+ Q: Stop panicking. It’s clearly moving to Disney+.
A: Let’s clear something up - the oft-cited factoid about Disney pulling its content off of Netflix in 2019 was for the movies, not television. This is worth mentioning because it’s something we’ve seen cited often as proof that the shows are going straight back to Disney. But this is just the public conflating two different agreements Disney had with Netflix.
More importantly, the [Disney move] will not affect the Marvel Netflix shows. The waters of the entertainment business can be muddy, and contracts hard to figure out for the average viewer, but rest assured that the Disney theatrical distribution deal and the Marvel Television development deal are two separate things. The original Disney distribution deal with Netflix, in a nutshell, simply gave Netflix exclusive streaming rights for all of Disney's theatrical releases, along with Disney-owned and produced television shows from its channels. [Source]
And as popular as the Disney+ theory is, the public has been given no firm indication by either Netflix or Marvel / Disney this is the plan at all. Reporting over the past year from mainstream press, industry publications, and insiders have in fact reflected the unlikelihood of such an occurrence, as everything has suggested Disney+ platform would stay family friendly.
Here’s how it will work. The OTT platform, whose price point wasn’t mentioned, will start with a domestic service only, and then expand overseas. There will be no R-rated films, and the programming will be consistent with the Disney brand. The R-rated stuff will go on Hulu. The plan now is to leave the various Marvel series where they are, which means Netflix will hang onto its superhero inventory. [Source]
More importantly is this nugget of information published on December 12, 2018, when Variety released an exclusive report stating the following:
Sources tell Variety that the deal for the original four Marvel shows includes a clause that prevents the characters from appearing in any non-Netflix series or film for at least two years after cancellation. That means that “Daredevil,” “Luke Cage,” and “Iron Fist” — which were all canceled this year at Netflix — could not come to the Disney streaming service until 2020 at the earliest.
+ Q: If it’s not moving to Disney+ right away, then why are we writing to Disney?
A: On December 18, 2018 The Hollywood Reporter posted an interview with Kevin Mayer, the chairman of Walt Disney direct-to-consumer and international divisions - in other words, the man who will be overseeing all of the Disney-owned streaming platforms, including Disney+ and Hulu. He had this to say about the Marvel Netflix shows:
Would you consider reviving the Marvel shows that Netflix canceled?
They are very high-quality shows. We haven't yet discussed that, but I would say that's a possibility.
This confirms there are no plans in the works to move anything to Disney+. However, with a high ranking Disney exec stating on the record that there’s a possibility, this reaffirms our need to continue communicating as a united fanbase that we want to see this happen with THIS cast and creative team, and we are willing to wait for it.
+ Q: I don’t believe in petitions. / We can’t do anything about it anyway. What’s the point?
A: We understand that everyone has their own opinion about this cancellation and what can realistically be done. And everyone is within their right to decide what course of action is best for them. But those of us behind this campaign would prefer to keep fighting for this show, and we know we’re not alone. Maybe participating in fan campaigns isn’t your thing, but if you enjoyed season 3 at all, we’d still invite you to sign the petition. It takes less than a minute to make a difference and now you're joining more than 180,000 fans who feel the same.
+ Q: Are the petition and SaveDaredevil.com the same thing?
A: No, but we are working together. The original SaveDaredevil.com began as a social media campaign + website on Monday, November 26 under the hashtag #RenewDaredevil. But before the initial campaign could fully launch, the show was cancelled and as a result, we pivoted the campaign into #SaveDaredevil. Separate from this, a petition was started by another passionate Daredevil fan, Joseph Garcia. When it was clear his petition was getting the most attention out of the rest of the fan-initiated petitions, we decided to reach out, partnering on promotion and petition updates that can help align the campaign and petition more closely together, allowing fans to easily find both. So if you have a question about the petition, reach out to him on Twitter; if you have a campaign question, you can reach out to us!
+ Q: Netflix cancelled the show because viewership was down, plain and simple.
A: While no one has exact access to the numbers besides Netflix, there has been reporting that Daredevil has been one of Netflix’s most popular originals since its premiere.
