Where Did It All Go Wrong For Marvel And Netflix?

Posted on 20 February 2019
By Carlton Whitfield
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At one point you couldn’t move around Netflix without having a Marvel adaptation in your face. The list was seemingly endless. From adding existing Marvel movies such as Avengers, the Iron Man Trilogy and Doctor Strange, to creating their own original content, the partnership between the two entertainment giants was on the up.

However, that relationship started to disintegrate pretty quickly. No sooner was the new original content created and it seemed like it was being cancelled just as quickly. Well, after two seasons that is. In fact only Daredevil and Jessica Jones got a third season.

So what happened? The collaborations started in 2015 with Daredevil. With three seasons available, the show was cancelled in November 2018. That announcement was made just weeks after Iron Fist and Luke Cage were also dropped.

And today, the announcement that the last two remaining Marvel shows – Jessica Jones and The Punisher – have also been canned, has left viewers scratching their heads.

The simple answer is that Disney happened. What was once the home of fairytale princesses and cute talking animals is now a global powerhouse with plans firmly set on the streaming market. And Disney owns Marvel.

Prior to announcing their own branded streaming service, Disney had an exclusive licensing agreement with Netflix. That expired at the end of 2018 and while Marvel content was not supposed to be affected by the change, it now transpires that Disney do plan to create their own branded shows.

So what does that mean for Netflix? It means that if they kept licensing Marvel they would be putting money in the pockets of their competitors. And effectively giving them free advertising! On that basis it’s quite easy to see why Netflix would take the business decision to cut ties.

But more than that, the viewership of the shows had dipped and, weighed up against the costs of production, it seems that the price was just too high to sustain.

Netflix are notoriously cagey when it comes to viewing figures but they do take a great deal of notice of the buzz their shows get on social media. The more buzz, the higher the number of tweets and the more people watch. That’s the theory anyway. It’s another way that Netflix judges the success of their shows.

So now that Marvel has effectively come to an end on Netflix, will we miss it? That depends entirely on whether you actually like the shows. Iron Fist was a huge miss and frankly, annoying as hell. Nobody likes a simpering, naïve, man-child superhero but strangely that was the direction the show went in.

Luke Cage was a different proposition. Mike Colter was superb and the casting of Mahershala Ali in season one was a stroke of genius. The plot, the action and the character development lived up to expectations.

Some argued was that there was nowhere left for the show to go. But reports suggested creative differences between Marvel and Netflix led to its demise.

Jessica Jones still has one season left which will air later in 2019. Krysten Ritter, who plays the lead in the show, said on Instagram “It has been a dream to play Jessica alongside my amazing cast and the best crew in the business for these past 5 years. I am so grateful for every second of it.”

And if you thought the end of Marvel on Netflix meant the end of Marvel then think again.

Posting on Twitter, the Head of Marvel TV, Jeph Loeb, said in a letter to fans
“Our Network partner may have decided they no longer want to continue telling the tales of these great characters… but you know Marvel better than that.”

So will be seeing our favourite characters and superhero on another streaming platform in the near future? Watch this space.