As only Jessica Jones and The Punisher remain as links between Netflix and Marvel after the cancellation of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, industry experts are analyzing what exactly happened to cause the degradation of one of the highest-profile team-ups since Captain America started hanging out with Tony Stark.
As Daredevil had already planned out its fourth season, its cancellation was an unwelcome surprise for its creative team. But for the Netflix leaders? It was a long time coming, according to some experts in the field.
Former head of strategy at Amazon Studios Matthew L. Ball posted a long thread on Twitter explaining his take on the split between Netflix and Marvel, with one of the more conspicuous signs being that the streaming service reportedly aimed to shorten Marvel seasons by ordering fewer episodes:
This would reduce the bloated feeling of the shows — a ubiquitous complaint — that would also help reduce the huge amount of cash the company was spending to host someone else’s show. Since the latter is a rather big deal now that Netflix has an ever-increasing number of big names in house, it’s a priority to cut some of these expenses:
Netflix didn’t always have those creatives under contract, and they certainly didn’t always have the prestige associated with hosting Marvel superhero series, so going into that arena — even if it was a sizable (or even loss-leading) investment was understandable at the time.
But now, with Marvel shows’ audiences waning alongside Netflix’s need for them, cutting back on these shows (entirely since the episodic trim didn’t go through) just made financial sense. The characters will likely take a break from the world of on-screen media just long enough for fans to miss them, then have a glorious revival a la Spider-Man: Homecoming or hey, even The Hulk. But watch for the episode length of Disney+’s new shows and see how they differ from those at Netflix — it could hold a lot more weight than you might think.