It’s the end of an era. Despite the fact that there haven’t been any new Marvel TV series on Netflix ever since the era of Defenders came to an abrupt end in 2018—because Disney was deep in preparations for its own streaming service, Disney+—those series, such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Punisher all remained readily available to stream on Netflix. That will finally and officially come to an end on March 1, as Netflix has confirmed that all of those series, and The Defenders as well, will be leaving the service permanently.
The “MCU on Netflix” era began back in 2015 with the premiere of Daredevil, which starred Charlie Cox as the blind, masked lawyer and crime fighter. Subsequent series all took place in New York City and captured the MCU from more of a “surface level” view in comparison with the likes of The Avengers. The series were notable for the way they mostly avoided any real plot entanglement with any MCU film entries, other than the occasional, casual reference to events such as The Battle of New York in the first Avengers film. Instead, series like Jessica Jones and Daredevil introduced their own characters and foes, and subsequently spun those series out into Luke Cake and Iron Fist, before all members then met up for The Defenders.
Critical consensus on these series started out strong, but soured fairly fast, especially once Iron Fist and The Defenders arrived. In the last few years, the series had subsequently faded from the cultural consciousness, but the removal now comes at an interesting time, when the characters of The Defenders are suddenly more relevant than they’ve been for a while. Charlie Cox, after all, just reprised the character of Daredevil for a brief bit in Spider-Man: No Way Home, while Vincent D’Onofrio’s villainous Kingpin returned in the Disney+ series Hawkeye. One has to wonder if this is building to something bigger; a return of these characters to the MCU forefront.
Unfortunately, it’s completely unclear when or where that would be. Disney has not made any announcement about making any of the former Netflix series available on Disney+, or possibly via Hulu. There could be a period coming up where Daredevil, Jessica Jones and others effectively seem to have been scrubbed from existence—blipped, if you will—which could last for an interminable period. Perhaps it will be dependent upon whether MCU fans demand to see these series again? Or perhaps they’ll simply fade away from the MCU, never to be officially mentioned again.
We’ll have to see, but it still feels strange to say goodbye to a handful of shows that were, in their moment, major cultural events.