When Disney announced its exclusive streaming service for 2019, it once more showed how the entertainment industry wants to continue delivering cinematic content right to the comfort of your home. This particular deal, however, provoked a lot of debate in the geek world, especially with Marvel fans, who immediately began pondering that once Disney launched the service, if it would indeed mark the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Netflix.
We haven't had any concrete evidence so far that this will happen from either party involved, but if such a separation was in motion, it would be pretty much kept under wraps for now. That said, upon further analysis, we believe that there's no definitive reason why it would or should happen and so, we decided to detail a few reasons why Marvel fans, despite their concerns, ought to rest assured that this new direction from Disney won't kill off Netflix's arsenal of Marvel television shows.
The Current Model Isn't Broken
Netflix has serviced Marvel audiences quite well through the likes of Daredevil and the Defenders, and it begs the question: if it ain't broke, then why fix it? There hasn't been any negative reception apart from Iron Fist and most of that came down to the creative engine of the show. Other than that, the Netflix platform is a large global brand with a huge and already-established audience, and these factors made the platform a very solid partner for Marvel.
Remember, Disney will be building its subscriber base from scratch, and despite the power of the brand, it'll still be quite risky banking on or estimating on how many Netflix Marvel fans would automatically be switching to Disney's new service. We must also take into account that Netflix has already proven itself a worthwhile business partner and at the end of the day, it's all about relationships. They offered Marvel TV a unique home outside of ABC, which took hits with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans recently, and apart from footing part of the bill, Netflix gifted Marvel a shot at cinematic television to compete with shows like Game of Thrones. As a result, Marvel won't cut Netflix out and come off ungrateful on the heels of this success.
Why Pay For Another Service?
“Our plan on the Disney side is to price this substantially below where Netflix is. That is in part reflective of the fact it’ll have less volume,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in the past when it came to setting a cheaper price-point to Netflix. Netflix subscriptions range between $7.99 and $13.99 a month, and while Iger didn't disclose a planned price point, it's rumored it could fall close CBS All Access’ base subscription plan, which prices in at $5.99 a month. Now, this is a two-pronged issue. Firstly, Netflix Marvelites simply may not want to switch because that would mean paying for another streaming platform. That's a tough ask in current economic times, especially for family-oriented homes.
And secondly, in terms of content, these Netflix fans may not be interested in the other non-Marvel content that Disney will be offering. Think about it; they're already attached to the diverse array of vintage and contemporary content Netflix offers, so would they be willing to switch or add another service with limited content from the outset? Are these Marvel shows worth it? Again, this is an assumption Disney would be gambling on, and quite frankly, not an approach we can see them taking.
Netflix Is A Home For Dark Content
Let's be real, can you see shows like Jessica Jones, which deals with rape, substance abuse, and post traumatic stress disorder, on a Disney platform? How about the gangster-driven Luke Cage or The Punisher in all its gore and gunfire? Of course not, because at the end of the day, Disney's brand, as seen with its Marvel movies and the Star Wars universe, is geared towards family-friendly content. Pushing the envelope to PG-13 is as far as it goes, evidenced by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige's stance that R-rated content wasn't in the studio's foreseeable future.
This opening is what allowed Netflix's Marvel dramas to shine. They have a dark essence on the whole and are perfect right where they are. If anything, their success can open the doors to more street-level vigilantism through the likes of Moon Knight or Heroes For Hire, or supernatural horrors as per Ghost Rider or even Blade. The point is, when it comes to action, violence and mysticism, Netflix is the ideal avenue for such series that won't fall in line with what Disney's service (or the MCU film slate) is about. Ultimately, this is a win-win because Disney still gets to attract an adult viewership via Netflix, while expanding its Marvel brand at the same time.
Disney Already Has Suitable Content
The Disney service doesn't necessarily need these Marvel television shows because big things are already in the pipeline in terms of original content planned, coupled with the franchise-related content already owned. On the original side of things, there's a live-action Star Wars series being planned, which could be set in the past like Rogue One or linked to the new movies that J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson are plotting. Other cartoons similar to Rebels and Clone Wars could be spun as well. Then there's also room for Disney to pursue their own teenage Marvel series like the soon-to-air Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, or to even house The New Warriors.
“I have described a very rich, treasure trove of content for this app. We’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot," Iger said when the service was announced. Disney will be exclusively airing all Star Wars films and movies from the MCU on this service so that's one way of living up to that promise, with this established content balancing the original programming being lined up. Once this is achieved, there's no reason why both Netflix and this Disney service can't co-exist with the synergy that Marvel fans desire, and continue a partnership that has been nothing short of fruitful for all involved.