MOVIE NEWS – DeKnight, who served as showrunner for Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ Season 1, criticized the rebranding of shows to avoid paying residuals at Disney.
Steven DeKnight, the filmmaker best known for his work on the Starz series ‘Spartacus’, also held the role of showrunner for the first season of Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’, which aired for three seasons in total on Netflix and starred Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio. Disney announced their plan to reintroduce the character of Daredevil in a new series titled ‘Daredevil: Born Again’. Now, DeKnight has voiced his criticisms regarding the decision to relaunch the series.
DeKnight was tagged in a tweet highlighting that the crew members of ‘Born Again’ received Season One contract terms via IATSE. In his response, DeKnight acknowledged being aware of this, adding that it’s “an old Disney scam” to rename a show for the purpose of resetting contract terms. Notable examples of this tactic include ‘Scrubs’, which transitioned to ‘Scrubs: Med School’, ‘Liv and Maddie’ which added ‘Cali Style’ to its fourth season, and ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’, which evolved into ‘The Suite Life on Deck’.
DeKnight later expressed his disappointment that his comments were taken out of context. He clarified that his issue isn’t with the continuation of the show, but with the contractual terms of a “reboot” which brands it as a new show. This enables the company to sidestep paying residuals to the original creatives, including himself. A reboot implies a fresh start for a show, while a continuation would maintain the primary cast and continue the storyline. Interestingly, Erik Oleson, the showrunner for Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ Season 3, had previously noted that ‘Daredevil: Born Again’ essentially serves as Season 4 of the Netflix series.
Steven DeKnight’s Remarks Should Not Be Dismissed as Mere Jealousy
DeKnight subsequently provided further context to his statements, drawing from his industry experiences. He clarified that Disney’s practice of altering show titles while keeping the main cast is a deceptive means of cost-cutting, as cast and crew are eligible for significant pay raises as a show matures. By branding it as a “new series”, even when the narrative remains consistent, the company can dodge higher payouts, instead locking in fresh contract terms at reduced rates.
“You have to understand Disney’s tactic of slightly altering a show’s title, retaining the primary cast, but dubbing it a new series or a reboot to dodge boosting crew pay. Hope that clarifies my point.”
The fight for fair contract terms, as well as residual payments, plays a pivotal role in the current WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Misinterpreting DeKnight’s comments risks overshadowing this essential message. Presently, production for ‘Daredevil: Born Again’ is on hold due to the ongoing strikes. Its release date remains uncertain. Check out DeKnight’s full tweets below:
He does. It’s an old Disney scam where they slightly rename a series to reset contract terms back to first season. Needs to be addressed by all the guilds/unions and crushed! https://t.co/Ttj4A3tnE4
— Steven DeKnight (@stevendeknight) September 18, 2023
To be clear, I can’t wait to see Charlie Cox and the amazing @vincentdonofrio reprise their iconic rolls. But to claim this is a complete reboot and you don’t have to pay the original creatives is some corporate shenanigans, to say the least. https://t.co/jYVZx6L1pA
— Steven DeKnight (@stevendeknight) September 19, 2023