Netflix Cancels Punisher and Jessica Jones, Leaving Door Open for Disney+

Weeks of suspicions about the fate of Netflix’s remaining Marvel series have now been proven correct, as the streaming service has cancelled Jessica Jones and The Punisher.

Marvel's The Punisher. Credit: Netflix

(Image credit: Marvel's The Punisher. Credit: Netflix)

This follows on from the cancellation of Daredevil after three seasons in November 2018, which in turn came after the cancellation of Iron Fist and Luke Cage in October 2018. While the latter two series were not well received, Daredevil was a well loved show, particularly its third season. This has lead viewers to suspect that there were other forces driving these cancellations,  such as the burden of licensing costs for the characters.

The good news for fans of these shows is that there is one last season coming to Netflix. The 13-episode third season of Jessica Jones has already been completed, and will be released during 2019. Sadly, the recent second season The Punisher will be the last we see of Frank Castle on Netflix.

Marvel's Jessica Jones. Credit: Netflix

(Image credit: Marvel's Jessica Jones. Credit: Netflix)

Fans are now looking to Marvel parent company Disney to help continue the stories of these characters. And there is reason to hope for revival, as there are apparently upcoming brand new Marvel projects coming to Disney+, the upcoming Disney streaming service. Additionally, the head of Disney+ has said that it’s a possibility that the company could bring back these shows.

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There are reasons for Disney to not revive these heroes, as there is some disconnect between the family-friendly image of Disney and the Netflix Marvel series, which were aimed more directly at adults, certainly when compared to the Marvel movies. Having the shows come back but significantly neutered to fit with the Disney brand’s values would be a Pyrrhic victory.

Marvel's The Defenders. Credit: Netflix

(Image credit: Marvel's The Defenders. Credit: Netflix)

However, there might be another way. Hulu recently announced its four upcoming Offenders series. These adult-aimed shows will feature some of Marvel’s protagonists less well known in public circles, like Howard the Duck and MODOK, which will culminate in a crossover between all the shows on the service.

If Hulu’s willing to spend more on Marvel licensing and if the Offenders performs well with viewers and critics, then perhaps it can become the home of the Defenders, too. It’s not afraid of mature content, so it could keep the sex and violence intact. And Disney could keep its clean image untarnished while still using the lucrative Marvel licences to their fullest potential.

Of course this is all hypothetical. And maybe you aren’t even sure the shows are worth the effort to resurrect after all, and would be happy for the Defenders series to stay cancelled. Either way, it’s a great shame to see good quality shows like The Punisher and Jessica Jones cancelled, not for poor performance but for business and financial reasons.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.