Over the past two months, we've watched as the universe of shows Marvel Television has built over at Netflix has crumbled, as one by one the series fall to cancellation. Those shows are in a complicated position right now with Disney's own streaming service on the horizon, but could Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage possibly return on Disney+? One executive certainly seems to think so.
Kevin Mayer is the chairman of Disney's Direct-to-Consumer and International division, and is credited as the guy who hunkered down with his team and made Disney's massive deal with Fox happen around this time last year. Mayer's influence over the future of Disney is such that he may even end up being the man to succeed Bob Iger when Disney's current head steps down in three years, but right now Mayer is focused on things like final approvals over the Fox deal, and the upcoming launch of Disney+.
The announcement of that streaming service — which will be a streaming home for original programming like The Mandalorian and Marvel's upcoming Loki series as well as theatrically released Disney films — sent ripples through the entertainment industry, and almost immediately began to impact the company's relationship with Netflix. Disney films have already started to vanish from that service in anticipation of Disney+'s launch next year, and then back in October the cancellations of the Marvel Netflix series started, first with Iron Fist and then with Luke Cage.
When Daredevil, a show still enjoying quite a bit of popularity on Netflix at the time, was canceled, the writing seemed to be on the wall for the future of Marvel's live-action shows at the streaming service. According to one of the show's stars, it was a Netflix decision and not a Disney one, but even if the House of Mouse wants to revive the characters in their current incarnations, they may have to wait until 2020 to do it. Still, with their own streaming service gearing up for launch and lots of room for big-budget original programming, would Disney consider reviving the Marvel Netflix universe on its own?
"They are very high-quality shows. We haven't yet discussed that, but I would say that's a possibility," Mayer told The Hollywood Reporter.
That's a very vague statement, one that seems designed to excite fans by keeping options open without committing to anything, but if you were looking for a ray of hope for the current incarnations of Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and friends, it seems we now have it.
It's still not entirely clear how soon Disney could make this happen even if it wanted to, but if it's the kind of thing that can turn a Netflix subscriber into a Disney+ subscriber and there's enough evidence of that, Mayer and company would be fools not to explore it.
Disney+ arrives next year.