Leaving their fans reeling in the aftermath, Netflix has announced the final purging of all Marvel series in their removal of The Punisher, as well Jessica Jones, with its third season hanging in the balances. Other shows that were previously called to an end were Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Netflix and Marvel have had a long-term relationship (five years to be exact) with six series. So why the decision to end it all?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the removal of Marvel content can be explained by the enormous changes being made in television. With a move towards more streaming businesses, other major companies like Disney, Comcast and WarnerMedia have decided to venture into the new frontier. However, with this move comes a crossroads that every streaming service is now facing: should they stick to originals and hoard their content or should they license their content for other streaming services? With Netflix running the show, it is a difficult decision, as the majority of households use Netflix as their streaming service. This has put Netflix in a position as both rival and friend, allowing networks to have their content reach a wider audience while also hindering their own streaming service development. All of this has culminated in Disney’s decision to move all of their content to a forthcoming streaming service, Disney+, which they had announced nearly two years ago in August 2017.
Another major factor in the decision to remove Marvel content from Netflix is the fact that Netflix doesn’t have any ownership of the shows. All six of the shows that are streamable on Netflix are owned by Disney, and Netflix had to pay an exorbitant amount to ABC Studios for licensing. However, executives from both Disney and Marvel have hinted that the content currently streaming on Netflix might make its way to Disney+.
Other reasons were given for the cancellation of Jessica Jones with the impending arrival of the third season. For one, Melissa Rosenberg, who is the showrunner for the series, left after season three had been completed. Additionally, all of the major stars of the show have been given a greenlight by Netflix in order to look for other work in the wake of their break with Marvel. Lastly, Netflix weighed the cost of the show and it was decided that the series was more expensive than their viewership. Although Netflix never reveals their data, a third party company was able to track down their stats and it was revealed that all Marvel series ratings were down from prior years.
What do Marvel fans need to take away from this? Their new go-to place for all things Marvel will be on Disney+, which is set to release in the fourth quarter of this year. Fans can expect three MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) films, which are already in the making: Loki, a Falcon/Winter Soldier mashup series, and Vision and Scarlet Witch.
Concerning the fate of other shows owned by companies like WarnerMedia and Comcast and streamed by Netflix, the future seems to be following in the footsteps of Disney+. The Friends scare shows how imminent such moves are. hief creative officer Kevin Reilly of the WarnerMedia streaming service stated that “Sharing destination assets like [Friends], it’s not a good model to share. They should be exclusive to the service.”