The end isn’t near for Marvel Television and Netflix, but there is an expiration date coming in the foreseeable future. Disney is about to have more homegrown options for Marvel content, which means there is no need to provide content for a company that is now its director competitor. There will not be any new Marvel series for Netflix.
To be clear, all of the Marvel shows currently running on Netflix will stay there. Marvel Entertainment President Dan Buckley tells Bloomberg, “We obviously want the Marvel Television series currently on Netflix to have a long and lauded run.” Netflix and Marvel will continue making new seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher for as long as it suits their mutual interest.
What is likely ending, however, is any development of new series between Marvel and Netflix. Buckley adds that new series will head to “networks and platforms that are the best fit for that content, including the Disney-branded streaming service.” Buckley did not explicitly state that new series on Netflix are out of the question, but he the fact that he only mentioned current series in association with Netflix while mentioning Disney’s own service for new shows says it all.
I started speculating about this before the Disney-Fox deal became official last month and it’s not very difficult to look at the current media landscape and start reading the tea leaves. Next year, Disney will have its own streaming service and, once the Fox deal is approved, a majority share of Hulu. Disney will be using its assets, like Marvel, to generate content on the platforms in which the company has a vested interest.
Most people are not going to pay for every streaming service under the sun. They either can’t afford it, or simply won’t want to devote so much of their monthly budget to subscriptions. Disney knows people are going to have to choose.
Since Disney is about to compete for consumers’ streaming dollars, that makes Netflix a direct competitor. It won’t make sense for Disney to provide any new reasons for customers to stick with Netflix by adding additional Marvel series. Despite Buckley’s comments, I still won’t be surprised if Disney and Marvel decline any offers for additional seasons of Daredevil and friends once all current contractual obligations are satisfied.
We have been headed this direction for even longer than it may appear. Marvel Television and Netflix have not agreed to develop a new series together since The Punisher. The series may have just premiered last November, but the agreement to make the show came two years ago.
Since then, Marvel Television has found new success with Legion on FX, a network Disney is set to own, and Runaways on Hulu. Marvel also received a second season order for The Gifted on the Fox network, which Disney will not own. Marvel’s next new series, Cloak & Dagger, arrives on the Disney-owned Freeform network in June.
The “Phase 2” fans have envisioned for Marvel on Netflix, with series based on characters like Moon Knight and Blade, is unlikely to happen. Those characters can still get their own shows, but they will likely be on the platforms that make Disney more competitive in the streaming market, or at the very least, do not make Netflix an even stronger competitor.