Netflix’s decision to cancel Marvel’s Daredevil was a surprise. No one knew it was coming. Not the stars, not Marvel’s executives. Not even the writers, who were already laying out plans for the next chapter of Daredevil’s story. We got a chance to talk with one of the writers who was working on season four, who shared her shock at the show’s demise and why she think it spells doom for the future of The Defenders TV universe.
“If I was a betting woman, you know, my guess is that it’s the end of the Marvel universe on Netflix,” Daredevil writer Tamara Becher-Wilkinson said.
In an interview with io9, Becher-Wilkinson shared what it was like being in the room where it happened, as Netflix canceled Daredevil. Becher-Wilkinson, who wrote the season three episode “Karen,” had been brought on board for the next saga. The storyline for season four had already been drafted and pitched to Netflix, and the writers were waiting for the seemingly inevitable news that they would get renewed, despite recent cancelations of Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
Becher-Wilkinson was actually in the middle of creating a writing schedule for season four when the news came down.
“[Showrunner Erik Oleson] got a call asking him to go down to see the Marvel executives, and I jokingly went ‘Ooooooooh,’ like a third grader does when someone gets called to a principal’s office,” Becher-Wilkinson said. “Then, he waited for everybody to gather back in the writers’ room and he said, ‘Netflix has decided not to move forward with season four.’ And that’s all I remember, you know. I kind of missed the details because I was, like, so surprised.”
Before joining Daredevil, Becher-Wilkinson worked on the first season of Iron Fist, and said she wasn’t surprised when that series got canceled—due to the poor-to-mixed reception, even after the much-improved second season. But she said she was floored when Daredevil followed suit. Not only because it was a legacy show for Marvel on Netflix, since it kicked off that universe (and the characters were reportedly considered for addition into the film world), but because the series was so well received, by both critics and fans.
“The reviews were so overwhelmingly positive that I thought there was no way they would cancel it. I don’t know how well it does on Netflix or anything like that...[but] it was surprising to me they would cancel something that was so well received,” she said. “I thought it was too big to fail.”
Netflix hasn’t given an official reason why it’s canceled Daredevil, Iron Fist, or Luke Cage, but there is rising speculation that Netflix is slowly ending all of its Marvel shows because of Disney’s plans to launch its own streaming service called Disney+ next year. Not only will Disney and Marvel movies leave Netflix and head to Disney’s platform, the network will have its own Marvel Cinematic Universe shows centered around characters like Loki and the Scarlet Witch.
Co-executive producer Sam Ernst previously shared on Twitter that he regretted that fans wouldn’t be able to see what they had in store for season four unless the series or storyline was picked up somewhere else. 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.
“Everyone who’s ever worked on [Daredevil], they’ve built something really special. And the way [the Marvel/Netflix shows] interacted with each other, it was really cool and unique [and] that didn’t exist anywhere else on TV,” she said. “Sure, there are other superhero shows, but there weren’t other superhero shows like the shows that Marvel put onto Netflix. And it’s sad to think that all the episodes that exist now, that’s all there’s ever going to be.”
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