Welcome to Breaking Geek, a column that just won’t go away, where uber-geek Nick Doll offers commentary, reactions, and theories regarding the most interesting news of the week (or whatever he feels like), using his expansive knowledge of all things geek! Today I again exploring a theory of my own… a safe sort of conspiracy theory if you will… that Disney IS looking to kill the Marvel Netflix shows.
If you’ve been reading Breaking Geek lately, then perhaps you came across my last two theories, that Venom cannot be pulled into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, AND Sony plans to bring Spider-Man back into their new “VenomVerse” following Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Now, there is something amiss in Netflix’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, on which I will now theorize away!
Daredevil Season 3 may be the greatest season of any Marvel Netflix show to date (so far… I’m only 4 episodes in…), but the very same day it dropped, Luke Cage was canceled. Iron Fist was canceled earlier that week. So, even though we’ve been reassured that Netflix and Marvel will cancel shows as their own decision and not a part of the House of Mouse overlord’s wishes, it does seem to me like this universe is being stripped for scrap as Disney moves from pushing their original shows on other streaming platforms to the early stages of selling their own streaming service in 2019, Disney Play.
Are Marvel and Netflix really canceling these shows due to a significant drop in ratings, or is Disney applying pressure for non-Disney Play Marvel shows to end? Let’s theorize!
Look, Netflix doesn’t release their ratings to anyone outside the company. We really don’t know what kind of numbers an A-List Netflix hit like Stranger Things does compared to an HBO hit like Game of Thrones or Westworld. Like HBO, the streaming network doesn’t have advertisements — aside from selling their own shows — so it’s really up to Netflix brass and their analytics to decide when a show isn’t bringing in new subscribers or what-not.
Business Insider tracked the success of the Marvel Netflix shows, as shared in an article from LRM written by Cam, through social media chatter. How many people tweeted about Luke Cage Season 1 vs the second season, per-say. The data is rough, with buzz around Netflix’s series dropping dramatically one season to the next.
And then, just last Friday, the news dropped that Daredevil Season 3, perhaps the best season of any Marvel Netflix show was also not immune to the lack of enthusiasm people have for these shows. It’s like Thanos snapped half the audience out of existence. Or… the former version.
So, in an age when Netflix actually does cancel shows, canceling my beloved American Vandal also recently, maybe Iron Fist really isn’t doing the numbers it needs to make it worthwhile for Netflix. After all, Iron Fist is certainly the least beloved series from Marvel and Netflix, to say the least. The Luke Cage situation seems to be slightly different, but still… two canceled shows in the course of a week?
Not a good sign. It could be “ratings,” though I think it is something different entirely.
MAKE WAY FOR DISNEY PLAY
Disney Play already has a few incredible sounding Marvel shows lined up, and to be honest, they do sound better than what we’ve gotten from Netflix… but different (as in no longer “Mature” like the Netflix fare).
Loki and Scarlet Witch mini-series are being made with up to eight episodes each, starring the same actors that portrayed them from the film. And, more than likely, other side characters from their corners of the MCU. There is also the rumored Nick Fury show (which might be something more… a lot more) and my personal favorite and new hope for Marvel TV… a show focusing on Falcon and The Winter Soldier! (That’s literally my dream movie or show, which I may write about this week…and have written about before…)
If Marvel is going all in with Disney Play — making series that actually do tie directly into the only part of the MCU anyone cares about, through character and actors we know from the films, at least – do they really want original content from their universe on competing streaming platforms? I really don’t think so…
Which would be a shame. Disney Play is not going to host shows as mature as these Netflix shows. Forget a worthy Blade or Moonknight series if Disney is moving away from Netflix. Forget Daredevil making the move. I say Disney is interested in killing it, and I don’t think Marvel Studios disagrees, realizing the only thing that has lasted for them has been incredibly MCU-centric, not tangentially related.
Before any of this was being talked about, long before Daredevil Season 3 dropped or Iron Fist was canceled, I already had a worry.
It seemed strange to me that Netflix was putting out a season for each of its original four series, all in one year. If there were a team-up announced for next year, I’d be like, “yup, that’s it, they’re wrapping this universe up.” Yet, as far as I am aware only Punisher Season 2 is currently in production? Maybe Jessica Jones Season 3 is coming? Maybe? Either way, this seems like the least amount of projects Netflix and Marvel have had in the pipe for years, wheras a year ago three series were in production or nearing it.
Maybe this year, featuring rumored diminishing returns, was a bit of a Star Wars situation for Marvel. Just as Solo: A Star Wars Story was undercut by being released too close to The Last Jedi, a film that also divided fans like never before, did Marvel release too many shows in too short a time, following the disappointing Defenders team-up last year and the excellent Punisher, that it seems like most people skipped?
Even if a slowdown is in the cards now after an underwhelming year overloaded with shows, why is there so little in the pipeline? What was their plan for next year if all these shows hit? It still feels like showing us new adventures of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist all in one year was sort of a last hurrah before Disney Play dominates next year.
And maybe that initial fear is finally coming to pass…
CONCLUSION: DEAD EITHER WAY
Netflix and Marvel won’t admit it, but I think we’ll see the end of Marvel’s Netflix series by 2020. I don’t think Disney wants the competition against themselves and I believe the series are doing less well than they used to – I haven’t watched a series since Punisher, aside from Daredevil Season 3, that I have still not finished. And I’m their 100% target audience! I used to eat all this up!
Though it is a sad thought, as we will no longer see as adult-oriented shows on the big screen or Disney Play, it’s what seems to make the most sense for Disney, at least. And with Netflix canceling a lot of shows so far in 2018, maybe they’re ready to let these characters go as well.
Whether or not it is for ratings (I still say that’s the less important factor in this case), it’s time to say goodbye to Marvel on Netflix.
I hope to Thor I am wrong.