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Netflix might not lose The Defenders universe to Disney's streaming service

Contributed by
Dec 6, 2017

A few months ago, Disney announced that it would be launching its own subscription streaming service in 2019, and then announced that said service would include all of the Marvel and Star Wars films the studio has produced, in addition to a vast archive and original new content. That was a bummer for many fans used to seeing those films pop up on Netflix, and meant that the already-crowded streaming market might force many consumers to buy yet another subscription.

One big question remained, though: What about the Netflix/Marvel original series?

Netflix has so far distributed six series with Marvel, including this year's Defenders and The Punisher, but now that Disney (which owns Marvel) is phasing Netflix out and moving into its own streaming territory, the future of those shows isn't really clear. Will they move to the Disney service? Will they stay with Netflix? Will it be some crazy hybrid of both?

According to Netflix head of content Ted Sarandos, it appears the streaming service will hang on to those particular properties.

"They've created some really killer brands," Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's not that exclusive ... Netflix has The Defenders."

That seems to be a pretty definitive statement that Marvel's band of street-level New York superheroes -- loosely connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- will remain at Netflix, at least for now. This suggests the two companies already have an agreement to share a stake in the properties, but Sarandos didn't specificy exactly why he seems so certain about this. At this point, we'll just have to wait and see. 

As for what the Disney service will do to the future of streaming -- a field already crowded with various contenders like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and more -- Sarandos admitted that nothing is certain at this point.

"It'll be an interesting couple of years," he said of the increasingly competitive streaming landscape. "What Disney going direct to consumer means, I don't really know, and I'm not positive that they do, either."

Adjust your streaming budget accordingly, because by 2019 both of these companies will likely be handing us some very exciting stuff.