On the heels of last month’s surprising cancellation for Netflix’s Daredevil, new reports from the cast suggest they had been expecting season 4 of the series to begin filming in February 2019. Daredevil is the third live-action Marvel series to be officially cancelled by the streaming giant in recent months, following in the footsteps of Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
Launched in 2015, Daredevil was an instant hit for Netflix. Over the course of three seasons, the series quickly became one of the streaming service’s more popular shows and garnered critical acclaim - all but erasing the memories of 2003’s widely panned film adaptation featuring Ben Affleck. Starring Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock by day and the titular blind hero by night, the series’ gritty take on the typical comic book story helped set it apart and laid the groundwork for future Marvel shows on Netflix. In addition to Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, Netflix also created Jessica Jones, The Punisher, and the vigilante team-up The Defenders.
In a recent interview with Inverse, actress Amy Rutberg, who plays Marci Stahl in both Daredevil and The Defenders, talks about how news of the cancellation shocked the cast and crew and shared that they had been expecting to begin filming early next year. She also goes on to express that she believes the decision was Netflix’s and not Marvel’s:
We had heard rumors we would start production as early as February 2019. It’s a little unusual to be that far ahead in the planning and cancel the show, which makes me think Netflix was laboring over whether or not to cancel it. My guess was it was not an easy decision… My contacts at Marvel were very surprised. Any of the rumors that it was a Marvel decision are wrong, I think it was purely a Netflix decision. That comes from personal conversations with people high up at Marvel.
Rutberg’s sentiments have been shared by other cast and crew members in recent weeks, including Cox and co-executive producer Sam Ernst. Cox expressed sadness in part because he felt they had many more stories to tell, which was echoed by Ernst on Twitter in a series of posts that said, “On the walls were an entire season 4 laid out - and it was so f***g cool. So many moments we wanted the fans to see…” Rutberg, for her part, believes they could have successfully wrapped up Daredevil in five seasons, potentially using season 4 to explore a new villain or adversary before returning to Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin for a final season 5 showdown.
Marvel fans have campaigned Netflix on social media to renew Daredevil for season 4, but assuming it’s unsuccessful there’s a good chance we don’t see any of the characters for a while. There had been some speculation that Marvel’s parent company Disney wanted to move the properties over to their new streaming service, but reports indicate that the Marvel Netflix’s character rights would stop any Disney reboot before 2020. Fans of Jessica Jones and The Punisher should cross their fingers that those series don’t suffer the same fate.