One big hint that Netflix’s years-old superhero shows may actually be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after all came in December when the billion-dollar grossing “Spider-Man: No Way Home” debuted.
Now you can stream Netflix’s former Marvel heroes on the same service where the Avengers reside. “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” “The Defenders” and “The Punisher” have officially left Netflix and arrived Wednesday on Disney Plus, along with ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Disney Plus becomes the one-stop shop for every Marvel show that ever mattered, which could mean something if you’re a comic book entertainment lover looking to cut back on streaming costs.
Does this mean Netflix’s former Marvel heroes are now officially MCU-certified? One Cox appearance in a Spider-Man movie doesn’t make a trend, and only Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige knows whether Daredevil and the Defenders will rise again, but getting your Mickey Mouse ears isn’t a bad start.
Here are the original Marvel series you can watch on Disney Plus, both old and new, and what to expect if you’re diving into these worlds for the first time.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-2020)
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was intended to bring the hype of the MCU to network television. Whether that actually happened given a noticeable lack of MCU stars from the movies is debatable, but it is a Marvel show at heart, with a few classic villains and the intense likability factor of Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson leading the way.
Matt Murdock (Cox) was blinded as a child in a freak accident that enhanced his remaining senses, allowing him to see without seeing thanks to enhanced radarlike abilities. By day he’s a lawyer, but at night he’s the vigilante Daredevil in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, hunting down anyone who would bring harm to his city. That fight puts him up against the Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), New York’s top mob boss, bringing to life one of comic book culture’s great rivalries. Netflix’s Marvel shows were known for their famous hallway fight scenes and the very first one in Season 1, Episode 2 of “Daredevil,” is an all-time Marvel moment.
Jessica Jones (2015-2019)
Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a has-been superhero turned private detective. She balances a relationship with Luke Cage (Mike Colter) with the fight for her life against Kilgrave (David Tennant), a villain whose mental powers make her superhuman strength practically useless. This may be Marvel’s most mature series, produced back when Netflix didn’t have to abide by the overall PG-13-ness of the MCU. Sex and swearing are staples of this series — so be on the lookout for updated ratings advisories.
Luke Cage (2016-2018)
A freak accident while in prison leaves Luke Cage (Colter) with bulletproof skin and super-strength, which comes in handy when he goes up against two of the most ruthless villains ever introduced in the live-action Marvel universe: Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and Black Mariah (Alfre Woodard). Before Anthony Mackie became Captain America and “Black Panther” set box office records, Colter’s Cage was the most prominent Black Marvel superhero in live action.
Iron Fist (2017-2018)
“Iron Fist” is perhaps Marvel’s least-heralded Netflix show. Finn Jones as a martial arts master coming home after the world thought he died as a child never felt quite like it should have. The show took leaps and bounds to keep Jones out of his very popular superhero suit from the comics, and he was at times outshined by the villains and a love interest who perhaps deserved to be the one true Iron Fist.
The Defenders (2017)
If you liked “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” (or even if you didn’t like “Iron Fist”) and want to see them team up in Avengers-like fashion, then “The Defenders” is the show for you. It’s the street-level, lower-stakes version of the MCU’s keep-it-all-connected formula of having its heroes frequently bump into each other on-screen.
The Punisher (2017-2019)
The Punisher has always been Marvel’s most violent character. By a lot. And this series, starring Jon Bernthal, lives up to that reputation. He plays Frank Castle, a man who loses his family to violence and goes on a deadly crusade against the various types of evil that took them away. After multiple failed attempts to get this character right in movies, Bernthal’s performance as the Punisher is definitive. If the character should ever be called on again, hopefully Feige has Bernthal’s cell number handy.
No Disney Plus/Marvel series has been as much of a meme factory as “WandaVision.” The series features the Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), two Avengers who go from supporting roles in the fight against Thanos to being the superheroes at the center of a mystery. The supposed-to-be-dead Vision is somehow alive, and stuck in a magical reality that’s created by Wanda’s powers and inspired by various historic types of television shows. Behind the wholesome family entertainment facade is the dark secret of how Wanda’s made-for-TV world came to be. Is Wanda the true villain of this story? Or does that distinction go to the scene-stealing Agnes (Kathryn Hahn)?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
The mantle of Captain America is up for grabs. Cap’s handpicked successor, the Falcon/Sam Wilson (Mackie), doesn’t feel he’s up to the task. The government agrees and assigns a rogue-when-he-needs-to-be soldier, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), as the Captain America for a new generation. It becomes apparent quickly that the shield is in the wrong hands, and Bucky/the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) must convince Sam that he is the true successor to Captain America, while fighting by his side in the most “Lethal Weapon” way possible. This series doesn’t handle matters of race as deeply as the Marvel “Truth: Red, White and Black” comic books it’s based on, which introduced the world to the first true Captain America, a Black man named Isaiah Bradley. But Carl Lumbly’s emotional performance as Bradley and Mackie eventually becoming Marvel’s first live-action Black Captain America still make for a momentous occasion.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the original big bad guy of the MCU and pesky adoptive brother of the Mighty Thor, died at the hands of Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” but then was able to return to life by virtue of a time-travel glitch in “Avengers: Endgame.” Someone not dying when they were supposed to alerts the TVA (Time Variance Authority), an organization charged with maintaining the purity of all timelines throughout the universe. There are so many alternate-universe Lokis running around causing havoc through time that the TVA decides the original Loki would serve them well as an agent to get inside the minds of the variants and help hunt them down.
What If … ? (2021)
The first animated series from Marvel Studios takes its heroes and places them in alternate-reality scenarios. What if Steve Rogers never became Captain America, but the love of his life, Peggy Carter, became a super soldier for Britain? What if Thor partied way too much? What if the Black Panther never became the king of Wakanda but instead traveled the stars with the Guardians of the Galaxy? With Marvel movies now dealing with the idea of a multiverse (something also explored in “Loki”), it’s possible we could see some of these animated alternate realities in live-action. The evil and heartless Doctor Strange from Episode 4 just might show up in the live-action sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” arriving in theaters this May.
Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), the Avenger with no superpowers, gets a series focusing on his regular life as he grieves the loss of his best friend and partner, the Black Widow. But a New York holiday vacation with his three children turns into a top-secret mission when Hawkeye’s past as a vigilante catches up with him. He’s also forced to take on a sidekick, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), who worships the ground he walks on and just might be a better archer, not to mention a future Young Avenger. Hawkeye’s quiver full of trick arrows live up to the hype in this series — even more so than when he appeared in Avengers movies.