Lower the flags in Hell’s Kitchen to half-mast. It’s the end of an era.
Ever since Disney+ canceled its suite of Defenders shows on Netflix, fans have feared the day when Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and their teamup effort The Defenders would be removed from the massive streaming service. Well, thanks to some eagle-eyed Netflix viewers, we now know that day is unfortunately nigh.
Per the “Renew Daredevil” Twitter account, streams of any of the Defenders series comes along with the watermarked message that “This show is available isn’t March 1st.”
Netflix doesn’t release the full fist of its new and expiring titles until mid-month, but The Digital Fix has confirmed that the text is accurate. Daredevil seasons 1 – 3, Jessica Jones seasons 1 – 3, Luke Cage seasons 1 – 2, Iron Fist seasons 1 – 2, and The Defenders will all be leaving Netflix come March 1, 2022.
When Disney first launched its in-house streaming service Disney+ in late 2019, it meant the end for a lot of Marvel continuities. Marvel previously had its characters spread over in a very loosely connected universe via several networks and streaming services like ABC, Hulu, Netflix, and more. Having access to a premier Netflix competitor allowed Disney to bring the Marvel Cinematic Universe to streaming television.
Shows like WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and the upcoming Moon Knight have all the pomp, circumstance, and budget of a major Marvel movie release. With the MCU in the fold, there was no reason for Marvel Studios to continue outsourced efforts like Agents of SHIELD, Runaways, or Helstrom.
The studio’s Netflix properties, however, are a bit different. Not only did they reach an enormous audience due to the ubiquity of Netflix but they were also quite good. If any secondary Marvel universe was worthy of joining the “big leagues” it would be this one. Thankfully Marvel studios appears to have agreed. The Defenders made their first proper MCU appearance when Matt Murdock a.k.a. Daredevil (Charlie Cox) briefly cameoed in Marvel/Sony megahit Spider-Man: No Way Home.
With that in mind, it seems quite likely that Marvel has no intention of letting The Defenders’ IP slowly wither away into oblivion. If Daredevil and friends are leaving Netflix, they’re likely going to find a home somewhere else. And there are two main candidates to serve as that home: Disney+ and Hulu.
Both streaming services are owned by Disney with the major media conglomerate usually bringing all of its franchise content (Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, etc.) to Disney+. That would seem to be the natural home for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist then. The one complicating factor, however, is that Disney+ was designed to be family friendly. Though The Defenders’ series aren’t necessarily R-rated, they are considerably bloodier and more profane than their MCU counterparts. That might now be an issue much longer though.
In reporting the company’s quarterly earnings on Feb. 9, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed that Disney+’s brand would be expanding to accommodate more general titles.
“The biggest opportunity though in terms of significance is with general entertainment being added to the service,“ Chapek said on the company’s earnings call. “There will be a trend of us taking more general entertainment and moving it over to Disney+.”
It’s always possible that The Defenders could continue the legacy of Marvel’s Runaways and find a home on Hulu, but it’s far more likely that the crew will join their MCU brethren on Disney+ in both the U.S. and the U.K.