Netflix cancels ‘The Punisher’ and ‘Jessica Jones’

We all knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make this news any easier to hear. Netflix has officially pulled the plug on Marvel Television series The Punisher and Jessica Jones.

After a 5 year partnership that spanned 6 series, the ball started rolling towards the end with the announcement last summer that there wouldn’t be a second season of The Defenders. At the time it didn’t seem too surprising, as the first season had been rather disappointing all around, but then Iron First, Luke Cage, and Daredevil followed suit. The writing was clearly on the wall for The Punisher and Jessica Jones, with most assuming that their cancellations would come in the weeks after their new seasons dropped, with Netflix likely waiting in order not to discourage viewers to watch the new series. Now, after only a few weeks of The Punisher season 2 streaming on the service, both it and Jessica Jones have officially been canceled by Netflix.

In a conversation with Deadline, Netflix made this statement:

Marvel’s The Punisher will not return for a third season on Netflix. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot, the terrific crew, and exceptional cast including star Jon Bernthal, delivered an acclaimed and compelling series for fans, and we are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come.

In addition, in reviewing our Marvel programming, we have decided that the upcoming third season will also be the final season for Marvel’s Jessica Jones. We are grateful to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, star Krysten Ritter and the entire cast and crew, for three incredible seasons of this groundbreaking series, which was recognized by the Peabody Awards among many others.

We are grateful to Marvel for five years of our fruitful partnership and thank the passionate fans who have followed these series from the beginning.

In response to this statement, head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, posted this statement to the fans:

It had never been done before.

Four separate television series, each with different super-talented showrunners, writers, directors, cast and crew, coming out months apart and then…

…they would meet in a single event series all set in the heart of New York City.

We called them The Defenders.

And together we were thrilled by stories of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and even The Punisher joined in!

They said it couldn’t be done.

But Marvel assembled amazing teams to write, produce, direct, edit, and score 13 seasons and 161 one-hour episodes.

Take a moment and go online and look at the dazzling list of actors, writers, directors, and musicians who graced us with the very best of their craft.

We loved each and every minute of it.

And we did it all for you — the fans — who cheered for us around the world and made all the hard work worth it.

So, Thank You!

On behalf of everyone at Marvel Television, we couldn’t be more proud or more grateful to our audience.

Our Network partner may have decided they no longer want to continue telling the tales of these great characters… but you know Marvel better than that.

As Matthew Murdock’s Dad once said, “The measure of a man is not how he gets knocked to the mat, it’s how he gets back up.”

To be continued…!

– Jeph Loeb and all of us at Marvel Television

A cryptic statement that sure seems to give fans hope that Marvel Television will fight tooth and nail to find a way to bring the series back. The obvious successor would seem to be Disney+, the streaming service from Marvel’s parent company that is due to launch sometime in 2019. However, Marvel Studios (who are responsible for the films) and Marvel Television are known to have a volatile relationship, and with Marvel Studios developing their own series for Disney+ (Loki confirmed, and rumors about The Vision and Scarlet Witch, and a series centered around Bucky Barnes & Sam Wilson), it’s unlikely the Studio would want anyone mistaking the quality of Marvel Television (which has been a bit more hit & miss than Marvel Studios productions) for being made by the same people.

So where to next? Hulu most likely. The streaming service is already 33% owned by Disney, who is about to pick up another 33% with the Fox acquisition. Hulu already boasts its own series developed by Marvel Television, Runaways, has just announced 5 new animated series (M.O.D.O.K., Howard the Duck, Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler, and The Offenders), and its the home to streaming rights of Cloak & Dagger, The Gifted, Legion, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the sadly departed Agent Carter. At the TCAs last week, Hulu’s Senior Vice President of Originals addressed the already canceled Netflix Marvel series, and said intimated that the service would be happy to continue the lives of these series, while making no definite statement.

It’s unlikely any announcement would be made soon. Netflix have the rights to the content they’ve already aired for some time (it’s unclear what the contract states), and there’s likely to be some kind of waiting period before the series can officially be developed by another service. But from Loeb’s statement, it’s clear fans can have hope that Matt Murdoch, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Danny Rand, and Frank Castle may live to fight another day.