The era of Marvel superheroes on Netflix is ending not with a bang, but with a whimper. Deadline is reporting that the streaming giant has officially ended Marvel’s Daredevil after its third season. Daredevil is the third Marvel Netflix series in recent months to get Thanos finger-snapped out of existence. Here’s what Deadline reports,
We are tremendously proud of the show’s last and final season and although it’s painful for the fans, we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note,” the company said in a statement. “We’re thankful to showrunner Erik Oleson, the show’s writers, stellar crew and incredible cast including Charlie Cox as Daredevil himself, and we’re grateful to the fans who have supported the show over the years.
There are two major takeaways here. The first is that even though Netflix won’t produce new Daredevil content, the program will remain in their content library. And the second is a quote from Netflix stating, “the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel.”
There is a lot to unpack with this disappointing announcement. In the digital age, it’s in a company’s best interest to let a series with middling ratings complete its run rather than give it the axe – especially after three seasons. Nowadays, programs aren’t only vying for their current audience; they will still be attracting viewers 5, 10, even 20 years from now.
Think of how programs like The Wire or Futurama struggled with ratings early on only to attract huge followings down the road. It’s a better investment to let a show with tens of millions in costs already sunk into it run its course. With a cast, sets, and production team already in place, wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch is a costly gamble.
And it’s stranger still, to cancel a show just six weeks after its triumphant return. Critics and fans agree that Daredevil’s third season is great. Why would Netflix want to piss all over the audience’s enthusiasm when they should be savouring the moment? And if ending the story was the plan all along, shouldn’t they want to attract viewers by promoting the series’ epic finale in advance? Apparently, Disney gives no f#<ks about closure.
The decisions to cancel Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and now Daredevil are Disney’s opening salvo in the streaming wars. Netflix made a name for itself licensing content from other studios. Netflix doesn’t own Moana or Black Panther; they’re essentially renting them from Disney. Now that Disney is preparing to launch its own streaming service, it’s not in their best interest to have Disney content on another company’s platform.
With more companies joining the streaming wars, expect the Netflix content library to thin out. A day will come when you won’t find Friends or The Office on Netflix. The threat of losing so much content is the reason why Netflix pumps billions of dollars into creating original programs like Stranger Things. The Netflix Marvel shows have been left to wither away and die so that Disney’s streaming service will be the go-to place for gritty superhero drama.