Marvel Cinematic Universe: Will the Netflix Heroes Live on in the Films?

It seemed like the perfect partnership at the time. Marvel and Netflix decided to create their own Avengers-style team-up inspired by the comics’ The Defenders title. Four heroes would headline their own shows and then collide in epic fashion. Of course, that all didn’t go exactly according to plan.

Creatively, fans and critics loved the boldness of series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. But by the time Iron Fist and The Defenders came along, the Marvel Netflix universe was on the verge of imploding. With Disney+ on the way, Marvel pulled away from Netflix, leading to the cancellation of all the companies’ superhero shows.

The cast of 'The Defenders' at the show's New York premiere
The cast of ‘The Defenders’ at the show’s New York premiere | Michael Stewart/Getty Images

The end of the Marvel Netflix universe

Fans may debate how the Marvel Netflix shows compared to the films. Some may praise the fearless violence and intricate storytelling. Others might feel like the shows are too dark, brooding and heavy for series based on comic book characters.

Love them or hate them, the Marvel Netflix shows provided a venue for characters who wouldn’t fit the family-friendly Marvel Cinematic Universe. These characters are generally more hard-edged and would have been severely sanded down to appear on the big screen. Moreover, the limited resources at Marvel Studios would likely have taken a long while to get to them, if they ever did.

As their connection to the MCU was tenuous at best, the Marvel Netflix shows were an easy place for Marvel to trim its content. But the cast and crew of those shows — and the fans — maintain that they’re worth saving. Without a home on Netflix though, no one knows when or if we’ll see these characters again soon.

New hope for Daredevil and Jessica Jones

According to MCU Cosmic, “someone very important” at Marvel Studios may be interested in bringing some of the Marvel Netflix characters into the MCU. Apparently, this individual is a big fan of the Marvel Netflix shows and is trying to find a way to bring them into the films. In particular, the report mentions Daredevil and Jessica Jones.

For now, Marvel Studios can’t touch any of the characters it brought to Netflix until two years after each respective show was canceled. So the earliest we might see the Marvel Netflix gang on the big screen is 2021. Since Marvel Studios has announced its full slate up to that point — and with Kevin Feige taking over all of Marvel — that certainly sounds doable.

Where could the Defenders fit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Judging by the above report, the Marvel Netflix heroes — namely, Daredevil and Jessica Jones — will not be rebooted in the MCU. Charlie Cox and Krysten Ritter could then potentially play them when the characters migrate over to the big screen. But where would they fit in?

One rumor is that Ritter’s Jessica Jones will be incorporated into the upcoming Captain Marvel 2. In the comics, those two characters have a long-standing friendship that would serve the story. Moreover, the tremendous box office haul of Captain Marvel makes its sequel a smart springboard for other heroes.

As for Daredevil, we have a couple of rumors swirling around right now. The first would play off of the ending of Spider-Man: Far from Home, which leaves Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in need of some legal representation. Who better than Matt Murdock (Cox) to come to his rescue?

The other Daredevil rumor seems less likely, all things considered. But it concerns the potential that Murdock would appear in the unannounced Black Widow 2. Although Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow hits next year, any prospective sequel would clear the contract restrictions for Marvel’s use of Daredevil.

Will we ever see Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist again? What about Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher? At this point, anything can happen, but fan efforts like #SaveDaredevil prove that Marvel would be wise to keep these characters (and their actors) in play somehow.