Alan Sepinwall, an illustrious industry writer and chief television critic for Rolling Stone, believes Netflix's freshly cancelled Marvel series aren't likely to be resurrected on Disney streaming service Disney+.
If Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and the just-cancelled Daredevil do find new life on Disney's premiere direct-to-consumer streaming service, Sepinwall argues, the series would be rebooted, each "starting over from scratch creatively."
In a series of tweets published in the wake of Netflix's surprise cancellation of Daredevil Thursday, Sepinwall wrote the Marvel-Netflix partnership — announced in 2014 — is "doomed," citing Disney's foray into the booming streaming business as the cause.
Sepinwall further noted Netflix has been unhappy with creative decisions made on the series, birthed out of a deal that was "ill-conceived from the start" as it was an attempt to replicate on the small screen the success Disney-owned Marvel Studios forged on the big screen with its connected Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel Television operates independently of Marvel Studios: the television branch is overseen by EVP Jeph Loeb, who still reports to Marvel Entertainment chairman and former CEO Ike Perlmutter.
Perlmutter's meddling in the movie side of the MCU frustrated Marvel Studios chief and master planner Kevin Feige so much the Avengers producer once threatened to leave Marvel — prompting Disney CEO Bob Iger in 2015 to hand control of the movie branch over to Disney Studios chief Alan Horn, freeing Feige of Perlmutter and his involvement entirely.
That move resulted in a renaissance for Marvel Studios, which continued to flourish with hits Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War.
While Feige is on record as saying he doesn't "rule anything out" when it comes to reconciling both sides of the MCU and allowing the TV characters to play in the movie sandbox — Avengers directors Anthony and Joe Russo mulled over including the Netflix heroes in Infinity War — the TV side references the larger ongoings of the movies, while the movies ignore their small screen counterparts entirely.
"The execs have already said they don't want these shows on the Disney service. And even if they did, the nature of the contracts would make it virtually impossible," Sepinwall tweeted when asked if Daredevil and others could relaunch on Disney+. "They're done."
Disney+ is now developing big-budget television series centered around characters from the movies, including series for Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Captain America allies Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
Those Disney+ shows "are being produced by Marvel movie execs, who do not like or get along with the Marvel TV execs who made Daredevil et al," Sepinwall wrote in a follow-up tweet.
"Technically, they COULD make a Luke Cage show a few years down the line. They just don't want to."
In another tweet, Sepinwall opined if Disney+ chose to relaunch the Netflix heroes, "they'd be starting over from scratch creatively, like Sony ditching the Andrew Garfield movies for Tom Holland as Spider-Man."
Netflix, when announcing its cancellation of Daredevil, noted "the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel," sentiments also expressed when the plug was pulled on Iron Fist and Luke Cage just one week apart. Reports later surfaced indicating the heroes of those respective series would resurface elsewhere in the Marvel Universe — just not on Netflix.
Loeb previously told EW Marvel had "an idea" for at least three future seasons of Daredevil, but remarked such decisions ultimately lie with Netflix, who hold the power to continue or cancel their Marvel series.
In an attempt to quell worries about the remaining Marvel Netflix series following Iron Fist's cancellation, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in October Netflix was "super happy" with the performance of the other series, noting "those shows are for us to cancel."
Marvel fans are now raising hell on social media following the surprise series of cancellations — first The Defenders, then Iron Fist and Luke Cage before Daredevil — and are bracing themselves for the expected cancellations of Jessica Jones and The Punisher, now developing their upcoming second and third seasons, respectively.
Marvel has long stressed "it's all connected" when it comes to their shared universe, but if the Marvel Netflix heroes don't find a home on streaming service Hulu — a sizable stake of which is owned by Disney, whose portion will increase when Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox is completed — the already underserved grittier TV heroes could be abandoned entirely, should Sepinwall's predictions hold true.
There has been much questioning if Marvel Studios would directly involve TV-MA or R-rated heroes, but Iger is on record saying Marvel Studios is open to going R-rated in the future — particularly when it comes to own hit R-rated franchise Deadpool.9comments
"There may be an opportunity for an R-rated Marvel brand," Iger said during a December investor's meeting, "as long as we let audiences know what's coming."
Netflix has since stated their cancelled Marvel series will remain available for streaming.