Netflix pulled the trigger today and finally completely ended its relationship with Marvel by canceling both The Punisher and Jessica Jones. It wasn't really a surprise since the cancellation of Daredevil -- arguably the most popular of all the Marvel Netflix series -- showed the writing was on the wall.
It also seems bittersweet.
Jessica Jones was a critical darling, Daredevil rebounded from a slight drop in Season 2 to produce a great third season and even Iron Fist had fans excited with the marked improvement of its second outing after a critically disappointing first season. The question remains -- where did it all go wrong?
The answers are numerous, but the fact is that both Disney and Netflix were equally to blame. Disney wanted so much more, and its creation of the Disney+ streaming platform ensured it could keep almost all its movies and TV shows in-house, maintaining complete control.
Netflix, on the other hand, had grown so much -- especially concerning original content -- that it might have outgrown Marvel. Between the massive success of original movies like Bird Box and series like The Haunting of Hill House, the seeds were planted that it might not need to bother with Marvel or Disney anymore.
Netflix, in the announcement of the recent cancellations, made it clear that the Marvel shows already produced were not going anywhere, saying: "We are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come.” That makes it clear that fans shouldn't expect to see the previous seasons of the Marvel Netflix shows popping up on Disney+.
But what does Marvel think of this? Jeph Loeb said that he would not be surprised to see any of the Marvel Netflix shows coming back somewhere else in the future if the showrunners and cast were available to revive them. Whether this is on Disney+ or Hulu, that at least provides a glimmer of hope for fans of the canceled series.
But why couldn't Marvel and Netflix make things work? Both sides have pointed fingers, but the truth rests somewhere in the middle. Marvel can now keep control of its properties and Disney can gather everything it can in-house. On the other side, Netflix was clearly bothered that Disney was yanking all its movies when Disney+ debuts, so canceling the Marvel shows was seen as almost a retaliatory move.
After Netflix canceled the first three Marvel series last year, Daredevil co-executive producer Sam Ernst made it clear that it wasn't Marvel or Disney that was to blame, but Netflix. He said that the writers even had Season 4 completely laid out when the news came that the show was axed.
Man, so weird to be in the Daredevil writers room today, getting the news that we're cancelled. On the walls were an entire season 4 laid out - and it was so f***g cool. So many moments we wanted the fans to see... Sigh, this business.— Sam Ernst (@havensam) November 30, 2018
Amy Rutberg, who plays Marci Stahl on Daredevil, said something similar when she said her contacts at Marvel were very surprised and that it was "a Netflix decision."