Confirming a rumor that had been circulating since Netflix canceled both its Iron Fist and Luke Cage series, the streaming service added Daredevil to the list of Marvel collaborations that won’t be getting another season, even as reports suggest it was one of the service’s most popular shows.
Netflix made the series’ end official in a statement to Deadline, but left the door open to future projects involving the character outside of the streaming service. The announcement came a little over a month after the third season of Daredevil premiered and the ax fell on Iron Fist and Luke Cage following both shows’ second seasons.
According to data research firm Parrot Analytics, Daredevil ranked fourth among all Netflix shows in popularity the weeks before and after it was canceled, ranking only behind Narcos, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and perennial favorite Stranger Things. Although Netflix doesn’t release any official viewership data, the numbers seem to confirm that the series’ popularity might not have played a significant role in the decision to cancel it.
“Marvel’s Daredevil will not return for a fourth season on Netflix,” said the company in a statement confirming the cancellation. “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 streaming service added, suggesting that this might not be the last we see of the protector of Hell’s Kitchen.
The fates of the third season of Jessica Jones and the second season of The Punisher are still unknown, but given that both seasons have already been filmed, it’s increasingly likely that the two shows — the only two remaining series in Marvel’s collaboration with Netflix — will also be canceled after those seasons premiere.
With the third season of Daredevil receiving some of the best reviews of all the Marvel series on Netflix so far, the announcement would seem to confirm the recent spate of cancellations doesn’t stem from a lack of critical acclaim. The report on the Daredevil cancellation indicates that there was some behind-the-scenes strife at play in the decision to end Daredevil, but the reason is more likely rooted in how much the direct-to-consumer streaming video environment has changed since Netflix and Marvel first announced their collaboration back in 2013.
These days, Netflix offers its subscribers a host of award-winning, wildly popular movie and television projects it retains full ownership of instead of sharing with Disney or other licensing or production partners. Disney, on the other hand, has its own Disney+ streaming service set to launch in 2019 with a slate of original Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, and Pixar content, among other properties. Where a collaboration to bring the Marvel brand to streaming audiences had been mutually beneficial just shy of six years ago, each company no longer has the same level of need for what the other offers.
There’s no official word at this point regarding when — if ever — Netflix will air the new seasons of Jessica Jones and The Punisher that have already been filmed.
Updated on December 7, 2018: Added viewership metrics on the popularity of the show.
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