From what started as a solid content presence of Netflix is now nothing but dust and debris. At one point, Marvel Television's "Defendersverse" was a promising outfit on the streaming giant, fielding six shows at the height of its hay day. Now, in one fell swoop, Netflix pulled the plug on every single show after a negotiation stalemate with Marvel Television and Disney.
Digital media has allowed fans easy access to communicate and organize, for better or for worse. When Netflix sent Daredevil to the chopping block after three critically acclaimed seasons, the show's fandom instantly leaped into action. From what started as a group of fans has blossomed into #SaveDaredevil, a grassroots cause attempting to get Daredevil renewed at another network or streaming platform.
To get an insight into what goes on behind one of the biggest fan movements in recent television history, ComicBook.com sat down with Phyllis and Van -- who chose to withhold their last names -- two of the movers and shakers behind the scenes.
ComicBook.com: #SaveDaredevil has grown. I mean by now, it really is a movement, a cause. It started out as -- now I want to make sure I have this correct -- at one point, obviously before Netflix canceled Daredevil, there was RenewDaredevil.com. This is the same group, correct?
Phyllis: Yes, we're the same group. We got everything up and running about a week before Netflix cancelled. It was one of those things where the timing was both crappy, but also really good, because we kind of already had the infrastructure in place to do "Save Daredevil," but Netflix beat us to the punch.
Let's talk at least about how everything got started. How many people are involved in this movement? How many people are involved in the core team?
Van: Oh man.
Phyllis: I know. I don't think ever counted the number before. I would say probably as far as people that are actively day-to-day in conversation with each other planning ideas and stuff, I want to say maybe 15. That could be over or under.
Van: There are a few people who are off handling Instagram for us, Facebook, Tumblr, on Twitter. Some people are crossing over and there are some people who are separately doing that because they're good at that. We just let people work to their strengths. Like you said, it's a movement. Everybody is in it for the same thing. We all have the same goal in mind.
How did the group come together? Obviously, you're all die-hard fans of Daredevil. Was there one social media platform you guys were all on? Were you friends in person? How did the core team start coming together?
Phyllis: It was really, again, a random lucky thing that happened. Someone on Twitter, one of the people on our team, Anna, had decided one day to tag a bunch of people that she had seen involved on the Daredevil fandom on Twitter. Those people ended up getting invited into a Twitter chat. The thing with me is I wasn't super involved in the Twitter fandom, but I was observing. It was easy to follow along and hit like. I'm very good glad that I got, for whatever reason, pulled in anyway even though I wasn't super active.
All these people got tagged, got pulled in. I think this was the during the morning for me. By the time we got to that evening, we had a website pretty much ready to go. We had people working on promotional copy. A lot of fans translating that copy into multiple languages. That's how it all started. Everyone was already a little bit on edge because of the previous cancellation. Everyone had been thinking, "OK, maybe we should do something." It just happened one person was like, "All right, let's do something," and we all were kind of like, "Yes, we should." We just jumped in.
Was the website the first step? You had the Twitter group, but did you decide, "Hey, let's snatch up SaveDaredevil.com and at least we'll have a home base of sorts?"
Phyllis: Yes. I am actually a brand and website designer for my actual job. For me, I got pulled in and I was like, "We should get a website," because to me that just seemed like step one. Yeah, we lucked on the RenewDaredevil.com first. Later on, we decided to get SaveDaredevil.com. For me at least, I was like, let's do our best to get a site up to have people, just so people can see us as something that they could rally around. Then again, because of the timing when the show did get cancelled, we were able to pretty easily switch gears on that because we already had something up and ready to go.
You are also doing grassroots stuff and actually organizing in real life, which is also a whole new ball game especially when it comes to fandom and such. The Times Square thing, was that the first official in-person meetup?
Phyllis: We had technically been at ACE Comic Con before that, myself and another team member.
Van: Actually New York Comic Con, P.
Phyllis: Oh yes, OK. That was before the campaign actually started.
Van: Right, that was before the campaign.
Phyllis: Yeah. After the campaign started, myself and another team member, we decided we'd go to ACE Comic Con. Charlie Cox was there. We'd just go to hang out and meet him. While we were planning that, we were like, you know what, we have this campaign. Why don't we bring some stuff with us? Why don't we talk to Charlie about it? Even though it was not officially our first real life meetup for the campaign, that kind of set the ground work for, "Hey, you know what, it's really awesome talking to fans, connecting to them in person about the campaign." One of our other team members was like, "yYou know what? Why don't we do something, shoot like this? Let's go to New York. Go to New York. Meet at the Today Show. Bring some signs. Try to get on TV."
