Is the Disney streaming service the cause of Marvel Netflix cancellations?


Back on the history of the historic agreement between Marvel and Netflix.

By Terri Schwartz

Update: Netflix has officially canceled all of its Marvel series, including The Punisher and Jessica Jones, which will air its third season later this year. The original article of IGN has been updated below.

Despite the popularity and rave reviews of Darvelevil, Jessica Jones and other Netflix collaborations, the once-historic partnership of the two companies will end with Jessica Jones' third and final season, after the cancellation. of the five series. in the last four months.

As Disney prepares for a long-awaited streaming service, Disney +, which will have its own series of MCU-centric television series, many believe that Netflix may have given the weight of these broadcasts under pretext that his collaborator is about to become his competitor. . But this drama is not limited to the eye.

The ups and downs of Netflix's Marvel deal

A little more than five years ago, in November 2013, Disney announced that Netflix would produce four independent series based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, culminating in a series of Defenders crossovers that would, hopefully, reflect the success the film world Marvel had with the Avengers on the big screen. But while the MCU has flourished with its decade-long plan reunited in Avengers Avenger's 2018 box office: Infinity War, Marvel Netflix's shows have never really captured the same magic even when they brought together the four heroes of the street for The Defenders. miniseries.

The start of Daredevil's season 1 in 2015 immediately seduced the audience with its dark and well-grounded interpretation of Marvel's heroes, differentiating Netflix's series from the lighter, more user-friendly tone of MCU movies. But the cracks started to appear after only a few years. While the first-year seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have been hailed by critics, the Iron Fist debut has been marked not only by its performance, but also by its low representation of the martial arts abilities of its main character .

This is perhaps why so few people really came out to watch the lively crossover between the four shows. The Defenders made their debut in 2017, five months after Iron Fist, with Danny Rand at the center of history and the four incumbent defenders all fighting hand, a group of assassins from a note. which had already been featured in Daredevil Season 2 and Iron Fist. Season 1.

Not only was The Defenders badly received, but the number of Marvel Netflix viewers among the five different series was the lowest at that time, according to an external analyst firm. Marvel later revealed that the Defenders would not meet for a season 2.


It has become clearer in recent years that not all of these programs are created equally.

Without the promise of another crossover of the Defenders to link all the characters, these individual series have largely forged their own paths, regardless of any larger narrative. New Netflix seasons greenlit for the four series – even a new series on The Punisher after the character's debut in Daredevil – but the connective tissue separating the four heroes has become increasingly thin. While Luke Cage's Misty Knight played a key role in Iron Fist Season 2 and Daredevil's Karen Page was a main character in The Punisher, a striking example of this changing era is the fact that Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple – at In many ways, the bridge between the shows leading to The Defenders – has become less of a part of these stories.

It has become clearer in recent years that not all of these programs are created equally. While Daredevil still seems to be Netflix Marvel's favorite and Punisher has been well received, the search traffic analysis of these titles on Google over the years shows a significant drop in interest. (Note: Netflix does not publish audience numbers.)

Screen capture 2018-11-02 at 11h.14.16

Data compiled by the IGN.

Disney becomes the competition

But the decrease in interest would probably not have been enough on its own to encourage Netflix to unplug. These broadcasts are the domain of Netflix, not Disney, to cancel or continue to work as they see fit. As long as they stay popular with the global Netflix audience and viewers stay on the service, there is no reason for the streaming network to remove them. Ted Sarandos, of Netflix, said this in July, when reporting on Netflix's results for the second quarter (via Inverse): "These broadcasts allow us to cancel our shows and we are extremely pleased with their performance up to present. "


These broadcasts are the domain of Netflix, not Disney, to cancel or continue to work as they see fit.

So what has changed between yesterday and today? Disney announced in August that the studio was not only leaving its streaming contract with Netflix to expire in 2019, but that it would also devote most of its energy to creating a platform Competitive dissemination.

Beyond Jon Favreau's Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, and Rogue One's new movie, Disney has confirmed that the studio plans to create a stand-alone series for MCU characters like Tom Hiddleston's Loki and Sebastian's Winter Soldier. Stan, integrating these series directly into Marvel films. in a sense, no show Marvel Studios previously did not have. As reported by the New York Times, "no project is more important to Robert A. Iger, general manager of Disney, than the streaming service" after the finalization of the Disney / Fox merger, which should take place here in the summer of 2019.

