The partnership between Marvel and Netflix is finally at an end, and the streaming giant has canceled Jessica Jones - in spite of the fact season 3 has yet to be released. Jessica Jones season 1 was met with popular and critical acclaim, with Krysten Ritter performing well as the star and David Tennant playing the villainous Kilgrave. Unfortunately, over the last few months it's become clear the Marvel/Netflix deal was winding down.
Netflix canceled one series after another, until only The Punisher and Jessica Jones were left; it seemed like only a matter of time before Netflix pulled the plug on these last two Marvel shows. And yet, Netflix still took viewers by surprise, announcing the cancellation of Jessica Jones before season 3 had even aired (they cancelled The Punisher as well). Netflix issued an official statement in which they expressed their gratitude to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, Ritter, and the entire cast and crew. Marvel TV responded to Netflix's cancellations with their own statement, thanking the fans for continuing to watch the Marvel Netflix shows since their launch back in 2015, and expressing hope that they could yet be brought back to life on another network or streaming service. But why did Netflix choose to cancel Jessica Jones before season 3 released?
The primary reason is undoubtedly the fact they were expensive shows, and there's evidence viewers were gradually going elsewhere. Although Netflix don't tend to publish viewing figures, third-party analytics shared with Screen Rant suggested Netflix's Marvel series have been losing viewers. In fact, the general decline in viewership was exactly what you'd typically see with a single long-running show, suggesting viewers were interacting with Marvel Netflix as a single discrete brand. For Jessica Jones, that fact will have been key; given there have been 12 previous Marvel seasons on Netflix so far, the streaming giant would be able to predict exactly how season 3 would perform. Jessica Jones was probably fortunate to get a third season at all, but Netflix only seems to have decided to bring an end to their deal with Marvel after they'd already commissioned it. Oddly enough, given Rosenberg already chose to quit after season 3, there had already been speculation that the series would've been discontinued after her departure anyway, but that just seems to have been fortuitous timing.
But it isn't just a matter of viewing figures. The reality is that Netflix no longer needs Marvel. Back in 2013, when they first entered into a partnership with Marvel Television, Netflix was still relatively new to the "original content" game and they needed known brands like Daredevil and The Defenders. Now, in 2019, the streaming giant is well known for its popular Netflix Originals, and the amount of content they release seems to increase every month. When Jessica Jones season 2 released in March 2018, it was one of three original series to hit the streaming service. When The Punisher season 2 released in January 2019, it was one of seven.
What's more, Netflix isn't short of superhero comic book adaptations either; they're working on an entire universe based on Mark Millar's Millarworld, and just recently they released The Umbrella Academy season 1. Given that's the case, the timing of these last two Marvel cancellations seems rather pointed, as though to remind everyone that Netflix has lots of great properties even without the Marvel shows. The last few months have been dominated by a constant drip-drip of cancellation news, and presumably Netflix simply decided it was time to end it. Rather than draw out the cancellation of Jessica Jones, they decided to let everybody know in advance that season 3 would be the last. While it's sad news for Marvel fans, the truth is that by this point the cancellation was inevitable; it was just a matter of timing.