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What Netflix canceling ‘Luke Cage,’ ‘Iron Fist’ means for Disney service

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iron fist luke cage netflix marvelNetflix

  • Netflix recently canceled two of its Marvel shows, “Luke
    Cage” and “Iron Fist.”
  • Since Netflix doesn’t release viewership numbers, we don’t
    know for sure if it was due to lack of interest.
  • But it’s also possible that it’s due to Disney’s upcoming
    streaming service, which is expected to launch next year — the
    same year that Disney is ending its contract with Netflix.
  • Disney has said it has no plans to move Marvel shows from
    Netflix, but as Disney prepares to enter the streaming wars,
    maybe it’s changed its mind.
  • Disney is also reportedly developing its own Marvel TV shows
    more closely connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

Netflix’s Marvel line-up has been abruptly trimmed.

“Iron Fist,” the most critically panned of the shows, was the
first casualty. Despite an improved second season this year,
Netflix canceled it earlier this month. More surprising was the
cancellation of “Luke Cage” that swiftly followed, a show that
received much better critical reception than “Iron Fist” in its
two seasons.

There could be a number of reasons for why Netflix decided to ax
the two shows. Since the streaming giant doesn’t release concrete
viewership numbers, we don’t know for sure whether it was due to
a lack of interest. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, “Luke
Cage” was canceled “due to creative differences and the
inability to agree to terms for a third season of the
show.”

But there’s another potential reason looming over the
cancellations.

Disney, which owns Marvel, is preparing to launch its own
Disney-branded Netflix competitor late next year,
and Disney is ending its contract with
Netflix
starting in 2019. The New York
Times
 reported in August that all films that Disney
releases to theaters will move to the Disney streaming platform
starting with March’s “Captain Marvel.” 

A Disney spokesperson told The Times that it had no plans
to move Netflix’s Marvel shows to the streaming service. But what
if its plans have changed?

The Disney service will already face complications at
launch, including the fact that it won’t have Disney’s full
library of content due to licensing agreements, such as classic “Star Wars”
movies
. In a report last week, Barclays analysts predicted this
to be a problem
for the streaming service, as it will have
to work through licensing agreements “in order to have
enough critical mass of content.”

If Disney’s streaming library will already be hindered, then it
may not want to give Netflix any more of its content than it has
to. That could lead to complicated negotiations for Netflix.

Disney is also reportedly developing Marvel shows for its
service
already that would spin-off of the Marvel Cinematic
Universe movies and star the likes of Loki, Scarlet Witch, and
more. Netflix canceling its Marvel shows would avoid confusion,
and competition, with Disney’s Marvel shows at the very least.

In the best case scenario for Disney, though, the Netflix shows
would be moved to the Disney streaming service and possibly be
integrated with its own shows. The Netflix Marvel shows are
already loosely connected to the MCU, and Disney may see an
opportunity to fill its content out even more.

At this point, we don’t know the fate of Netflix’s remaining
Marvel series.

“Daredevil” is attracting high praise in its recently released
third season. The second season of “Jessica Jones” was well
received this year, too. And “The Punisher” wrapped filming its
second season this summer. 

Those shows could be safe (for now), especially because they are
darker than usual MCU fare. But there’s also plenty of reason to
believe Disney could try and grab its Marvel shows back from
Netflix to bolster its own service.

Read more of Business Insider’s coverage of Disney’s upcoming
streaming service:

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