Before there was a Disney+, when Disney and its subsidiary production arms like Marvel needed a platform for their series, they would either go to Disney’s cable channels (mainly for animation) or get on board a streaming service or two (for live-action). The most notable streaming collaboration in this vein was Marvel Television developing several MCU series based on street-level Marvel superheroes that were carried by streaming giant Netflix. This arrangement got us “Daredevil”, “The Punisher,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” and “The Defenders.” Said shows remained on Netflix even as Disney eventually consolidated Marvel media with the rest of Disney on Disney+. But even that may be changing.
The Verge tells us that the streaming rights to the Marvel-Netflix MCU series, that ran 2015 to 2019, will soon be reverting to Marvel, and its parent company Disney by extension. They will be removed from Netflix’s digital library effective March 1, and will gradually begin streaming on Disney+ by region. It appears the first area covered by Disney+ to get to watch the adventures of Daredevil and friends will be Canada, with their streaming premiere being on March 16.
Following the cancellation of all Marvel-Netflix productions by 2019 and the folding of Marvel Television into Marvel Studios, said shows fell into a sort of limbo. The lack of mention for the characters and events of said series in the main MCU gave the impression that the productions have fallen out of continuity. This situation only changed in late 2021, when Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: Far from Home” saw actor Charlie Cox reprise his role as Matt Murdock/Daredevil in a brief appearance. On Disney+ itself, the MCU miniseries “Hawkeye” heralded the return of “Daredevil” big bad Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, as portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio. These cameos promise possible further integration of the Netflix show plots into the MCU narrative this Phase 4.
Aside from Netflix, Marvel also developed some series with other streaming platforms. The next big digital venue of these pre-Disney+ Marvel series is Hulu, home to “Helstrom” and “Runaways,” both already cancelled. Finally, “Cloak & Dagger” streamed on Freeform (2018-19). All these series also featured Marvel characters beyond the primary stars such as Spider-Man, the Avengers or the X-Men.
There is no word yet on when these shows might be pulled and brought over to Disney+. This platform is also busy churning out more MCU-based series, in synergy with the cinema-released films. The next upcoming MCU series is “Moon Knight,” releasing on March 30; the latest MCU film will be “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” premiering May 6.
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