“Daredevil: Born Again” sheds light on a practice that exploits loopholes in rebooting to reset union contracts. Surprisingly, a minor name change can qualify a show as an entirely new production, enabling the production company to renegotiate contracts. Crew members associated with IATSE usually gain full benefits, including vacations, once a show reaches its third season. Disney, in particular, has been skilled at this maneuver, with past reports revealing that Disney shows paid only 88% of the standard rate for the first three seasons.
In the case of “Daredevil,” Disney+ is continuing the show using the same characters, background stories, and even the same actors as the previous Netflix series. “Daredevil: Born Again” could be seen as a nod to the characters’ origins or possibly a way for Disney to avoid paying royalties to the creators of the original show.
Netflix showrunner Steven DeKnight strongly criticized this practice on X, calling upon “all the unions/guilds,” likely referring to SAG-AFTRA, WGA, and IATSE, to establish safeguards against such behavior in the future.
Disney has a history of employing this tactic with shows like “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” which became “The Suite Life on Deck” in its fourth season, and “Hannah Montana,” which received a reboot titled “Hannah Montana Forever.” Even “The Proud Family” is making a return with “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” a fourth-season reboot that arrives 15 years after the original series concluded. As DeKnight notes, it has become a noticeable trend that Disney tends to reboot shows while resetting contracts to “season one” rates.
It’s important to note that this commentary was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, highlighting the essential role of writers and actors who were on strike in shaping the media landscape.
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