Things aren't looking too good for our Marvel heroes over on Netflix. Though the five shows seemingly managed to escape Thanos' snap, the streaming service gave them a surprising snap of its own. More than half of the Defenders are now dust in the wind, and they won't be able to mount a comeback anytime soon.
Netflix recently canceled Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, and while some have hope that these heroes (and Danny Rand) will be able to re-emerge on another platform (likely on Disney+, which will be the new streaming home of everything Marvel), this won't be possible anytime soon because of the initial deal struck with Netflix. Variety reports that a clause in that deal states that the characters in these shows are not allowed to appear on anything other than Netflix "for at least two years after cancellation." Unfortunately, this clause includes films.
This means that the earliest we can expect to see Matt Murdock, Danny, and Luke would be 2020. They wouldn't be able to fully get the band back together for another round of The Defenders then either, because Jessica Jones still remains uncancelled at Netflix. Whenever the talented Ms. Jones gets snapped (her third season is slated for 2019), it would then take at least two years until she's able to join the party — and what good is a Defenders party without Jessica?
Things are a little different with The Punisher — the second season of that show is due in January of 2019, but Variety reports that it was not a part of the original four-series deal. The fate of Frank Castle and his gun-happy ways past Season 2 is unknown.
The takeaway is this: if Disney+ wants to bring back some of these characters, they can't do it until at least 2020. Even if they changed things up and put Luke and Danny together for a Heroes for Hire show (or Colleen and Misty together for a Daughters of the Dragon show), they can't — the clause specifically states "characters," not the shows themselves. Disney+ can't just go and create Wilson Fisk: The Show, no matter how much we may want it.
Will things change when 2020 comes around? If Jessica Jones is the next show to get the snap, will things change for her in 2021? Even if the powers that be at Disney+ had the power to bring these characters back, would they still be played by Charlie Cox, Mike Colter, etc.? With so much having been set up over on Netflix, it would be weird if they weren't.
Until 2020, three Defenders (at least) will stay dusted. Disney+ subscribers will have to take solace in The Mandalorian and those other Marvel projects until Netflix decides whether or not they may be reassembled.