In the biggest non-surprise story of the year so far, Netflix has decided to terminate their four-year collaboration with Marvel. They have now cancelled The Punisher just after the release of its second season and Jessica Jones ahead of the launch of its third. This follows the cancellation of Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Daredevil last year.
Marvel pinned the blame on Netflix, saying the streaming service had the final say on whether to renew the show or not. Netflix in turn have blamed Marvel for trying to change their contractual agreement (most notably by reducing their seasons from 13 to 10 episodes, as every single viewer urgently wanted). However, it's hard not to see the real reason here: in autumn this year Marvel's parent company will be launching the Disney+ streaming service with a number of new shows, including mini-series focusing on MCU characters Scarlet Witch, Vision, Loki, Winter Soldier and Falcon, not to mention multiple Star Wars shows and Disney's immense back catalogue of TV series and films. Netflix decided it was not worthwhile to effectively be promoting a rival service's characters for them.
Marvel's statement is interesting, however, confirming that they will be exploring these characters again in the future. Whether that is directly continuing these shows with the same casts - which they can do after a two-year break - or some kind of full reboot is unclear.
Counting the still-to-air Jessica Jones Season 3, the Marvel/Netflix collaboration has chalked up 13 seasons and 161 episodes in less than four years, which is quite impressive. Some of the seasons were exceptional (in particular the first season apiece of Daredevil and Jessica Jones), although others were not, and the big team-up in The Defenders fell a little flat. Given the sheer speed at which the shows were producing episodes, which saw some fans fall off the bandwagon, and the increasing variance in quality, the cancellation of the shows is perhaps not entirely the disaster it would have been a couple of years back. Still, Daredevil had gotten his mojo back in the third season and Iron Fist's second season was a great improvement over the first, so there are some regrets about seeing where these stories woudl have gone.
The final season of Jessica Jones and the Marvel/Netflix universe is expected to be released in the next couple of months.