'Daredevil' Canceled at Netflix as Marvel Roster Shrinks to Two

Netflix's Marvel roster continues to shrink.

The streaming giant has canceled Daredevil — the first of its Marvel shows to premiere on the platform — after three seasons. The drama starring Charlie Cox is the third Marvel series to be canceled at Netflix in recent weeks, joining Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Only Jessica Jones and The Punisher remain on Netflix as its Marvel relationship continues to sour. The move comes nearly two weeks after showrunner Erik Oleson pitched season four of Daredevil to Netflix and Marvel execs.

"Marvel’s Daredevil will not return for a fourth season on Netflix," Netflix said Thursday in a statement. "We are tremendously proud of the show’s last and final season and although it’s painful for the fans, we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note. We’re thankful to our partners at Marvel, showrunner Erik Oleson, the show’s writers, stellar crew and incredible cast including Charlie Cox as Daredevil himself, and we’re grateful to the fans who have supported the show over the years. While the series on Netflix has ended, the three existing seasons will remain on the service for years to come, while the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel."

The cancellation arrives as Marvel corporate parent Disney is launching its own Netflix rival, Disney+. That direct-to-consumer service will feature a roster of high-profile Marvel series, including one centered on Loki, the god of mischief, starring Tom Hiddleston. Disney previously announced plans to pull all of its Marvel feature films from Netflix and exclusively house them on Disney+. (Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy are currently streaming on Netflix — for now.) Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the remaining Marvel TV series on Netflix — Jessica Jones and Daredevil spinoff The Punisher — will remain on the streamer until they run their course, per the companies' original five-show deal (which included since canceled Luke Cage, Iron Fist and mashup miniseries The Defenders).

"Marvel is extremely grateful to the huge audience that loved Marvel's Daredevil. From the moment of young Matt’s first act of heroism to the birth of Page, Murdock and Nelson, it has been an unbelievable journey. We are incredibly proud of the amazing showrunners and writers starting with [exec producers] Drew Goddard and Steven DeKnight, Marco Ramirez and Doug Petrie and Erik Oleson, [stars] Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Vincent D'Onofrio and our casts who brought our characters to life with such excellence, and every one of the fantastic crews in NYC. We look forward to more adventures with the Man without Fear in the future," Marvel said in a statement Friday. 

It remains unclear if Marvel's statement means Cox's character will show up in season two of The Punisher — the Jon Bernthal starrer was a spinoff of Daredevil — or if the series could be revived on Disney Plus, though that seems unlikely. 
 
Showrunner Oleson also responded to the cancellation on Friday in a Twitter thread thanking the cast, crew and fans of Daredevil, though he did not address Marvel's cryptic statement.

Marvel and Netflix's relationship has been strained by the negotiations over Luke Cage. Scripts for a potential third season were all but done when Netflix and Marvel were unable to come to terms for the new season. Sources note that issues included the total episode count as Netflix wanted to reduce the standard run of 13 to 10 in a bid to tighten the creative. Additionally, nearly all the Marvel dramas on Netflix have had creative issues that resulted in a revolving door of showrunner changes on series including Daredevil, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones. (The latter, which will return for its third season in 2019, saw creator/showrunner Melissa Rosenberg depart for a lucrative overall deal with Warner Bros. TV.) 

The decision to cancel Daredevil arrives as Netflix has been looking for other properties to turn into lucrative franchises amid a larger push to own its content. (All the Marvel shows are owned by the comic book powerhouse as Netflix has to pay a licensing fee to Disney's ABC Studios.) The streamer's recent deals have included a massive pact for The Chronicles of Narnia, which it plans to turn into a film and TV universe, as well as pacts with comic creator Mark Millar for multiple TV shows and movies (and comics). Just this week, Netflix signed an eight-figure deal for rights to author Roald Dahl's properties with a larger goal of creating multiple animated TV series based on works including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.