Drew Goddard unexpectedly departs major Marvel project - is Sony's Sinister Six to blame?
Only one day after the shocker high-profile split of Edgar Wright from Marvel Studios' Ant-Man project, the superhero powerhouse has another unhappy headline to deal with: Multiple sources now report/confirm that Drew Goddard has stepped aside as the showrunner for their in-development Netflix series Daredevil.
Planned as the first of four made-for-streaming series (with Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Alias: Jessica Jones to follow) set to culminate in the team-up miniseries The Defenders, series is set to follow the adventures of blind NYC attorney Matt Murdock, who uses his unusually-heightened remaining senses to fight crime as a costumed vigilante. Unlike Wright, Goddard (who was to direct the first episode along with showrunning) is not leaving Marvel entirely - he will stay with the series as an executive producer while his longtime colleague Steven DeKnight (formerly of Buffy, Angel and Spartacus) will step into the top spot.
No reason was immediately given for the move. However, movie news website Cinema Blend is reporting that another Marvel hero may have contributed to the difficulty: Spider-Man. While by no means an outright flop, Sony's expensive Amazing Spider-Man 2 is struggling at the U.S. box-office and is now expected to only barely turn a profit overseas, casting serious doubts on the viability of other projects in what the studio had planned as a multi-film franchise to rival Marvel's Avengers and Warner Bros upcoming Justice League.
Along with his Daredevil duties, Goddard was set to write and direct the villain-centric Spidey-spinoff The Sinister Six for Sony. Though originally planned to release after Amazing Spider-Man 3, rumors have swirled for weeks that Part 2's disappointing box-office and lukewarm reviews were had the studio wanting to fast-track the ambitious Six - which is being described as "The Avengers, but with villains" - for a January 2014 start date. If so, it's possible that Goddard's exit was partly due to wanting to focus on that bigger, more demanding project.
Daredevil is still on track to begin shooting in July, for a projected 2015 release date.