Even a superpowered vigilante doesn’t stand a chance in a shifting landscape of universe-crushing media titans.

Netflix announced Monday it was canceling the last of its Marvel TV series, “The Punisher” (starring Jon Bernthal as the bent-on-justice Frank Castle) and the Peabody Award-winning “Jessica Jones” (the Krysten Ritter-starring detective show that has one season left to air).

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Taken a few weeks back at the table read for our SERIES FINALE. I love these people to the moon and back. It has been a dream to play Jessica alongside my amazing cast and the best crew in the business for these past 5 years. I am so grateful for every second of it. We have THE BEST fans. You guys mean the world to me and I appreciate you beyond words. The final season of #JessicaJones is coming later this year and I am proud of how we complete JJ’s journey. I can’t wait for you all to see it. Stay tuned and more to come. 💪🏻🖤 (Also my creator/ showrunner/ partner/ bff @melissa.rosenberg is totally wearing a #krystenknitter original ☺️☺️) @rachaelmaytaylor @ekadarville @carrieannemoss @netflix @marvelsjessicajones @marvel

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These shows are the final dominoes to fall in the epic Netflix-Marvel superhero partnership launched in 2013 with “Daredevil.” The Man Without Fear series, as well as “Iron Fist,” “Luke Cage” and the team-up “Defenders,” had previously been canceled.

Those six series, which found varying degrees of critical and social-media reception, are unfortunate victims of owner Disney’s determination to play the long financial game.


Netflix has become a “$152 million behemoth,” in the words of the Hollywood Reporter, since introducing streaming in 2007. So while it might have made sense for Disney/Marvel to join forces with Netflix in 2013, Disney and other media giants — like NBCU and WarnerMedia — are now determined to build up their own streaming services big enough to challenge Netflix.

As THR aptly framed it Tuesday: “Each conglomerate is now faced with the same multimillion-dollar question: Keep their scripted originals and library content for themselves or continue to license shows — like Jessica Jones (owned by Disney), The Office (Comcast) and Friends (Warner) — to friend-turned-rival Netflix.”

Disney, under chairman Bob Iger, is far too savvy in its empire-building to continue to license valuable content to Netflix.


Consider that within the past 13 years, Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion (2006); purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion (2009); landed Lucasfilm for $4 billion (2012); and is spending more than $70 billion to buy 21st Century Fox studios and other businesses.

Given such staggering libraries of content, a massive global footprint, mighty merchandising power and lucrative superhero, sci-fi and animated universes, Disney would be foolish not to go all-in with its own entertainment streaming service.

(For some context, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed nearly $18 billion worldwide over a decade; Disney’s four Star Wars releases have grossed nearly $5 billion since 2015; and five Disney Animation/Pixar films have topped $1 billion in global gross since 2013, not adjusting for inflation.)


Then there’s the fact that once the Fox deal closes, as THR notes, Disney will gain a majority ownership stake in Hulu.

So what does that mean for fans of Disney titles?

Well, it should mean the development announcements about forthcoming Disney+ offerings will start landing at a fast and furious rate.

It should mean a swath of Star Wars series will be launched, in addition to two announced series: “The Mandalorian” and a “Rogue One” prequel series.

It should mean more MCU spinoffs besides the three already announced series centered on Loki; the Winter Soldier and Falcon; and Vision and Scarlet Witch.

And after the Marvel/Netflix title characters are put on contractual ice for a while, Disney could eventually revive such superheroes as Daredevil and Luke Cage — returning them to a streaming service.

Except then, Disney will profit from all ends of the operation.

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