I barely blinked when it was announced that Iron Fist wouldn’t be back to bore audiences worldwide for a third season of things that happen. Netflix sucker punched me when it axed Luke Cage, that show deserved a better ending. However, when Daredevil was chopped after a series best season, I just couldn’t work out what was going on at Netflix HQ.
Reports at the time suggested that viewership and social media buzz played prominent roles in the decision to axe Iron Fist & Luke Cage. As we all know, Netflix doesn’t release any real data regarding viewership. We might know that a particular show is the most requested, or recent comments from Netflix’s Ted Sandos that claimed The Christmas Chronicles (aka Kurt Russell Plays Santa) was watched by 20 million subscribers which Ted estimated would equal a $200 million opening weekend.
Overestimates aside, a new report via Entertainment Weekly states that Daredevil was the fourth most watch Original in recent months.
“According to the data, Narcos (presumably including the latest edition, Narcos: Mexico) was on top with 36 million “demand expressions,” followed by the recently launched Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (34 million) and then — rather surprisingly given it’s been a year since its last season — Stranger Things (31 million) and then Daredevil (30 million). Narcos: Mexico, by and by, just received a season 2 renewal.”
“Demand Expressions” isn’t the same as a guaranteed set of eyes watching, I’ve fallen asleep through an episode or two or the odd movie. Once, I woke up and for reasons unknown, an Adam Sandler Netflix ‘comedy’ was playing. Even if there are a few sleep watches, Daredevil is, sorry was, a big show for the streaming service, and the decision to axe it still seems unjustified from a popularity perspective.
Shortly after it was cancelled, Marvel released a statement that thanked the cast and crew, but also implied that we would see Daredevil again.
“Marvel is extremely grateful to the huge audience that loved Marvel’s Daredevil. From the moment of young Matt’s first act of heroism to the birth of Page, Murdock, & Nelson, it has been an unbelievable journey. We are incredibly proud of the amazing showrunners and writers starting with Drew Goddard and Steven DeKnight, Marco Ramirez and Doug Petrie and Erik Oleson, Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Vincent D’Onofrio and our casts who brought our characters to life with such excellence, and every one of the fantastic crews in NYC. We look forward to more adventures with the Man without Fear in the future.”
Some fans interpreted this statement as Marvel was planning on moving the show to its streaming service, Disney Plus. The fanbase is there, but it remains unclear if we will see Charlie Cox suit up again, or if the character will be reintroduced in a new project. I hope it’s the former; sadly I think it will be the latter. Disney has big plans for its streaming service, and the move to cut ties with Netflix was always going to happen. Much like the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney is aiming to have as much control over Marvel characters as possible, Feige wasn’t a big fan on the Netflix shows.
It isn’t a secret that Marvel wants to get Spider-Man back full-time, they might have struck a deal with Sony to share the character and co-produce the main Spider-Man franchise, but they want the web-slinger bad. I’m sure somewhere deep down, Kevin Feige was expecting Venom to fail miserably without his involvement. A box office flop would sure help get us into a better position to renegotiate further use of Spidey characters, Feige thought. We can all agree that Venom is a creative misfire, but $845 million and counting is pretty far from a box office flop. Spider-Man: Homecoming generated $880 million and cost almost double Venom’s production budget.
Beyond a possible third Spider-Man film, and Avengers 4, the future of the Sony/Marvel deal remains unclear. However, what is becoming crystal clear is that the Marvel/Netflix deal is at an end, Jessica Jones’ third season and The Punisher’s second will be the final shows to hit Netflix. Officially, no decision has been made, but it does seem like an inevitability at this stage.