This change will take effect in March with Captain Marvel. From that point on, all Marvel movies will be shown on Disney +, and not on Netflix, as soon as they appear. While this does not affect existing Marvel broadcasts on Netflix, it certainly discourages the streaming service. After rumors that Disney might try to transfer Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the rest of the Marvel Netflix broadcasts to Disney +, a Disney spokeswoman told the Times that "there was no project in courses "to remove them from Netflix – all the more so as the Disney service should only offer programs tailored to families. (The other three Disney Marvel shows – agents from SHIELD, Marvel's Runaways and Cloak and Dagger – all broadcast on Disney-owned networks and platforms – ABC, Hulu and Freeform respectively – so the things will stay as usual these properties even as Disney travels continuously.)


It's easy to see why Netflix would start disconnecting some of the titles with which the audience is less involved.

Another important factor that keeps Netflix from keeping the Marvel series is their expensive manufacturing, especially since Netflix does not produce them internally as it does for Stranger Things and Mindhunter. Cindy Holland, vice president of Netflix for Original Series, explained how the company was addressing cancellations. While each issue is judged on a case by case basis, Netflix always wonders if a title "gets enough viewers to justify the cost of the series." Factors such as critical acclaim, rewards, and social buzz can often make a difference to the renewal of a particular series.

Netflix has spent a lot of money to win the four independent series of Marvel and Defenders. At the time, the contract for the Marvel Netflix broadcasts was described as "unprecedented" and "the most ambitious incursion ever made by Marvel into live televised storytelling." But with seemingly declining ratings and a broader partnership supporting production, it's easy to see why Netflix would pull the plug on titles with which audiences are less engaged.

The future of Marvel on Netflix: what next?

Although the disappearance of Iron Fist comes shortly after the start of his second season, Luke Cage was suspended six months earlier in the pre-production of season 3, the show being so advanced that some scripts had already been delivered. These seemingly "creative differences" have led to a separation of means, said a source at IGN. The deadline indicated that problems began when executives had problems with some of the season 3 scripts delivered, and the writers' room was suspended in September. When Marvel and Netflix did not know exactly how to change their contract to reduce season 3 from 13 to 10 episodes, things took a turn in the 48 hours that preceded the eventual cancellation of Luke Cage, according to Deadline.

Netflix aired the last seasons of Daredevil and The Punisher and will perform season 3 of Jessica Jones, but not surprisingly, he announced that no Marvel series would continue. (Marvel and Netflix declined to comment when IGN asked if the current agreement between Marvel and Netflix would allow a new series to illuminate its characters with characters covered by the existing rights agreement.) By 2019 and beyond that, it seems unlikely that Netflix will continue to invest in securities that channel money into the intellectual property of its future rival. As Disney's Bob Iger explained when explaining why the company is launching its own streaming service, "the media landscape is increasingly defined by the direct relationships between content creators and consumers." If Disney follows this increased ownership path, it makes sense for Netflix to do it too.


Could these five dead Marvel series end up living on another direct competitor of Netflix?

But there have been some interesting developments in Disney's broadcast space in the weeks leading up to the cancellations of Jessica Jones and Punisher. Despite rumors that Disney could focus all its efforts on its upcoming shows on Disney +, the company has shown a continued interest in Hulu. Not surprisingly, Disney will have a majority stake in Hulu once the Fox acquisition is finalized, which is expected to materialize later in 2019. It seems that Hulu will host Marvel's "adult" series of four recently animated movies for adults. shows.

Could these five dead Marvel series end up living on another direct competitor of Netflix? In an interview with TheWrap, Hulu's vice president of originals, Craig Erwich, expressed interest in a possible revitalization of people like Daredevil and Luke Cage. "Marvel has a ton of titles that could interest us," he said. "It depends on when they are ready, [and] which, most importantly, is going to be behind these things. "

Terri Schwartz is Head of Entertainment Editorial at IGN. Talk to him on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.

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