With Marvel looking to move on from Netflix, the streaming service canceled Daredevil last week, marking the latest development in a relationship that is obviously collapsing.
Starring Charlie Cox and veteran actor Vincent D’Onofrio, the series has received critical acclaim as the blind superhero faces off with kingpin Wilson Fisk – arguably the most realistic portrayal of a villain on television today (sorry, Lucious Lyon.) The show was the first from Marvel to premiere on Netflix back in 2015 and led to the creation of the Marvel Netflix Universe, with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. The leads on the four shows subsequently teamed up for The Defenders, an eight hour mini-series event.
Daredevil even spawned a spin-off based on the Frank Castle character on the show, The Punisher.
Marvel officials said last week even though Daredevil is exiting, the character could still appear on the remaining two Marvel Netflix shows, Jessica and Punisher. But the status for future seasons of those two appear to be on life support as Marvel and Netflix are looking to part with each other due to Marvel owner Disney looking to launch its own service titled Disney Plus next year. Netflix recently canceled fellow Marvel series Fist and Luke.
Disney Plus plans to have numerous Marvel programs, including a Loki and Scarlet Witch show and a Winter Soldier series, and several animated programs. Two Star Wars shows – the first live-action programs from the franchise – are also in development. Disney plans to pull its movie library from Netflix next year to host on Disney Plus.
The cancellation of Daredevil illustrates the strained relationship between both parties as Netflix is moving into more original programming and relying less on product from outside studios. In the last few months, Netflix has canceled programming from CBS. Lionsgate, and others. Meanwhile, megahit Stranger Things is produced in-house.
While Netflix doesn’t release viewing data for its shows, reports indicated metrics for each show in the Netflix Marvel Universe has slipped with each new season. Social media posts for Jessica and Luke have slipped dramatically in their second seasons, in accordance to both shows’ quality also deteriorating. Many fans of Jessica (including myself) found the second season disappointing.
Also, there seems to be a disconnect between the MNU and the rest of the Marvel properties, including ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, which surprised everyone with a seventh-season renewal for 2020, even though season six isn’t due until next June. But while SHIELD is on Netflix, the series is produced by ABC and Marvel and also appears on Hulu, where Disney is set to gain a significant stake once its deal to acquire most of 21st Century Fox is complete.
What Netflix is doing is using a playbook the broadcast networks have done for years – favor their own product over outside productions, a practice put in place since the financial interest and syndication rules limiting how many hours per week the major broadcasters can produce for their own networks expired nearly 25 years ago (in fact, SHIELD wouldn’t been renewed if the rules were still in place.) And now, Netflix is doing the exact same thing – especially when it was revealed Wednesday Daredevil was the fourth ranked streaming series in terms of viewership last week.