As reported on Friday morning, 'Daredevil' is the latest Marvel TV series to get the axe from Netflix after 'Iron Fist' and 'Luke Cage' both suffered the same fate.
While 'Iron Fist' was certainly not a success, 'Luke Cage' was far more critically acclaimed. 'Daredevil', however, was far and away the shining light of the Marvel / Netflix partnership. So, what happened?
Essentially, it all comes down to Disney's new streaming service that's set to launch in the new year. Disney+ is aiming itself directly in Netflix's path and, in order to ensure supremacy over the streaming giant, it needs to hobble the competition.
Before Disney+, Netflix had to pay Marvel for the use of their characters. Marvel Television essentially only had two series running on ABC, which funnily enough is owned by Disney. 'Agents of SHIELD' has been consistently high on ratings for ABC and has ran for five seasons so far. 'Agent Carter' got the bullet after just two seasons.
However, since Disney+, Marvel have now announced two separate TV series based on characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 'Vision And The Scarlet Witch', played by Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olsen, will debut on to Disney+ in the near future. A series is being planned for Tom Hiddleston's character, Loki, whilst Falcon and Winter Soldier - played by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan - is also happening.
— Daredevil (@Daredevil) November 30, 2018
Essentially, Disney is gutting the competition for these shows by pulling the plug on 'Daredevil', 'Luke Cage' and 'Iron Fist' and will do the same for 'The Punisher' and 'Jessica Jones' when the time comes. It's pretty ruthless, especially considering how well-liked some of these shows are, but that's inter-studio warfare for you.
Whether or not the characters of Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage or The Punisher will make an appearance in any of Disney+'s new series remains to be seen. Rolling Stone's chief TV critic, Alan Sepinwall, posted a series of tweets yesterday that claimed Disney+ isn't picking up 'Daredevil', 'Iron Fist' or 'Luke Cage' in their current iteration from Netflix. This part, however, is particularly interesting.
I should clarify. The Marvel shows for Disney+ are being produced by Marvel movie execs, who do not like or get along with the Marvel TV execs who made Dardevil et al. Technically, they COULD make a Luke Cage show a few years down the line. They just don’t want to.
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) November 30, 2018
It's hard to know precisely why the two arms of the same beast don't get on, but whatever the reason is, one thing is clear - Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and the Defenders in general are done for the time being.
The same fate can therefore be inferred with 'The Punisher' and 'Jessica Jones', the latter of which is in production now whilst the former is due to begin filming in the summer. Writers on 'Daredevil' have said that they had a fourth season mapped out and ready to go, but the jockeying between Disney and Netflix meant its eventual end.
Another point to consider - which isn't immediately clear from all the news in the past few weeks - is whether or not Netflix actually gets to keep 'Daredevil', 'Iron Fist' and 'Luke Cage' on their service once Disney+ launches. While they are Netflix Originals, they do feature characters that Netflix no longer has any right to produce content based upon. It's hard to know if the deal struck between the two corporations covered this eventuality, and it wouldn't be surprising if Disney ordered these series off of Netflix either.
All of this, really, is a crying shame as the partnership between Netflix and Marvel was certainly fruitful. The question now is whether Disney+'s offerings will live up to the series made so far.