Disney and Netflix have had a fractured relationship ever since the mouse people announced that they were ending Netflix’s sweet exclusivity deal to launch a streaming platform of their own, and the split has never been more obvious than with the gradual gutting of the once high-profile Marvel shows. Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil have all been unexpectedly canceled in the last few months, but there’s somehow even more bad news now for fans of Marvel’s street-level heroes—at least for anyone hoping that the Disney+ streaming service would swoop in and save The Defenders.
As reported by Variety, the original deal between Netflix and Marvel Studios that spawned Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage included a clause that specifically prevented the characters from “appearing in any non-Netflix series or film for at least two years after cancellation.” Considering that they all just got canceled this year (except Jessica Jones, which is almost certainly living on borrowed time), that means Disney+ wouldn’t be able to pick up these characters until 2020 at least. That’s assuming it has any intention of ever picking up these characters, which is no guarantee, the end of the show could be the end of any live-action Daredevil for the foreseeable future.
The original deal was also separate from Netflix’s deal for the Punisher series, which means it might be operating under different rules. Either way, that show hasn’t been canceled yet and is set to return for a second season next year, so there’s no need to worry about its future at this point. Also, both Netflix and Disney declined to give Variety a comment on this report, so it’s possible these deals could change or be modified in some way in the future, but don’t hold out hope for Disney+ to pull a Netflix (ironic!) and save these shows from cancellation.