiverse reported that Charlie Cox will return in his Marvel/Netflix role of Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil, in the third Spider-Man movie.
"Murphy’s Multiverse has learned that Charlie Cox, star of the beloved Netflix show, is set to make his grand debut in the MCU in the third Spider-Man film in a deal that has been set in stone for several months now," the website wrote.
Murphy's Multiverse's reporting does support the origins of the rumors, as talk of Charlie Cox in Spider-Man 3 dates back to early March. In early March 2020, the same rumor made its first rounds on the internet, where it was boosted by filmmaker Kevin Smith and writer Marc Bernardin in an episode of their geek news podcast Fat Man Beyond.
"Charlie Cox, they're bringing him in as Matt Murdock," Smith said to applause inside the Scum & Villainy Cantina in Los Angeles. (This was back when the podcast was recorded before a live audience.) "That's been the rumor online and that's been the one they say Marvel's going, 'God damn, how did that get out?'"
A little while later, in late April 2020, Charlie Cox denied the rumors when asked by ComicBook.com. "I hadn't heard those rumors, but it's certainly not with my Daredevil. I'm not involved in it," Cox said. "If that's true, it's not with me. It's with another actor."
It is very likely that when Cox was asked by ComicBook.com about the rumors, he was legitimately denying the story as he wasn't approached at the time by Marvel or Sony, or he was abiding by strict non-disclosure agreements to not say anything publicly. Either way, it's plausible that Cox would deny the questioning when asked at the time.
The Extra Wrinkle — An extra wrinkle to the story is that Marvel does, in fact, have Daredevil "back." On November 29, 2020, the film and TV rights to Daredevil returned to Marvel Studios, as the date marked two years after Netflix canceled its popular Netflix series. As Variety reported and Inverse covered back in 2018, there was a two-year period where Marvel Studios was unable to use any of its Netflix characters — including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the Punisher — beginning from the date Netflix canceled production on each series.
Daredevil was canceled on November 29, 2018, and the two year period ended late last month. That means Marvel Studios can, in theory and legally, use the Daredevil character in whatever capacity they wish, which is why it's actually possible Charlie Cox can reprise his role in a new Marvel movie, even if that movie is a co-production with Sony.
Is it true? — As of right now, there is no indication the Charlie Cox/Daredevil rumors are true. Charlie Cox hasn't spoken publicly about it since April, and the origins of the rumors are sketchy at best. While the news of Jamie Foxx as Electro and Alfred Molina reprising his Doc Ock come from reputable outlets like The Hollywood Reporter, the origins of the Charlie Cox/Daredevil rumor aren't as credible. Still, that doesn't mean there isn't a degree of truth to them. Just that they shouldn't be a guarantee, and if they do turn out to be false, fans shouldn't be disappointed.
The Inverse Analysis — Just because Daredevil in Spider-Man 3 can happen doesn't mean it will happen — at least for now. Marvel is being extra quiet about Spider-Man 3 in a year of difficulty, when expensive productions are delayed and when movies like Black Widow and Eternals no longer have a release date. While there probably are cool things happening for Spider-Man 3, it's only one project of many that Marvel Studios is juggling in the air. It is why fans are only learning about Spider-Man 3 through internet scoops and trade outlets, and not from official communications by Marvel Studios.
Going on the record about the budding multiverse in Spider-Man 3, a movie that may or may not make its December 17, 2021 release date, may not be a priority when the studio still hopes quarantined audiences still have interest in Black Widow.
Inverse has reached out to representatives for Charlie Cox and Sony Pictures, and a Sony rep tells Inverse they're "looking into it." We'll update when we hear back.
Spider-Man 3 is set to be released in theaters on December 17, 2021.