And here's a weekly assessment of top streaming shows on Netflix and other streaming platforms over the past couple of months - Daredevil has been sitting comfortably on that list since it launched its third season:
Week of 10/30
Week of 11/6
Week of 11/18
Week of 11/25
Week of 12/3
Week of 12/9
Week of 12/17
Week of 12/23
Week of 12/29
UPDATED - Week of 1/6
+ Q: Why are you blaming Netflix? Disney is behind this. They won't allow Netflix to make any more seasons.
A: Disney may be involved in production, but they are not allowed to call the shots on renewal or cancellation. As stated by Jeph Loeb to Entertainment Weekly in September 2018 in response to a question about an Iron Fist renewal:
Unlike the movie studio, which can announce a Captain Marvel movie will be out in 2019, the television studio will always be beholden to our networks, and so if our networks want another season of Iron Fist, we’re ready to go. We’re just waiting for the answer. The show’s been out of a week.
Netflix has also unequivocally come out in regards to their power to cancel these shows.
The news came from Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, who’s probably better equipped to discuss the future of the Netflix/Marvel universe than anyone else (besides maybe CEO Reed Hastings). Responding to a question about the future of those shows, Sarandos offered a reassuring, if blunt, response.
“Those shows are for us to cancel,” he said, “and we’re super happy with their performance so far.”
Furthermore, it's questionable what knowledge Disney could have had about some of their more popular television properties getting canned as it seems Marvel execs were as stunned as the producers when they heard the show had been canceled.
Had a last lunch yesterday with the Daredevil writers. Sushi provided by our Captain, @erikoleson. Marvel execs there too, just as stunned as we were. More than lunch, really: a wake. A show gets cancelled, all those characters we love die. Why I hate my job. Why I love it, too.— Sam Ernst (@havensam) December 1, 2018
A new interview on December 14, 2018 from Inverse with Amy Rutberg confirms much of the same:
“We had heard rumors we would start production as early as February 2019,” she says. “It’s a little unusual to be that far ahead in the planning and cancel the show, which makes me think Netflix was laboring over whether or not to cancel it. My guess was it was not an easy decision.”
When asked where she thought Season 4 might have been headed, Rutberg reveals that the cast and crew all assumed Daredevil would run for at least five seasons, giving the show a chance to explore a new villain before potentially returning to Kingpin for a final showdown. [Source]
+ Q: But Marvel already said Daredevil will be back in the future.
A: They are talking about the character of Daredevil, not necessarily the actor or the current show.
+ Q: Why haven't we heard from Marvel / Disney / Netflix, etc about our campaign yet?
A: Probably because there's nothing to hear...yet. This is an unusual cancellation that doesn't have an exact precedent. It's not a traditional cancellation like Lucifer or Brooklyn 99, where the production studio is allowed to shop the cancelled property around to new networks. Additionally, there are secretive and very sticky IP / rights / contract related issues between Disney / Marvel + Netflix, ones that we simply aren't privy to and won't ever be. On top of that Netflix still has two Marvel properties to launch and potentially cancel from their line up. All of this to say, to us, it doesn't make sense for Marvel to make any specific and public remarks until all of their properties have been released from Netflix. We empathize with fans who want to see some more immediate action from the companies involved - we are in the same boat - but this has always been a marathon, not a sprint. What we can do as a campaign is to keep the conversation loud and consistent, and keep applying positive pressure from our public campaign initiatives.
+ Q: Why are we writing to Hulu? They’re not international so I won’t be able to watch the show in my country.
A: We have been targeting Hulu as an option for this campaign because once the Disney - Fox merger is complete, Disney will own a majority stake in the platform, with the possibility of 100% control in the future:
Hulu began as a collaboration among media titans Disney, Comcast, Fox, and AT&T, which acquired its stake through the acquisition of Time Warner. Now Disney is preparing to acquire Fox, which would give it a 60% stake in the streaming service, and if both Comcast and AT&T sell their respective positions to Disney, giving it 100% control over Hulu, it could become a premiere movie-streaming powerhouse that challenges Netflix's preeminence. [Source]
Disney has also previously released information about Hulu being their target platform for rated-R content since Disney+ will be staying strictly PG-13. With this in mind, Hulu becomes a more attractive possibility as a future home for the current version of the show.
