Marvel's Luke Cage is canceled by Netflix after two seasons. Back in 2013, Marvel TV and Netflix struck a deal to launch their own corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That officially kicked off in 2015 with season 1 of Daredevil. It was followed by the rest of the three standalone TV series as part of their initial deal: Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Following the debut seasons of these shows - and a sophomore outing for Daredevil - Marvel and Netflix brought the four heroes together for The Defenders miniseries. They also launched a spinoff show, The Punisher, in late 2017.
At the start, the Marvel Netflix series were critical hits, with the debut seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage receiving rave reviews. (It's unclear how well the shows did in terms of viewership because Netflix doesn't release that information publicly.) However, Iron Fist and The Defenders weren't quite as well received and The Punisher didn't gain nearly as much buzz as the other shows. Now, Netflix has axed its second Marvel TV show, with Iron Fist being canceled last week.
Related: Why Netflix Canceled Iron Fist
THR reports that Netflix has canceled Luke Cage after two seasons. The news arrives exactly one week after Iron Fist was canceled and on the same day that Daredevil season 3 premiered. It was previously reported that Luke Cage was expected to be renewed. Now, THR reports Luke Cage was canceled because of "creative differences and the inability to agree to terms for a third season." Officially, Marvel and Netflix released a joint statement on the cancelation:
Unfortunately, Marvel's Luke Cage will not return for a third season. Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is grateful to the dedicated showrunner, writers, cast and crew who brought Harlem's Hero to life for the past two seasons, and to all the fans who have supported the series.
While Iron Fist won over many viewers with its improved second season, Luke Cage season 2 managed to elevate a show that was already praised as one of Marvel's best TV shows. As such, it's more odd to see Luke Cage canceled - though, again, we don't have the viewership numbers for any of Netflix's Marvel shows to compare. That said, based on THR's report, it may not be a case of viewership or critical reception; it may simply come down to whether Netflix and Marvel could agree to a deal for an additional season.
After all, Marvel TV's parent company, Disney, is looking to launch their own streaming service in late 2019. And it was previously reported that Marvel will develop TV shows using some of their movie characters, like Loki and Scarlet Witch. If Disney wants to keep all new Marvel programming under their umbrella, they'll need to end their deal with Netflix - one show at a time, it appears. Of course, that's largely speculation, since Netflix insists they retain the power to cancel or renew the Marvel shows, not Disney. But it's worth pointing out their original deal concluded after The Defenders, and a deal for each additional season and show is up to both Netflix and Disney.
What this all ultimately means for the Netflix corner of the MCU is unclear at this time. But given the particular shows that have been canceled, fans are no doubt already calling for Daughters of the Dragon and/or Heroes for Hire spinoffs. Whether those are green lit - and whether they appear on Netflix or Disney's streaming service - remains to be seen.