Sam Raimi is set to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but fans of his Spider-Man trilogy know that he already secretly established a world inhabited by multiple Marvel superheroes in those movies. There’s that now-famous namecheck of Doctor Strange himself in Spider-Man 2, plus the Punisher has a cameo in the film’s final sequence. Here’s another one we’ve all missed before, though: 2002’s Spider-Man features a key scene that confirms Daredevil exists in the Raimiverse, too.
Shortly after getting his powers, Peter Parker takes part in a wrestling contest in a bid to win money to buy a new car. As he’s about to enter the ring to fight Bonesaw McGraw, a previous competitor is lifted out in a stretcher saying: “Oh god, I can’t feel my legs!” If you take a closer look at this unfortunate fighter, he’s wearing a yellow and red costume and a mask with horns on it. Remind you of anyone? The movie’s novelization by Peter David confirms that this is Battlin’ Jack Murdock, the father of Matt Murdock.
As ScreenRant explains:
The scene happens early on in the film shortly after Peter receives his spider-powers and decides to cash in on them by wrestling the vicious Bone Saw McGraw for money. As Peter waits his turn, he sees one of McGraw’s recent victims–a hapless masked wrestler in a yellow and red costume wailing, “Oh god, I can’t feel my legs!” as he’s carted off in a stretcher. On closer inspection, the wrestler’s mask sports a pair of horns. But in the novelization of the film, longtime Spider-Man writer Peter David identifies the wrestler as Matt Murdock’s father Jack Murdock. In the comics, Jack is a past-his-prime boxer who had to accept any job just to provide for his family. One of these jobs had him dress up in a red “devil” costume, making him the first “Daredevil” in the Marvel Universe (and one of the inspirations behind Matt’s later costumed identity).
Though this is Murdock Sr.’s only role in the film, the novelization brings him back for the subsequent robbery scene. In this version of events, he’s taken hostage during the crime, before being rescued by Parker. Jack then calls his son and tells him about the “daredevil” that saved his life. The implication, then, is that Spider-Man indirectly inspires Matt Murdock to later become a superhero himself.
While Jack is typically a boxer, the concept of him needing to fight for cash in order to raise the funds to send his son to law school is straight out of the comics. He’s even known to wear a proto-version of his son’s future vigilante outfit. However, it’s a big twist that Matt is much younger than Peter in this universe. Typically, it’s the other way around, with Murdock already an established lawyer while Parker is still in high school.
We came close to a Spidey/Daredevil crossover roughly 20 years ago, then, and we never knew it. Fingers crossed it’ll actually happen in the MCU soon, maybe even in Spider-Man 3.