When it comes to studios making films out of popular properties, be it games, TV shows or comic books, there's almost always an expiration date on their development cycle. Basically, a studio pays X amount to work on Y movie for Z amount of time. If they can make the movie happen before Z is up, it's theirs for the taking. If they slip that deadline, however, the property's original owners regain control.
In the case of Daredevil, 20th Century Fox has just over two months left on their licensing deal with Marvel to get a reboot of the character off the ground. That's not going to happen, however. Fox has been trying to get a new movie made before the deadline, but after previously attached directed David Slade dropped the project, meeting the timeline looked impossible. Fox is reportedly still very keen to make the movie, though, which is why Variety has the scoop that Fox and Marvel are currently trying to come to an agreement to let the development cycle slip past the October 10, 2012 deadline.
Fox is said to have already selected Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, The Grey) to helm the project, now being pitched as a, "hardcore '70s thriller," which would put it closer in tone to the adult-oriented (and underrated) Punisher: War Zone than the rest of Marvel's family-friendly stable of films. In exchange for postponing the deadline to get Carnahan onboard, Fox is willing to give Marvel back control of some of the characters the studio still has a claim to. We don't know specifically who those heroes (or villains) are, but word has it that Marvel is asking for Fantastic Four icons Galactus and the Silver Surfer.
Of course, this entire dealing is very in the air right now, so things could change drastically between now and the deadline, but it sounds like both Fox and Marvel have ways of turning this into a win-win situation. The question is, do you think Carnahan and a grittier Daredevil is actually a win?