The original idea was really very simple. Just to be in the city, try to get on TV, try to meet other fans. We knew there were fans in the city. Maybe if we were lucky, maybe we could drop something off for Marvel. Maybe we could get a cast member to come to meet. We just were like, let's put that out there. Let's put the event out there and see what happens.
As it evolved, as we had people commit to come, we had been very lucky to have really gotten the attention of some of the cast who have been so supportive and encouraging of what we've been doing. We were in conversation with cast members like Royce Johnson and Geoff Cantor who were like, yes, you guys are going to be there. We want to be there too, which was really something we weren't expecting. They certainly didn't have to take time out of their busy lives to do that, but they did.
As that was happening, we had another fan who got in touch and was like, I want to get you guys something for the meet up. How about we get some ad space in Times Square? We know there were lots of interesting things going around in the news after it happened. Unfortunately, we're not millionaires or billionaires who spent millions of dollars to buy out Times Square, but a very generous fan went ahead and bought some of that space for us, and we decided to use it to our advantage.
Absolutely. That's a big deal. How long was it up?
Phyllis: It was five minutes.
That's still a huge deal. It's pretty clear that Netflix is done with the Defendersverse; where's it go from here? Are there any more meetups planned? You said you had met at ACE Comic Con. There are conventions all across the country. New York Comic Con is always a big one, and Netflix typically always shows at that.
Phyllis: Well, as far as meeting up in person, we do actually have a few things on the road map right now. We have a few team members that are going to be at Awesome Con, which is happening in D.C., I think the weekend of the 26th, 27th, 28th. We also have team members that are going to be in Wales Comicon, which is where Charlie Cox is going to be at again. We're hoping to get some meetups going at those places. We figured cons are a really great place to find other fans of either the Daredevil show or the Marvel Netflix shows. We figure at cons where there are going to be guests that are cast members on these shows, probably a high probability they will meet fans that have either heard of Daredevil or would be interested in what we're all about.
Then I know a bunch of us too are going to be at San Diego Comic-Con. We have some interesting ideas for that one. It's going to be a big one. It would be a good opportunity, I think, for us to make a little bit bigger of a splash, but we'll see.
You did mention Royce and Geoff had been involved. They were actually at the New York meetup. They are both pretty nice guys.
Phyllis: They are so nice. Everything that our team members told us about them, it completely matched up with what we were hoping. I think today Geoff is at Big Apple Comic Con, and he has some of our extra swag, and he's passing that out to fans that are going to be coming by his table. Again, these are gestures that we certainly didn't expect or ask for, but we're really moved as a fandom that they care that much to show us that additional support.
Charlie Cox knows about it. Vincent D'Onofrio's been heavily promoting it. Has Charlie been in contact with the fans or just through the convention Q&As?
Phyllis: Nothing official. It would be great if we had a direct line to everybody. Unfortunately, we don't, but we do know that he is very supportive. He has talked about us in interviews. He's talked about us at cons. We're hoping again, having our team out there in April at Wales is another opportunity for us to touch base with him again and give him some updates. We know Charlie's not on social media, so we can't say for sure how much he follows along. We know there are obviously a lot of people in the Marvel family that are probably aware of us and what we're doing. We're hoping all of the cool fun stuff that we're doing does get passed along to Charlie and other cast members.
Daredevil has probably one of the biggest fandoms post-cancellation of a show. If you had some advice for fans of cancelled shows, whether it be actually trying to form these movements or trying to get this cause started, what would it be?
Van: I have thoughts about this because the fandom, they need to work together. That's probably the main thing. People have a lot of strong opinions. They love their shows. Instead of starting off 100 petitions with 50 names on each. They really should just start to work together. That's probably the main thing. Keep things positive. That's a big factor in Save Daredevil. Mostly it's about communicating with each other. You find your friends. You form a group. You spread out, and you just keep going. I mean, that's the basis for all grassroots campaigns. It's got to start somewhere. There needs to be a face of course.
I think the website for Save Daredevil is probably the biggest focus factor for us. I don't know. I mean, I would push back. Get yourself a website. Work together. Stay positive. Have goals. Keep the focus.
