The successful launch of The Umbrella Academy proves that Netflix doesn't need its Marvel TV shows anymore, explaining why Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, The Defenders and The Punisher were all cancelled.
The Umbrella Academy season 1 premiered on Netflix Friday, Feb. 15, less than a full month after the streamer rolled out The Punisher season 2. The former marks the beginning of what can be a successful property for Netflix, while the latter is the second to last season to hit the streaming service as part of its original deal with Marvel TV. It may initially seem like a coincidence that The Punisher and Jessica Jones were cancelled shortly after The Umbrella Academy premiered, but it's likely there's some connection between the two events. After all, The Umbrella Academy is Netflix's first original, live-action adaptation of comic book superheroes not based on a Marvel property. And, by all accounts, it seems to have had a successful launch.
The Umbrella Academy both proves that Netflix doesn't need its Marvel TV properties and effectively ushers in a post-Marvel era of superhero programming for the streaming service. Now, we break down what's going on with the Marvel Netflix TV shows and what The Umbrella Academy's success shows us about the future of Netflix Originals, especially as it pertains to comic book and superhero adaptations.
- This Page: Netflix Cancels Marvel Shows In Favor Of Other Superhero Programming
- Page 2: Umbrella Academy Isn't Marvel - And That's A Good Thing
Why Netflix Has Cancelled All Of Its Marvel TV Shows
When Netflix and Marvel TV struck a deal in 2013 for a total of five separate shows - four solo, one crossover event - the former was still trying to build up its originals library and brand, while the latter's Marvel Cinematic Universe was proving to be an immense success. Now a little more than five years later, both the MCU and Netflix are in very different places. The Defenders shows have gotten further and further removed from the larger MCU and, perhaps because of that, Netflix's Marvel series' viewership has reportedly declined. (Netflix doesn't release viewership data, but third-party data indicates as much.)
As a result, Netflix cancelled Iron Fist following its second season, then Luke Cage was cancelled, with news of Daredevil being cancelled arriving not too long after its third season premiered. These cancellations were capped off with the recent news of Netflix pulling the plug on The Punisher and Jessica Jones. As for The Defenders team-up, the show was never guaranteed a second season and Netflix chose not to move forward with season 2. As it currently stands, Netflix has cancelled all its Marvel TV properties. While The Punisher and The Defenders characters may be able to live on somewhere else, like Hulu, that remains to be seen. All we currently know is that Netflix is done making Marvel TV shows, but they aren't getting out of the superhero programming game entirely.
Netflix Has (A Lot Of) Other Superhero Shows Coming
The Umbrella Academy television series is just one of Netflix's many upcoming superhero properties. Netflix is also developing multiple Millarworld projects based on comics from Mark Millar's publishing imprint. Two Millarworld TV shows and three movies are in development at the time of this writing, thanks to Netflix acquiring Millarworld in 2017. The three films are adapting Empress, Huck and Sharkey the Bounty Hunter, while the TV shows will bring Jupiter's Legacy and American Jesus to life in live-action. If Netflix renews The Umbrella Academy for season 2 and beyond, Netflix is poised to have plenty of original superhero content without relying on Marvel TV.
And that's just Netflix's domestic originals. The company also has deals in place that add other superhero TV shows to its domestic and international libraries, with the added benefit of labelling some of them as Netflix originals in certain international markets. Netflix and The CW have a deal where the latter's shows - which include DC TV hits like The Flash and Arrow - arrive on the streamer just eight days after wrapping up their seasons. Outside of the United States, Netflix debuts new episodes of certain CW shows, like Riverdale and Black Lightning, week to week. Further, Netflix struck a deal with DC Universe to release Titans internationally, whereas it's only available on DC's own streaming service in the U.S.
All that's to say, Netflix has plenty of superhero content currently available in its streaming libraries all around the world and they have plenty more to come - even without new seasons of its Marvel TV shows. Plus, based on The Umbrella Academy, it's clear Netflix can create quality, compelling superhero dramas on its own.