The series was previously expected to be renewed for its third season, joining the now-shooting season three of Jessica Jones, and Daredevil, which launched its third season Friday.
"Unfortunately, Marvel's Luke Cage will not return for a third season," Marvel and Netflix said in a joint statement announcing the cancellation. "Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is grateful to the dedicated showrunner, writers, cast and crew who brought Harlem's Hero to life for the past two seasons, and to all the fans who have supported the series."
A reason for the abrupt cancellation was not given. Like Iron Fist, the development has come as particularly upsetting for fans, who were already left frustrated last month after Netflix rebranded a social media page for crossover limited series The Defenders, apparently signaling there would be no future installments re-teaming Cage (Mike Colter), Danny Rand (Finn Jones), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Daredevil (Charlie Cox).
Luke Cage season three was already being developed by showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and its writers room. As told by Colter just last month, the new season would have explored "Luke's ability to govern and be fair," with the bulletproof de facto protector acting as the new king-slash-sheriff of Harlem.
"We're going to see how he deals with this power, because we know absolute power can corrupt absolutely," Colter revealed.
"And sometimes when you don't have someone checking you, someone to put you in place, someone to tell you 'you can't do that,' we sometimes get out of control. We see that everywhere.... Luke is in Harlem, and so Harlem is going to be his place that he's going to have to control. And I think he's decided to use organized crime in a very not practical way."
Speculation is rampant Marvel and Netflix could instead partner on a Heroes for Hire television series, effectively merging both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, as both their titular heroes were longtime best friends and superhero partners in the Marvel comic books.
Alternatively, the decision to axe Luke Cage could be tied to Marvel owners Disney, who intend to populate its own streaming service with its MCU characters. The studio is eyeing its own big-budget television series for Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
That service, Disney Play, launches next year and will be "the biggest priority of the company" in 2019, said Disney CEO Bob Iger.
Dab on the Haters
Luke Cage’s fate was sealed after this pic.twitter.com/1kc7C7uaY9— È̡̧͈̩͔̲̰̠͎͎̲͚̹̀͟R͠҉̡͙̗͚͎̪͚͉̤̼͍̮̻̝͙͔̣͡Į̜̯͈̱̖̯̱́ͅC (@AgeOfMyself) October 20, 2018
"You're next, Jessica"
Last week Iron Fist got cancelled
Today Daredevil's 3rd and best season premieres
Tonight Netflix cancels Luke Cage
Someone over at Netflix really has no fucks left to give— Walt (@UberKryptonian) October 20, 2018
*Iron Fist cancelled*
*Luke Cage cancelled*
Jessica Jones: I don't care
Netflix: *whispers* You're next... pic.twitter.com/ldI8yVVhWh— Walt (@UberKryptonian) October 20, 2018
Hero for Hire
Not cool. This better mean that they are instead going to make a Heroes for Hire series.— Thomas (@ThomasEli) October 20, 2018
Both Iron Fist and Luke Cage are canceled; so can we finally get a Heroes For Hire TV show? pic.twitter.com/ZN987KxJkI— Jacob (@JacobGrimm_) October 20, 2018
If we don't get a Heroes for Hire series outta this, Netflix better square up for cancelling Luke Cage pic.twitter.com/tlG8sZNwHf— SWOOP N Ë O (@NeoGameSpark) October 20, 2018
Trick or Trick
netflix really be passing out cancellations like they’re skittles and it’s halloween— ola. ? (@emotozeextremo) October 20, 2018
Me trying to figure out Disney/Marvel’s master plan after Iron Fist and Luke Cage have been cancelled. pic.twitter.com/qgssSpsIMk— TC (@TCDoesComics) October 20, 2018
DC shows are doing better than Marvel shows ... HOW HOW HOW pic.twitter.com/2BgpmElcaj— ri (@dayaspatton) October 20, 2018
As All Things Should Be (Forgot About Punisher, Though)
Luke Cage & Iron Fist snapped out of existence.. only Daredevil and Jessica Jones remain. Perfectly balanced. pic.twitter.com/vBkJeRPvLr— I can't think of a name... (@eaphen) October 20, 2018
When Marvel Netflix cancels trash Iron Fist but then season 3 of Daredevil premieres and it’s again god-tier but then they cancel Luke Cage which was good but then... pic.twitter.com/WbkeKkpPa6— Kyle Popovich (@kylepop16) October 20, 2018
Luke Have Mercy
Luke Cage and Iron Fist are both cancelled which means no Misty Knight and Iron Fist team up pic.twitter.com/NCOf0rNHu4— zoë (@ifmnlghtcudtalk) October 20, 2018
Luke Cage and Iron Fist needed to be put out of their misery. These were mercy killings.— Thickamaru Nara (@Aphrothighty) October 20, 2018
Dread It... Run From It... Cancellation Arrives All the Same
I guess LUKE CAGE isn’t bulletproof from cancellation. :(— Dan Marcus (@Danimalish) October 20, 2018
It just shows that Luke Cage and Iron Fist didn’t survive the snap pic.twitter.com/qjMyGrOynh— Cad (@cadbane86140) October 20, 2018
RIP Marvel’s Iron Fist.— Alain Baltazar (@0nlyAlain) October 20, 2018
RIP Marvel’s Luke Cage. pic.twitter.com/hTTcFFcO1x