Netflix changed the name of The Defenders' official Facebook page to Netflix's own NX brand, leading many to believe a second season is no longer in the cards, but the supposed cancelation may not be as simple as it seems, considering it happened a day before news broke that several MCU TV spinoffs are in development. The upcoming offshoots will focus on characters that fans have already seen on the big screen such as Scarlet Witch and Loki with their original actors reprising their roles.
Assembling all of their main heroes for an 8-episode miniseries for the first time, Marvel TV's first big crossover event was generally well-received although it didn't add up to the sum of its parts and fell short of the hype. The show ended with the main heroes going their separate ways, and sadly, it doesn't look like fans will see them back together any time soon. Despite this, the heroes' individual shows will continue. Since the foursome's first cooperative mission last year, Netflix has released the second seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Meanwhile, the third season of Daredevil is just around the corner, and, while technically not part of the team, the second outing of The Punisher is also on the way.
One look at the comments section of the announcement video for The Defenders' Facebook page rebranding and it's clear that fans are not thrilled with Netflix's latest move. However, looking at the bigger picture, there might be other contributing factors to the cancellation of The Defenders aside from it not performing the way it did. Looking at the bigger picture, the move may also have something to do with the announcement of several MCU characters getting their own TV spinoffs that will be available on Disney's own streaming service that is expected to go live sometime next year.
When Disney announced their plans for a streaming platform, many wondered how it will affect Marvel TV's joint projects with Netflix. It was eventually revealed that while MCU films (and Disney films in general) will no longer be available on Netflix starting with Captain Marvel, their Netflix projects and all their spinoffs will remain on their original platform. While Disney insisted that their new venture isn't designed to kill their biggest competition, its impending arrival will inevitably change the landscape of the streaming industry and significantly impact Netflix, as well as other streaming services.
Despite the "it's all connected" tag, the thing of it is that there's barely anything that indicates that the Marvel TV/Netflix franchise is connected with the bigger MCU. At least ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a tangible link to the films with Phil Coulson, but The Defenders and the reality they exist in doesn't have that same connection, opting instead for winks and nods to the larger movie universe. With Disney expanding their Marvel brand with their own set spinoff shows, the Marvel TV/Netflix series has just become more insignificant.
However, following these rumors that The Defenders may have been canceled, Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb said there's still hope, and just because a second season is unlikely to roll out in the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean that there won't be another one at all. So perhaps Loeb and his team are just trying to figure out a way to continue the franchise in a way that's more suitable to what looks like their further separation from the MCU.
Despite their bleak future in the larger MCU, the Marvel TV/Netflix franchise can thrive on its own. It has built its own fan community since its inception and has been mostly separated from their movie counterpart anyway. Considering that there wasn't any concrete indication that the two pockets of the Marvel lore are connected other than subtle references from the small screen heroes, they can continue to function the same way they do, but just without any false hopes that they'll eventually crossover with the Avengers. The Fox/Marvel series did this for years, and while there are few questionable films in their roster, many enjoyed them for what they are, this could also be the same thing with Marvel TV/Netflix.