In 2014, Marvel and Netflix announced a deal that would see some street-level Marvel superheroes appear on the streaming platform. Over the course of the next five years, Netflix released four standalone series that introduced Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The Defenders, a team-up series starring all four characters, was also released, along with two seasons of The Punisher.
Whilst most of the series’ were well received both by viewers and critics, in 2018 Netflix announced the cancellation of Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Daredevil was then cancelled shortly after the release of its third season. In February of 2019, the last of Netflix’s Marvel content was cancelled when Jessica Jones and The Punisher were axed.
At the time, the news of these cancellations was surprising. In hindsight, however, it could be that Netflix’s hand was forced with Disney and Marvel preferring to release all future MCU content on Disney+.
Followings the cancellations, it was reported that Marvel Studios would be unable to use any of the characters for a period of two years. Rights for Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil returned to Marvel last year. With the cancellation of Jessica Jones and The Punisher being announced on February 18th, 2019, that means that the rights for those characters have now also reverted to Marvel.
What Marvel has in store for these characters remains to be seen. Recent reports have suggested that Krysten Ritter may be set to reprise her role of Jessica Jones in She-Hulk. Jon Bernthal has also stated his desire to play Frank Castle again if he gets the call.
Both characters have played prominent roles in Marvel comics over the years, so it seems that it’s only a matter of time before they appear in the MCU again. The casting choices made by Netflix for both Jessica Jones and Frank Castle were both well received by audiences. Whilst a reboot isn’t out of the question, hopefully, Ritter and Bernthal can return in the future if needed.