A week after the cancellation of Iron Fist, Netflix ‘Thanos snapped’ another one of their Marvel TV properties, Luke Cage.
“Unfortunately, Marvel’s Luke Cage will not return for a third season,” Marvel and Netflix have stated. “Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is grateful to the dedicated showrunner, writers, cast and crew who brought Harlem’s hero to life for the past two seasons, and to all the fans who supported the series.”
I don’t think any of us were too surprised to hear about the cancellation of Iron Fist. Especially with how much critics disliked the show for poor writing, mediocre story and overall issues with the casting. Personally, I thought Finn Jones was a great pick for the role but the writing style was a bit stale and the overall depiction of Danny Rand as impulsive, hot headed and a childish trust fund kid really irked me. The Danny Rand I know from the comics is usually cool, collected and spiritual. He’s exactly what you would expect from the Protector of K’un-Lun.
The cancellation of Luke Cage, however, was an unpleasant surprise for most fans. I’m just wrapping up the second season with a review in the works and was looking forward to a third. I guess that’s no longer on the table now.
Sources at the Hollywood Reporter state that the reasons for the cancellations are largely due to creative differences for the direction of the third season. That leaves us to some speculation, as they don’t really indicate where the hangup was on the creative process. Netflix doesn’t release their viewership statistics, but from the overall outrage the Internet has generated, I think it’s safe to say that ratings weren’t the issue with the decision behind Luke Cage’s cancellation.
So, what’s in store for the future of Marvel and Netflix?
One theory from fans believes it might be a power play by Disney to regain control of the TV rights to these properties. Disney is planning on launching their own streaming service by the end of 2019, so they may be trying to take back control of whatever they can in order to develop future content for their own service. Then again, both Luke Cage and Iron Fist are filled with sex and violence, so it’s possible that Disney wouldn’t be interested in these properties unless they water it down to a PG-13 version.
The second theory seems more plausible at this time, and that is the cancellations were necessary to open the door for a “Heroes for Hire” series. For those of you unfamiliar with Heroes for Hire, the comic series follows Luke Cage (referred to as Power Man in the series) and his exploration to merge the pro-bono world of being a hero with private investigations. We saw this idea heavily teased throughout the end of season two where many of the big baddies begged Luke Cage to protect them for cash when Bushmaster came knocking for trouble. We also saw a cameo from Iron Fist for a few episodes, where he even goes out of his way to comment on how they “Make a great team” after teaming up to fight some baddies in Bushmaster’s old warehouse.
The only thing that seems to counter the second theory, is the fact that Disney’s streaming service is right around the corner. It’s very possible that they could be looking to axe the properties through Netflix altogether, or they could be looking to gain back the rights to further develop the series for their own use.
What’s in store for the rest of the Defenders?
We’re all concerned about the livelihood of shows like The Punisher, Jessica Jones and Daredevil. As far as we know, Punisher and Jones are safe… for now. They are also slated for another season sometime in 2019. Daredevil just released its third season on October 19th, but there is no word on what the future holds for the “Man without Fear”.
I really hope that this is just some weird power move by Disney in order to move it to their personal streaming service in the future. I’d be a bit sad to see the Hero of Harlem go. Especially when I was excited to see more team ups with Iron Fist in the future.