Marvel Television's Jeph Loeb has admitted the company was "blindsided" by Netflix's cancellations. The last year has been a tough one for Marvel Television, with their successful partnership with Netflix coming to an untimely end. It all began with the cancellation of Iron Fist in October, and one by one the streaming giant pulled the plug on all their Marvel shows.
The partnership had been a huge success, with no less than 13 seasons of Marvel action streaming exclusively on Netflix. But Netflix clearly felt it just wasn't quite working out; viewing figures were dropping across the entire range, and there were reports of creative differences as well. Netflix decided to part ways, with Netflix instead focusing on other comic book adaptations such as The Umbrella Academy.
In an interview with Deadline, Marvel Television boss Jeph Loeb has admitted this was something of a rough experience for everyone in the company.
"The hardest part was while the situation at Netflix, which I really can’t go into other than to say that we were blindsided and the things that were to come weren’t finished yet. We weren’t ready to announce that, so there was this space in between it, so it did look like maybe we were going to go out Then suddenly, we were arising again like the Phoenix."
Loeb's comments confirm previous reports that Marvel had no idea the cancellations were coming. The second seasons of both Luke Cage and Iron Fist ended on cliffhangers, leaving viewers convinced that Marvel Television had a long-term plan in the works again. Unfortunately, it's believed viewing figures for Iron Fist season 2 were disappointing, and Netflix cancelled the show. Marvel spent the next week attempting to save Luke Cage, submitting detailed drafts for the first half of the 10-episode projected third season. Netflix was unhappy with the direction, and reportedly demanded a complete change in the show's creative team. With the dispute seeming intractable, Netflix decided to pull that show as well. That seemed to be the beginning of the end for the relationship between Marvel Television and Netflix, with Daredevil, The Punisher and Jessica Jones falling like dominoes.
Loeb raises an interesting point when he notes that the cancellations came at quite a bad time for Marvel. The television studio did have a lot of projects in the works - particularly with Hulu, ranging from Howard the Duck to Ghost Rider - but none of them were ready to be announced yet. That meant Marvel had to take the reputational damage, well aware that some commentators would speculate they were in trouble. In reality, they now look busier than ever before, with a vast swathe of different shows in the works for Hulu, Disney+, and even another pitch being discussed with ABC. The last year has certainly been a tough one for Marvel Television, but they're now through the worst of it, and there's a sense in which they feel as though they're relaunching themselves for the next decade.