Disney continues to consolidate its Marvel properties under its own umbrella. As was long suspected, the company is pulling its Marvel Defenders series from Netflix at the end of the month now that the rights to “Daredevil,” “Luke Cage,” “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist,” “The Punisher,” and “The Defenders” have reverted to Disney.
Netflix confirmed to IndieWire that the series will leave the platform at midnight local time February 28. The Defenders titles were licensed originals, and as the license for Netflix has ended, the rights are returning to Disney. Representatives at Disney had no comment. The news was first reported by Entertainment Weekly.
Fans began to suspect the move when Netflix recently attached a notification to the shows saying “this show is available until March 1st.” The shows will likely reemerge on Disney+ or possibly Hulu, but Disney has yet to announce any premiere dates for them.
Netflix began its collaboration with Marvel when “Daredevil” debuted on the streaming service in 2015. The series, which starred Charlie Cox as the blind superhero, was generally praised for redeeming the character after the much-maligned 2003 film starring Ben Affleck. Marvel quickly worked to expand the show’s Hell’s Kitchen world, with spinoffs “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” and “The Punisher” hitting Netflix in short order. The characters went on to team up for “The Defenders,” an Avengers-style miniseries that premiered on Netflix in 2017.
As streaming becomes increasingly important to Disney due to Disney+ and its acquisition of Hulu, the partnership between Marvel and Netflix was always destined to be short-lived. The success of Disney+ has been partially fueled by an influx of original Marvel series, including “WandaVision” and the upcoming “Moon Knight,” so it was always a matter of when, not if, Disney would pull the shows from Netflix.
While the Netflix series were limited in nature and have all concluded their runs, the characters may reemerge in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Charlie Cox has expressed his desire to continue playing Daredevil, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed that if the studio revives the character, it will only be with Cox in the role. As Marvel rebuilds its base of characters after many heroes saw their stories end with “Avengers: Endgame,” it may only be a matter of time before the Hell’s Kitchen heroes pop up on screens again.
Ryan Lattanzio contributed reporting.