There will be no R-rated films [on Disney+], and the programming will be consistent with the Disney brand. The R-rated stuff will go on Hulu. The plan now is to leave the various Marvel series where they are… [Source]
We understand that non-U.S. fans may be hesitant about Hulu as a platform due to its lack of availability internationally. While it's true that Hulu, at this time, is U.S. only, Disney will likely be working to take the platform international in the next few years. As stated by Kevin Mayer in his Hollywood Reporter interview:
How does Hulu fit into your international plans?
We would like to have an international trilogy of services where it makes sense. We want a sports service like we have here; we want a general entertainment service, which would be Hulu, in different places around the world where we don't have that; and we want to have Disney around the world. An international rollout of Hulu would be something that we'd be very interested in, and we're talking to Hulu about that now.
As it currently stands, people in other countries may still have access to Hulu content through international licensing deals with other local streaming platforms and television networks. For example, two popular Hulu properties - The Handmaid’s Tale and Marvel’s Runaways - air on HBO Nordic in Sweden. Even if the international rollout of Hulu does not happen immediately, it’s possible it will have started by the time Disney is able to take action again on the fate of the show.
+ Q: I’m confused, what about the rights? I read a lot of stuff about that, and I don't get it.
A: In short, it’s complicated. But here’s what Forbes had to say on the topic back in August 2017:
The Marvel shows on Netflix are produced by Netflix, and so belong to Netflix as much as Marvel. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist aren't going anywhere, nor is the Punisher, whose own series is set to debut later this year. Until something changes, Netflix also is perfectly within its rights to keep partnering with Marvel Television to develop new shows. It's a necessary reality for Netflix: Just a few weeks after Netflix stock hit an all-time high, it was reported earlier this year that the company was over $20 billion in long-term debt and liabilities thanks to its focus on an original content blitz. [Source]
Netflix pays money to produce the Marvel shows, but they don't own the IP. Those shows have clear and consistent branding to Marvel Studios. [Source]
In other words, Marvel / Disney definitely own the IP, but Netflix always maintained massive rights over the handling and distribution of these particular shows. And in light of the messy divorce between Marvel and Netflix, contractual necessity may force the shows into limbo instead. Netflix get to keep the Defenders’ shows in their catalog for years, which may bar Marvel / Disney from simply starting up a new version of the show with the same IP.
3/ To point, the shows will remain NETFLIX ORIGINALS for years, Disney would have to buy them back (and says they don’t fit with Disney+’s positioning and won't be rebought) and there’s likely a hold on re-using the IP in TV (i.e. Disney can’t just launch a new Luke Cage in 2019)— Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew) December 3, 2018
That being said, we've gotten a better look at what the rights situation might actually look like in a couple of news articles since the above tweet: first, the report by Variety about the two year non-compete clause as well as Kevin Mayer's statement regarding the possibility of reviving the Netflix Marvel shows. There's still a lot we don't definitively know but it may be less cut and dry than previously imagined and hopefully include more room for negotiation.
+ Q: The season 3 finale felt like a series finale. We don’t need more seasons.
A: But still - the writers had a season 4 planned.
Man, so weird to be in the Daredevil writers room today, getting the news that we're cancelled. On the walls were an entire season 4 laid out - and it was so f*g cool. So many moments we wanted the fans to see... Sigh, this business.— Sam Ernst (@havensam) November 30, 2018
From a io9 interview with Daredevil writer Tamara Becher-Wilkinson: “When asked about what they were working on, and what fans are missing out on, Becher-Wilkinson wasn’t allowed to discuss any specifics “under penalty of death,” but she did reiterate what Ernst said: It would’ve blown fans away—much like the rest of Daredevil, a show she was proud to work on and whose legacy she hopes continues, even as the story has come to an end.”
+ Q: I heard Marvel Studios doesn’t want to work with Marvel Television. Is that true?
A: We can’t 100% verify this information, but industry insiders and critics have spoken about some sort of feud between the two divisions at Marvel.
I should clarify. The Marvel shows for Disney+ are being produced by Marvel movie execs, who do not like or get along with the Marvel TV execs who made Dardevil et al. Technically, they COULD make a Luke Cage show a few years down the line. They just don’t want to.— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) November 30, 2018
More questions and answers to come!