If you’ve been following the headlines, you know that Netflix gave the old heave-ho to its entire slate of Marvel shows. If you recall, it was just August 2017 that Netflix premiered the much-hyped crossover superhero series of this generation. However, most folks who watched it understood why it wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. Seeing Netflix’s batch of silver screen heroes all kicking villain a** didn’t quite have the same effect as watching The Avengers do it. Most of us took the lack of a Season 2 announcement as a sigh of relief as these characters all seemed infinitely more interesting when inhabiting their secluded little slice of the world.
So, we were prepared to go into new seasons of Luke Cage, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist. Then Netflix announced the cancellation of Iron Fist. I saw Seasons 1 and 2. I can admit it was not the strongest show in the Marvel lineup. But hell, it sure was fun to watch Danny Rand occasionally cross over and interact with members of The Defenders within their specific universes. Some fans were outraged, others were nonchalant about it.
Then Netflix announced that Harlem’s hero would be no more. The bigwigs at Netflix had decided to cancel yet another Marvel show. This one, however, was quickly becoming a fan favorite and had just come off a strong Season 2 finisher. Another canceled Marvel series. This is about the moment when fans started to feel like Chicken Little. Something was amiss at Netflix. The sky was falling.
Shortly thereafter, Netflix dropped the axe down onto Daredevil. I bet you didn’t see that coming. I mean, who could? The series was arguably the best of the bunch. It featured Vincent D’onofrio as The Kingpin AKA William Fisk. By the time this happened, it was too late and Netflix promptly followed up with that decision by going full 9/11 on the rest of their Marvel shows. Goodbye Punisher. Sayonora, Jessica Jones. Many fans and spectators were left wondering why it happened.
To put in plain and simple, it all boiled down to dollars and cents, as discussed in a recent THR piece. Netflix was paying heavy licensing fees for those Marvel characters, and in the end, they have no ownership of them. So, in addition to seeing diminishing returns on fan enthusiasm in terms of ratings, they were likely still paying that steep licensing fees for the characters. Perhaps the numbers would have been fine had it been an original property, but that wasn’t the case with these Marvel shows. That doesn’t make sense from a profitability and strategic standpoint, as Disney is poised to have a robust and healthy streaming service that is direct competition for Netflix.
And as far as why they’d cancel Jessica Jones before its third season even airs…well, the writing was on the wall with Netflix’s relationship with the House of Mouse, they didn’t want to prevent the crew from taking on other jobs in hopes of getting another, which is actually kind of nice of them, if you think about it.
Alas, we will never see what happens when Luke Cage takes a volley of automatic rifle spray from the Punisher. At least we got to see what happens when a network invests in its shows creatively and allows freedom to its creators. It was nice while we had them.
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SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter