Disney dropped a bombshell when they announced that they will be ending their deal with Netflix. The Mouse House is going to start its own streaming subscription service in 2019. There is a lot to be excited about with this news. Particularly, if it means getting access to the majority of Disney’s animated film library. But, Disney has said that Netflix will no longer be able to carry the Marvel Cinematic Universe films once the deal is up. This leads to a troubling question: where does this leave the Marvel/Netflix original shows? Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher might be in for some stormy weather.
The big issue could come with Disney’s lack of support for these shows. The relationship between Netflix and Disney has always been a tenuous one when it comes to these programs. Disney has made a point of keeping the MCU films and characters far away from the Marvel/Netflix world, even though they all take place within the same shared universe. It’s created a distancing effect that has kept the Marvel/Netflix shows on the very edges of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Disney continue this trend and even strengthen it. With their investment in Netflix going away, there isn’t much of a reason for them to support shows that they don’t have a huge stake in. This could lead to the storylines and characters we see in the Marvel/Netflix shows becoming even less connected to the MCU. Plus, you won’t see Disney going out of their way to market their Netflix properties. In fact, they might do everything in their power to weaken those shows’ cultural presence. It could be a slow death for the Marvel/Netflix shows.
This announcement does put some other current news into perspective. Netflix recently purchased the Millarworld comic line. They will not only act as the comic book publishers but will also be developing series based on these books. The Millarworld stories and characters actually fit with the mature tone that Netflix took with the Marvel properties they adapted. It wouldn’t be insane to see them shift away from the Marvel shows and put their focus into comic book adaptations like Nemesis, Superior, and even a more faithful adaptation of Wanted.
If this is the direction they take, it wouldn’t make much sense to keep the Marvel shows around. The tonal similarities would look like they were saturating the market. It makes much more sense to end the Marvel shows and put all their backing behind the Millarworld properties. This is another reason to worry about the future of these programs.
Would They Continue On Beyond Netflix?
Could the Netflix shows find a home at Disney’s streaming service? Don’t count on it. Not only would there be some serious contract finagling, but having such hard-edged content on a Disney platform will not be to Mickey’s liking. Disney likes to keep up their image of all ages accessibility, and the Marvel/Netflix shows are as far from that as you can get. Plus, the Marvel shows that Disney directly controls on their own channels — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Inhumans, Cloak & Dagger, and New Warriors — are all definitely maintaining an air of accessibility. It’s clear that Disney as a company doesn’t want to get too involved with more mature and intense content.
This will be a big change for the Marvel/Netflix shows no matter what. If fans are committed to the shows, they will have to become very vocal and supportive of them going forward. Because it could very well be the end of an era over at Netflix for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.