'Daredevil' may not be coming back on Netflix but that doesn't mean we've seen the last of Marvel's masked vigilante
Although this season was arguably the best on the 'Daredevil' season roster, the cancellation of the hit show may be a complete agenda-oriented decision
"There are no heroes, no villains. Just people with different agendas." — Ben Urich
In one of the most devasting announcements from Netflix to Marvel, the streaming giant decided to ax 'Daredevil' after its third season — which is arguably the best in the show's season roster so far. Unsurprisingly, it has left fans of the show heartbroken and frustrated but from what we observe, there may be hope for 'Daredevil', after all.
Netflix stepped into the Marvel franchise game with 'Daredevil' and 'Jessica Jones' in 2015. Netflix consecutively went on to add 'Luke Cage', 'Iron Fist', 'The Defenders' and 'The Punisher' on their Marvel roster on the platform. Both 'Daredevil' and "Jessica Jones' did incredibly well for the platform and although Netflix does not release its subscriber viewership numbers for any of their original series, Karim Zreik, senior vice president of original programming at Marvel Television, provided some viewership demographics for 'Jessica Jones' in August 2017, noting that the series has attracted a large number of female viewers.
Additionally, 'Daredevil' and 'Iron Fist' were also on top of the viewership. All was well until the platform decided to make a detour and stick to only their original content.
Although the cancellation of 'Daredevil' may look shocking at first glance, it really wasn't. In October, both Marvel shows 'Iron Fist' and 'Luke Cage', received the ax. While the cancellation of 'Luke Cage' was cited as creative differences between the two brands, 'Iron Fist' was canceled with no explanation at all. Similar to 'Daredevil', the last season of 'Iron Fist' was critically acclaimed to be the best of the two-season run that the show had on Netflix. So why cancel shows that were clearly fan favorites?
The decision is probably rooted in Disney's new venture — Disney+. The service will launch in the United States in late-2019 and will focus on film and television content from Walt Disney Studios. Original films and series based on new and existing properties will also be featured, including Marvel and Star Wars-based content. This date also coincides with the expiration of the distribution agreement between Disney and Netflix. The agreement reportedly allowed Netflix to make only 14 seasons of all properties from Disney's Marvel.
Renewing 'Daredevil' for another season would only mean they could potentially miss out on adding seasons to 'Jessica Jones' and 'The Punisher', both of which are still airing on Netflix. This move could also have arisen from a fear of being hit with an unanticipated contract revoke when Disney+ airs.
When Disney launches the streaming service in late 2019 and Netflix renews 'Daredevil', there is a chance that its air date could coincide.
Quite the motivational speech. pic.twitter.com/Bsfv4VMKMP— Daredevil (@Daredevil) November 26, 2018
Another reason why the cancelation could have occurred is because of Netflix's original programming agenda. In May earlier this year, Netflix decided to allocate a sum of $8 billion solely to its original programming slate. By the end of 2018, the streaming giant aimed to have around 1,000 originals on the service with 470 of those set to premiere by the end of the year. Disney+ too is trying to focus on original content — a clash does seem inevitable, especially with Marvel properties. However, if Disney does pick up 'Daredevil', it may not come back in the way fans are expecting it to.
Disney's streaming service is intended to be family friendly as a rule. Is it set to be PG-13, so it may be next to impossible to air 'Daredevil' on Disney+ considering its violent content. Most of the Disney-produced R-rated content will probably go to Hulu. As of now, Disney owns a 30% stake in the company but after it closes the Fox deal, it will end up owning 60%. However, there's a tiny problem with that.
Disney can't possibly include the first seasons of the show anywhere other than Netflix due to contract, which would mean that adding a hypothetical fourth season to Disney+ or Hulu will have the negative side effect of pushing consumers into a competing service to get caught up. Disney is already planning shows around Loki, Scarlet Witch, Bucky and Falcon. 'Captain Marvel' will be the first theatrically-released Disney film to stream exclusively on Disney+.
Original series based on Marvel properties and Star Wars were also announced, the latter including 'The Mandalorian' — a spin-off television series that will be set in between 'Return of the Jedi' and 'The Force Awakens', as well as a prequel to 'Rogue One'. So will Disney really add 'Daredevil' to its show roster?
The answer is leaning towards a yes — if they see enough potential in the renewal. Disney is a much bigger entity than Netflix at the moment, especially since the Fox deal. It could also take a different route altogether and introduce the character of Daredevil in their upcoming Marvel films. The bad news is 'Jessica Jones' and 'The Punishers' may soon be shown the door too. We'll just wait and watch what happens, but as of now, 'Daredevil's future is in a limbo.