Netflix shocked superhero fans with the cancellations of most of its Marvel shows, including flagship streaming Marvel series Daredevil. The upcoming launch of the Disney+ streaming service does give fans reason to hope that Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and any other characters from the cancelled shows could be back on the small screen, but it turns out that they can't appear in any new shows for a while. Here's why.
The deal for the original four Marvel shows dictates that the characters that populated the series cannot appear in any movies or TV shows for two years following cancellation, according to Variety. The cancellations of Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and then Daredevil all went down this fall, so the soonest they could come to Disney+ or anywhere else is 2020. Any viewers already mourning these characters on the small screen should probably resign themselves to rewatching for the next couple of years.
Unfortunately, the deal for those original four Marvel shows on Netflix includes Jessica Jones, which was the second to debut and the only one of the original four not yet cancelled. Jessica Jones Season 3 was already in production when Netflix started handing down the cancellation orders, so that batch of episodes at least will hit the web. While it's good news for fans that there's at least one more season of Jessica Jones in action, there is a downside.
If Jessica Jones is cancelled after Season 3 in 2019 -- which seems likely at this point -- then Jessica would be off the table for TV and movies through 2021. It's technically possible that Netflix will hold onto Jessica Jones, but if the streaming giant would cancel Daredevil shortly after the premiere of its acclaimed third season, is any Marvel show really safe?
Well, The Punisher could be safe. Although Jon Bernthal made his debut as the murderous vigilante on Daredevil, his show felt largely separate from the other Marvel series, and he didn't even appear in The Defenders. If not for Karen Page and other familiar faces that popped up, Punisher could have stood on its own. The Punisher was also not part of the original four-show deal; if it does get cancelled, perhaps The Punisher will be free sooner than two years.
Then again, maybe it would take longer for The Punisher to be free, or maybe The Punisher won't even be cancelled. This show is arguably the biggest variable, and few things are 100% certain at this point. Part of me still hasn't processed that Daredevil got the axe. It always struck me as one of the safer shows on Netflix! The folks at Daredevil believed that Season 4 was coming, and the story for the fourth season was even pitched shortly before the cancellation was announced.
It's worth noting, however, that Disney+ won't even launch until some point in late 2019; if Disney is holding onto Daredevil and the other heroes for its streaming service, they wouldn't be back on the airwaves for at least one year anyway. We'll have to wait and see if any new developments are announced. Disney+ does already have projects in the works with Marvel, including a Loki-centric TV series. If you need some shows to watch that aren't necessarily Marvel, take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.