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Will Netflix Keep Making Marvel TV Shows?

Posted by Jamie on February 3, 2019

The cancelation of Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil were something of a surprise. All three shows seem to have performed well for comic book collaborations and seemed to have a long life ahead of them. Now it is only The Punisher and Jessica Jones that I know of that bear the Marvel name. So will Netflix keep making Marvel TV shows?

The answer seems to be yes and no depending on who you ask. Personally, I think it is the end. Once The Punisher and Jessica Jones have finished the season currently in production, that seems to be the end of the Netflix and Marvel tie-in. It neatly coincides with the arrival of Disney+ sometime around fall 2019.

Disney owns Marvel and Netflix licenses the name to produce the TV shows it does. I don’t see Netflix paying Disney, a soon-to-be competing streaming service to make TV shows for a brand that Disney owns. Add to that the fact that Disney will be making their own Marvel shows and you have a cross-pollination that no two competing services are going to want to offer.

Love this new Netflix-produced Marvel show? Disney+ has a bunch of others you can watch too! I don’t think so.

No clear picture

That said, many commentators think Netflix will continue to make Marvel shows because they are popular. A much used quote from Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said, “Those shows are for us to cancel and we’re super happy with their performance so far.” (Source).

That quote was back in October 2018 and things may have changed since then.

Another theory is that the old Marvel shows are being pushed aside for new. Rumors that a Daughter of the Dragon series or Heroes for Hire series is being planned could be why Luke Cage and Iron Fist were canned. I have seen no confirmation of this but it is a workable theory.

Reasons for Netflix to keep making Marvel TV shows

Netflix have shown themselves adept at taking the pulse of their users and delivering content that keeps that pulse high. Just because they canceled some Marvel shows, it doesn’t mean the time is up for the pairing. It still makes good sense to use Marvel stories for TV. There are lots and lots of them. They are characters that keep on giving and they resonate well with the American audience.

One reason why comic book characters are used so much in movies and TV right now is that most of the hard work has been done for the studio. We already know the characters. Many of the stories have already been written. They are almost procedural in that you place the hero and a bad guy in a situation and let them duke it out. They can go forever by just changing the scenario.

Reasons against Netflix to keep making Marvel TV shows

As mentioned above, Disney owns Marvel and is launching their own streaming service later in 2019. Netflix will be loathe to offer free advertising for their competitor by continuing to run Marvel shows. I don’t see Disney+ being anywhere near as popular as Netflix and probably not that popular at all outside the US, but Netflix isn’t going to want to give away customers.

Another reason Netflix may not want to keep making Marvel TV shows is international appeal. It’s only really the US that gets excited about comic books and superheroes. They sell movies internationally but don’t do anywhere near as well abroad as they do here. Netflix is a global company and has its eye on all of its audience, not just its North American customer base.

Finally, the increasing quantity and quality of Netflix Originals means there is less need to use the Marvel name to help build appeal. The quality of the content now being made by Netflix is many times better than those early shows and they are drawing in subscribers by the million.

The awesome Sense8 is just one example of where Netflix took an idea and let the showrunners do exactly that, run with it. What need has Netflix for Marvel?

So will Netflix keep making Marvel TV shows?

There is no definitive answer to this question yet but I think not. Given that Disney is taking back the Marvel movies in time for the launch of Disney+, the fact that licensed programs are expensive and that Netflix doesn’t need to keep making them even if we want them to, I think the time is up.

I may be wrong and there may be a Daughter of the Dragon or Heroes for Hire series on Netflix. I hope I am wrong but given how showbusiness is run for those within it rather than for the fans, I doubt I am. What do you think?

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