Netflix has been moving away from Marvel with the recent cancellations ofIron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil. More cancellations are likely to follow after The Punisher and Jessica Jones premiere upcoming seasons that have already been filmed. This leaves fans wondering when they’ll see these characters again, but a new report suggests it will be some time.
Sources tell Variety that there is a stipulation in the original deal between Marvel and Netflix that prevents the former from using a character for two years after the latter has canceled that character’s series. That means the earliest Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil can appear in live-action Marvel projects is late 2020. Jessica Jones will be unavailable until 2021, at the earliest.
The Punisher was a spinoff from Daredevil and not part of the original deal between Marvel and Netflix. It is not known if the same two-year waiting period applies to that character.
This news is a major blow to any hope that these canceled series might be revived on a Disney-owned platform. The Disney+ streaming service might have been an option, but that is looking like Marvel Studios territory. Remember that Marvel Studios is run separately from the rest of Marvel Entertainment, including Marvel Television.
Marvel Television might have considered moving these series to Hulu or FX. Disney is picking up the latter and majority interest in the former via the Fox acquisition. If Variety‘s sources are correct, however, it will be very difficult for Marvel Television to exercise that option.
When a series is canceled, cast members are released from their contracts. They are free to make contractual commitments to other projects that may render them unavailable by the time Marvel is able to move forward with any of these characters again. It would take a lot of luck for the stars of all or even one of these series to be able to commit to Marvel two years from now.
This stipulation likely affects fans more than Marvel’s plans. Even without a contractual waiting period, Marvel was unlikely to revive any of these series or the specific iterations of the characters within them. Marvel will simply let these characters rest a bit before finding the best place to reboot them, likely with new actors, on the big screen or on Disney+.