New details about the Marvel Netflix TV shows reveal Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist can't be rebooted by Disney and Marvel Studios until 2020 at the earliest. In 2015, Netflix launched their own corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first season of Daredevil. The show was the first of five that were green lit as part of the deal between Marvel TV and Netflix. The original plan was for four standalone TV shows - Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist - then for the characters to unite in a team-up miniseries, The Defenders. Although each of the individual shows were then granted additional seasons, Netflix has recently canceled a number of their Marvel properties.
First, Netflix cancelled Iron Fist after it second season, which was arguably the weakest of the streamer's comic book shows. Then, more surprisingly, Luke Cage was cancelled after season 2 of the series just a week after Iron Fist was axed. More recently, Netflix cancelled Daredevil despite a more well received season 3. It also seemed to mark a major turning point for the future of Netflix's Marvel properties since it became clear the streaming company was willing to axe its flagship superhero series. Fans have held out hope that Netflix's Marvel shows could move to Disney+, the Mouse House's upcoming streaming service, even though that also seemed incredibly unlikely. Now, new details reveal it would actually go against the original deal Marvel TV made with Netflix.
Variety reports there is a clause in the deal between Netflix and Marvel that prevents the latter from including the characters in new TV shows or films for two years after cancellation. That means Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist cannot appear in a Disney-made production until 2020 at the earliest - and it would be very late into 2020. Further, this clause means that if Jessica Jones is cancelled after its third season premieres in 2019, the character wouldn't be eligible to appear in a non-Netflix production until 2021. The only exception to this clause may be The Punisher spinoff series, which wasn't included in the original deal. But it's unclear what the future holds for The Punisher after its season 2 premiere in January 2019.
What this means exactly for the Marvel Netflix characters is they're unlikely to return - at least, in the form fans know. While it's certainly possible for Marvel Studios to wait the allotted time, then bring Daredevil back into the MCU, it's unlikely to be the Matt Murdock played by Charlie Cox. The same goes for Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). It certainly confirms what was previously only speculated, that Disney and Marvel can't continue using these characters any time soon. And given how much time will pass before they can use the characters, it seems unlikely they'd want to bring them back anyway - especially with Disney+ already planning multiple TV shows about more well-known characters from the MCU like Loki and Scarlet Witch and Vision.
Further, it was always a long shot for Disney to pick up the Netflix shows as they were. The Netflix shows were produced under the Marvel TV banner, which is separate from Marvel Studios (and the two departments infamously don't work well together). Beyond the distance between the departments, the Marvel Netflix shows are decidedly mature and the Mouse House has stated its Disney+ content will be family-friendly.
Still, all that aside, this latest report seems to be the final nail in the coffin of these characters as we currently know them. If Marvel decides to use Daredevil, Luke Cage or Iron Fist again in live-action, they're likely to be rebooted versions of the characters and won't arrive until 2020 at the earliest. At least fans can rest assured knowing the seasons of these shows will remain on Netflix for re-watching.