It was learned on Monday Disney-owned Marvel will be partnering with Hulu on four adult animated series, including a Kevin Smith-backed Howard the Duck. Disney owns a sizable stake in Hulu.
Disney has pulled away from its dealings with Netflix as it readies the launch of its own streaming service, Disney+, to be home to its own big-budget Marvel Cinematic Universe projects centered around Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and lover Vision (Paul Bettany), superheroes Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and mischievous Asgardian demigod Loki (played in the film franchise by Tom Hiddleston).
Following the 2018 cancellations of The Defenders, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and most recently Daredevil, Punisher — which in January debuted its sophomore season — and Jessica Jones, which has yet to premiere its third season, are the last-surviving projects birthed out of the Marvel-Netflix partnership established in 2013.
It was previously learned it's Netflix, not Disney, who wields the power to cancel its Marvel output.
Daredevil and The Defenders star Amy Rutberg previously reported Marvel executives were "very surprised" to learn Netflix would not be moving forward with future seasons of Daredevil despite its creative team's plans for at least three future seasons.
Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb previously told EW "the television studio will always be beholden to our networks," a statement that was backed by Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, who confirmed with The Insider Netflix's Marvel shows "are for us to cancel."
Disney direct-to-consumer and international division chairman Kevin Mayer, who oversees Disney+, later told THR the "very high-quality" shows could potentially live on under Disney: "We haven't yet discussed that," he said, "but I would say that's a possibility."
Should Punisher be cancelled just two seasons into its run, star Jon Bernthal says he's "at peace with it."
"I really only worry about the things I can control. When I'm playing the character and I'm doing the job and it's right there in front of me, I do whatever I can to make it as good as I can," he told Variety last month.
"But in this business there's so much we can't control. Whatever is happening with these shows, these decisions are being made in rooms I'm not invited into and I'm OK with that."