Phyllis: Just to add on to that, I know that our campaign has been lucky to have people with a lot of different skill sets. I'm very glad I was able to bring my particular skills into this campaign. Not everyone is going to have that. In order to be taken as a legitimate cause nowadays, you do have to have some organization. You do have to plan. You do have to figure out a way to work together. Sometimes it takes that one person or that small group of people to be like, we're going to be the people that are going to step up and do that. Hopefully if we set a good example, if we stay a really welcome and inclusive environment, other fans will join and other fans will take up our cause too. That's really what happened with us.
We had a choice. I feel like when the show got cancelled there were lots of different ways that we could have done this. We decided that we're going to working at this. We're going to keep working together. We're going to be a positive space for this fight. We can't tell you how many fans have contacted us and just told us how much they've appreciated that. They've appreciated how positive and encouraging we've been this entire time. We know that not every fan is on board. That's totally fine.
If you're not on board, that's OK. In addition to all this stuff we're doing for the show though, to save it, we're also creating a community. We want to create a space where fans can come together and celebrate what we love about this show. Even if you're not on board with what we have as our talking points as far as wanting the show to be revived, come hang out with us and just talk about the show and what you love about it. That's what we're trying to do as well. That's one of those things I don't think we quite intended from all of this, to have this be its own community, but the way that it's developed, that's been a wonderful side effect of it all, that we've been able to connect fans. We've been able to fans meet each other and make friends. That's really what fandom is all about.
The ultimate goal for Save Daredevil is obviously to get Daredevil on another network. Is this just going to be a movement that keeps on pushing and keeps on pushing as long as the fire is burning? How long do you anticipate this going on?
Phyllis: You know what, we do have some time frames to work with. We know about the two years lock out on the characters. I think that news came out in early December. Once we had that we were like okay, we roughly know how long this campaign could go. We're sort of gearing up to be around for the long term. A lot of that means pacing ourselves. Not burning out too quickly. It means continually planning events and initiatives for our campaign. That's what we've been doing as a team for the past few months. We have stuff in the pipeline for the next at least two or three months. We hope we can continue sustaining that pace and will continue finding reasons to keep that fire going and keep pushing even harder.
The cool thing about our group in general, you bring up a very good point. This is a very unique cancellation. I want to say that we haven't seen circumstances like this before, which means even though there have been other save our shows campaigns, we can't quite take from their template, and we can't quite do the same things that they've done. All we can do is stay on top of all the industry news, all the rumors and just try to objectively suss out how that's going to affect our campaign and then plan accordingly. That's what we're going to keep on doing.
If someone wants to get involved, obviously there's a hashtag that they can use to communicate. If someone wants to actually get down and dirty, how do they get involved?
Phyllis: Just reach out to us. We're pretty much on every social media platform right now. If you don't use Twitter, you can find us on Facebook or Instagram or Tumblr or even on YouTube, so there's no excuse to not find us. Or email. You can always email us at SaveDaredevil.com but just send a DM, send a message, tag us in something and just ask what you can do. We are always looking for people with skills that can be used for the campaign. If you just want to keep talking about the show and keep hashtagging, that kind of visibility is what we really need as well. We like to say that there's really nothing too big or small that a fan can do. If all you want to do is just sign the petition and just have that be it, that is a contribution we eagerly welcome. If after that you're motivated to do a little bit more, we have steps on our website that walk you through how to do more or just reach out to us and I'm sure we'll find something for you to get involved with.
We're @SaveDaredevil platforms except for Twitter because someone took that handle a little bit before we did. Hopefully at one point we'll be able to get that back, but for now we're still @RenewDaredevil on Twitter. We are @SaveDaredevil everywhere else.
Van: We're not Disney or Marvel.
Phyllis: Yes. We're not Disney or Marvel. We're not a shadowy group of rich people who are really ... There have been some interesting rumors. We are just fans. We are literally just regular people with families and jobs. We just all happen to really love this show. We just hope that this encourages other fans of the show to revisit the show and remember what they loved so much about it and keep enjoying it. We hope it encourages fans of the show who are still disappointed about the cancellation and want to do something about that. Hopefully too, we can be a good model for other fandoms that might be running into the same issues that we've been dealing with for the past few months.
Van: Honestly, if there were other fandoms that had questions and stuff, they could always reach out and ask, "Look, what can we do?" We're willing to help and offer advice and explain what we've learned. We get it. We've been there. We are there.
All three seasons of Daredevil are now streaming on Netflix.3comments