What Netflix’s Disappearing Defenders Mean for their MCU Debut

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There was a time when peace didn’t always exist within Marvel. Once promised as a connected universe, a divide grew between the movie studio and the television division. While the movie side continued shaping the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the television shows followed behind. They filled in the gaps but never felt truly connected, due to the drama existing within the House of Marvel. With Marvel’s television reabsorption by Marvel Studios and with the introduction of the Disney+ shows, it was only a matter of time until the Defenders returned to the MCU, and more recent evidence points to it happening sooner rather than later.

Disappearing Defenders

Last week, Netflix quietly announced the departure of the Marvel shows from their streaming service. Emblazoned across the top of the screen at the start of each episode was the message that the shows were only able to stream until March 1.

At first, this only appeared when watching an episode, now a message stating “Last Day to Watch on Netflix: February 28” is stamped firmly on each show’s preview page. This choice was one that many didn’t see coming, believing like me that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the Punisher’s previous adventures would remain on Netflix until the end of time.

So why are these mature Marvel offerings leaving Netflix? The exact reason is unknown, however, it could boil down to the leasing rights and the deal made with Netflix to produce them. When the shows were canceled a few years back, it seemed like there was bad blood between the studio and streaming service. It felt like retaliation towards Marvel for producing shows for the newly announced Disney streaming service, Disney+. Especially when you consider the fact that the Defender series was at the height of its popularity. So what does the departure of these Defenders mean for their future?

Things are Looking Bright

While a new home for these shows hasn’t been announced yet, their removal from Netflix seems like a good thing. Now that all projects are housed under a singular Marvel Studios, these characters will return to the screen, but this time fully integrated into the MCU (some of which we’ve already seen!).

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin have already ushered in the second age of the Defender’s characters in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye respectively. Both appearances are relatively small but indicate a larger picture being developed for our street-level characters. Joining the ranks of Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, and Echo, the Defenders will explore life as a hero for the neighborhood, and not just the world. Allowing for a closer intimate look at the MCU.

Rumors have spiraled for a while of other characters/actors returning from the Netflix shows, specifically Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones and Jon Bernthal as The Punisher. The rehoming of the shows means that we will probably see these characters return to our screens sooner rather than later. The gears in the clock are moving with new plans in motion. It is unclear where are how they will return, however it is inevitable before we see them pop up in a similar fashion to Cox and D’Onofrio before getting their own solo projects.

Regardless of when they appear, I’m excited to see the return of these characters and their powers as Marvel Studios enters a new phase of the MCU. But what do you think? Does the removal of these shows indicate a swift return of these characters to the big screen? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @mycosmiccircus!

Stream the Defenders series on Netflix until February 28.

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