Kevin Mayer, head of Walt Disney's upcoming streaming service Disney+ confirms that Marvel's Netflix Original TV shows may come to Disney after all. The wave of cancellations started with Iron Fist, followed by Luke Cage a week later, and finally Daredevil, shortly after its third season premiered. The Punisher season 2 is set to premiere next month and season 3 of Jessica Jones is in post-production. However, it's unclear if either show will be renewed any further. Despite speculation that negotiation problems and culture clashes would prevent the Marvel series from moving to Disney, the leading actors behind the shows have expressed their strong disappointment over the cancellations, prompting hopes for renewals. However, as Netflix will reportedly retain the rights to the Marvel shows (with the exception of The Punisher) until at least 2020, it's unlikely that the series could re-emerge until 2021.
Mayer became the chairman of Walt Disney's direct-to-consumer and international offers this year, effectively putting him in charge of Disney+, ESPN+, and any Disney investment in Hulu, following the separations from Netflix. He was also involved in the entertainment giant's acquisition of Fox, which despite some recent push back from regulators in Mexico, is expected to close as planned in early 2019. Disney+ is already posed to offer impressive pick-and-pay selections, including Pixar, Marvel (movies), Star Wars, and National Geographic. But for Marvel fans casually considering cancelling their Netflix subscription, the revival of the cancelled Marvel shows might be what makes them jump ship.
Speaking to THR, Mayer gave due credit to the long-standing success the shows have achieved, and their value to Disney. When asked if Disney+ had considered reviving the series, Mayer said, "They are very high-quality shows. We haven't yet discussed that, but I would say that's a possibility."
For Disney, the acquisition of Fox assets likely means fortifying their line-up of valuable Marvel productions on the big screen; most notably Deadpool and X-Men. However, the development of WarnerMedia's streaming service leaves questions about what kind of competition DC's television series may eventually be met with from Marvel on the small screen.
Part of what Mayer seems to understand, and may yet act on, is that the Marvel shows in question have offered fans a level of quality and realism seldom seen before. The Arrowverse, by comparison, has a very devoted fan base, but the shows frequently verge on the campy side. As for shows' shelf life on Netflix, it remains to be seen if some potential for the continuity of the characters will be written into Jessica Jones season 3. On Instagram, Luke Cage actor Mike Colter excited fans with a cryptic comment on a Jessica Jones set photo, suggesting that he may appear in the third season, bringing Jessica and Luke back together in the finale. Considering the outpouring of petitions and fan support, it's hopeful that Disney isn't bluffing about taking the possibility of continuing the shows seriously.