How The Marvel Netflix Universe Ended
With the rights to the characters being given back to Marvel from Netflix by the end of November, fans are hopeful that the hit series Daredevil will finally get a fourth season on Disney+ after the show was canceled following the end of its third season.
With this possibility in mind, it is important to discuss what exactly happened to Daredevil and the other Marvel shows on Netflix that were canceled, including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders and The Punisher.
Daredevil first premiered in April 2015 and starred Charlie Cox as the title character. It received acclaim from both audiences and critics alike for its storytelling, fight scenes and acting, especially by Cox. Not long after, Jessica Jones premiered on November 20, 2015 and starred Krysten Ritter. Similar to Daredevil, Jessica Jones received critical acclaim for its storytelling, dialogue and performances, especially from David Tennant, who played the main antagonist Kilgrave. However, there was heavy criticism about the show’s slow pacing. Daredevil’s second season premiered on March 18, 2016 and received a massive amount of praise, but was also called out for its pacing.
The cracks truly began to show when Luke Cage premiered in September 2016. The show starred Mike Colter as the title character, who was originally a main character during the first season of Jessica Jones. Despite Colter’s performance being praised along with the first half of the season, the show received negative reviews for the second half, with critics stating that the pacing was too slow and the characters were not as interesting. The Marvel Netflix universe hit its lowest point when Iron Fist premiered in March 2017 starring Finn Jones. The season was universally panned for its storytelling, action scenes and casting of Jones, whom many agree was horrible as the character. The four stars of each show came together with The Defenders in which Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones all joined forces to fight an evil organization called the Hand, which had been a major presence in Daredevil and Iron Fist. The series was considered to be a mixed bag by audiences and critics, who praised the interactions between Cox, Ritter and Colter, along with the action scenes and cinematography. However, critics panned the storytelling, usage of Sigourney Weaver as the villain and Jones’ performance as Iron Fist, though many did admit that he was better here compared to his own show.
The Punisher starring Jon Bernthal was the last of the Marvel Netflix shows to air and premiered in November 2017. It received generally positive reviews, but nowhere near as much as Daredevil and Jessica Jones season 1.
Not long after their second seasons’ premiered, Iron Fist and Luke Cage were both canceled, even though their seasons were considered to be improvements over their previous installments. Fans were upset, but not too shocked that this happened. However, nearly everyone was shocked when Daredevil was canceled after its third season. The show already had two seasons that received critical acclaim. After the third season premiered in October 2018, fans and critics loved it. High praise was given to the storytelling, actors, pacing and action scenes. Most people not only crowned it as the best Marvel Netflix season, but also one of the best seasons from any superhero show. It is one thing if the series got negative reviews or poor ratings, but most people loved each season of the show.
The likely reason for Daredevil being canceled is that Disney+ was announced around the time the third season aired. With Disney owning most of Marvel, it is likely that the executives at Netflix knew they could not keep the characters for long and canceled the shows. After Daredevil was canceled, most fans knew that The Punisher and Jessica Jones were doomed as well, and were canceled right before their latest seasons wrapped up as expected.
With the rights of each character returning to Marvel, it is unknown if Disney+ would be willing to put these shows on the service as they are mostly for adult audiences. Hopefully, Daredevil and the other Marvel Netflix heroes will be able to come back soon.