Why Are All of Marvel’s Network TV Shows Getting Cancelled?

There was an obvious push by Marvel Studios in recent years to keep creating network and cable shows involving Marvel comic book superheroes. For a while, it looked like that would be a lucrative market until seeing many losing a sense of production quality, bringing disappointed viewers, and ultimate cancellations.

Things have really taken a turn in the last year with virtually every Marvel network or Netflix show getting the axe or about to. Only a couple of Marvel shows are still going, but maybe on borrowed time.

At stake here is the man who brought these shows to TV: Jeph Loeb. He’s headed Marvel Television for a number of years, yet is soon departing from that position.

Now everyone wonders whether Disney+ and Kevin Feige’s leadership will set a new agenda for 100% streaming shows over regular TV.

Disney+ could become the hub of everything Marvel AND ‘Star Wars’

Kevin Feige speaks onstage
Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Those who think Disney+ is still a bit limited in content now should fast-forward themselves a year from now when the platform will likely be leading the way. Enough great content already exists there to keep everyone streaming for the coming year. Eventually, though, it’s going to be filled with new and exciting Marvel shows as part of the MCU’s Phase Four.

The strategy behind this has obviously been set up by Marvel President Kevin Feige, who’s going to usurp all role for what happens with Marvel shows. All the shows Loeb helped bring to network TV are almost certain of being doomed with possibly no new series being seen in the regular TV universe again.

For some, this is disappointing since there were still many fans of shows like ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Cloak and Dagger on Freeform. These two shows are the only Marvel programs on network/cable TV still extant, despite S.H.I.E.L.D. wrapping in 2020. Cloak and Dagger was canceled this fall as well.

All Netflix Marvel shows are also done after everyone saw the cancellation purge earlier this year. The only exception now is Hulu where two Marvel shows are still going. These are Marvel’s Runaways and Marvel’s Helstrom, though it’s unknown how long they’ll go beyond the current season.

The budgets for Disney+ shows are movie-level

When looking at the logic of the budgets for Marvel shows, working through a limited network or cable budget just doesn’t add up after the high expectations of the MCU movies. A lot of fans could see the difference in the special effects and writing on shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. compared to the Avengers movies of the last few years.

These shows do connect to the MCU, however, offering some intrigue in who might have shown up. Obscure Marvel characters are still more of a creative risk when all the well-known Avengers characters draw the biggest audiences.

True Marvel fans find this a shame the sideline characters can’t find an audience. In the world of regular TV, maybe not, but Disney+ is clearly going to change everything about where people are going to consume Marvel content.

Over time, Disney+ may also be the central hub for most of Disney’s properties, making it so much more in the 2020s than it currently is.

New Marvel shows on Disney+ will set a new precedent

Unless regular TV networks or cable are willing to spring forth bigger budgets for Marvel shows, it’s looking obvious that every Marvel product other than the big-screen movies will be debuted on Disney+.

Star Wars movies may not be quite as plentiful on the big-screen either in the next decade, making Disney+ a very exciting place in the coming years.

In many ways, Disney+ is in a bit of a false start, because it’s going to look very different in another year or two. With all Marvel shows centering there, along with Star Wars originals, you can see what kind of history has just been made with the platform going live.

Call that a brilliant strategy to have such an innocuous debut to a point where everyone else becomes complacent to what Disney+ offers to Marvel fans over the next ten years.