- Netflix canceled its remaining Marvel shows, “The Punisher” and “Jessica Jones,” on Monday.
- Despite a loyal fanbase, it’s unlikely for the shows, as we know them, to be revived elsewhere.
- Both Disney+ and Hulu are developing Marvel series that are heading in a different direction.
- Data provided to Business Insider showed how the Netflix shows lost their audiences over time.
Netflix’s Marvel television universe officially died Monday when the streaming giant canceled its remaining Marvel shows, “The Punisher” and “Jessica Jones.” The third and final season of “Jessica Jones” will still be released later this year.
The cancellations were expected after Netflix axed three other Marvel shows last year. “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” and “Daredevil” premiered new seasons in 2018, but all three were abruptly canceled over the span of a month. Not even great reviews could save “Daredevil” (its third season has a 96% Rotten Tomatoes critic score).
After “Daredevil’s” cancellation, an online campaign called #SaveDaredevil launched a Change.org petition to revive the show that now has nearly 260,000 signatures, a Twitter account with more than 3,900 followers, and a website where fans can keep up to date on the “movement.”
But the loyal fanbase may not be enough to save “Daredevil,” or its counterparts.
The official word is that the decision to cancel the shows was out of Marvel’s hands.
“It’s an unfortunate reality to any relationship between a network and a studio in that the network always has the right at any time to cancel a show,” Marvel Television executive producer Jeph Loeb told Indiewire before the cancellation of “The Punisher.” “I think we’ve made it very clear, that this is not our call. This is Netflix’s call.”
Data provided to Business Insider suggested that flagging audience demand was one reason Netflix pulled the plug. Interest in the shows had dropped significantly since their first seasons. A social-media analysis by Crimson Hexagon in October, after “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” were canceled, showed that online buzz for the shows, and “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” had dropped dramatically over time.
Viewership for the second season of “The Punisher,” which was released last month, fell 40% in its first weekend compared with the first season in 2017, according to the analytics company Jumpshot.
Loeb hinted that the shows could live on after “The Punisher” and “Jessica Jones” were canceled. In a letter to fans, he wrote, “Our Network partner may have decided they no longer want to continue telling the tales of these great characters… but you know Marvel better than that. As Matthew Murdock’s Dad once said, ‘The measure of a man is not how he gets knocked to the mat, it’s how he gets back up.’ To be continued…!”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the shows will be resurrected, even with Disney, Marvel’s owner, launching its own Netflix competitor this year, Disney+. If anything, the characters could return, but there’s no guarantee they would be revived as the same interpretations. And there is a growing foundation of Marvel TV being laid that these shows would no longer fit into.
Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off series are being developed for Disney+, including a Loki series starring Tom Hiddleston. Netflix’s Marvel shows were loosely connected to the MCU but never fully embraced it. Disney+ will likely focus on all-ages content to better support the Disney brand, and Netflix’s Marvel shows, as we know them, don’t adhere to that brand or the MCU. They were too mature and violent for the larger franchise, which made Netflix the perfect place for them – until audiences drifted away.
Disney will also own the majority of Hulu once the Fox merger is complete, and Hulu is developing Marvel shows of its own, all of which will be adult animated series: “Howard the Duck,” “M.O.D.O.K.,” “Hit-Monkey,” and “Tigra & Dazzler,” which will lead to a crossover special, “The Offenders.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to what Netflix did with its Marvel shows. “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist,” and “Luke Cage” resulted in the crossover series, “The Defenders.”
Hulu’s senior vice president of originals, Craig Erwich, told The Wrap that he was open to Hulu expanding its relationship with Marvel.
“It kind of just depends on when they’re ready, [and] who, most importantly, is going to be behind these things,” he said. “We’ve had a relationship with Marvel since ‘Runaways,’ we’re getting into business on these animated shows. I’m sure it will lead to – you know, business gets you business – we have a good creative relationship with them. That’s where opportunities tend to arise.”
But, as with Disney+, the direction Hulu’s Marvel series are heading doesn’t indicate that Netflix’s Marvel shows would fit alongside them. Fans should be prepared for Netflix’s Marvel shows to stay dead.
Have a tip about Marvel or anything else? Email the author at [email protected]
Read more of Business Insider’s coverage of Netflix’s Marvel shows:
- Netflix’s ‘The Punisher’ viewership is down 40%, but there’s a sliver of hope for fans of the Marvel show
- Data predicted Netflix would cancel ‘Daredevil,’ and its remaining Marvel shows are probably next
- Fans are calling for Netflix to renew ‘Daredevil,’ but data shows interest in the show has fallen off
- Netflix canceled Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’ and ‘Iron Fist’ in the span of a month, and it could show a strategy shift
- Interest in Netflix’s ‘Luke Cage’ and ‘Iron Fist’ dropped dramatically over time, and its other Marvel shows could also be in trouble
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