Fans are still reeling from the cancellation announcements of Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil and they have staged various campaigns to save those shows. The current hopes are that another venue, particularly the upcoming Disney+ streaming service, will pick up one if not all of these shows. But word broke this week that Netflix has a clause in its contract that gives the streaming service exclusive rights to the shows for two years after they have ended or been cancelled. So even if Disney+ had an interest in continuing the shows–which is not guaranteed because these R-rated productions may not fit in with the family-friendly image that service will almost certainly adopt–it would be 2020 before a new season could hit the small screen. That is definitely deflating news for the fans that have put so much effort into trying to save the shows. But it may also be an indication that the campaigns need to change direction and consolidate efforts.
Currently there is an online petition to save Iron Fist (approaching 32K signatures as of this writing), and also an online petition to save Luke Cage (currently over 6K signatures). For Daredevil, fans are taking a multi-pronged approach that includes an online petition (currently over 22K signatures), tweet storms, and more (you can follow that campaign at this link). But perhaps combining efforts and trying to get a final season of The Defenders would be the better option for the short term.
With three of the original Defenders series already cancelled and the future of Jessica Jones in doubt, it would provide a much more satisfying resolution for these shows if all of these characters (and throw in The Punisher as well) could come together for a final storyline that would act as a proper send-off. It’s possible that Netflix could be persuaded to go that direction because that could cap-off the streaming service’s run of The Defenders and make it a more attractive package for the syndication market (the shows have already produced 94 episodes not including the upcoming seasons). This appeals straight to the bottom dollar because syndication sales usually prove quite profitable (and I am assuming that Netflix would get part of that money even though Disney is the ultimate owner of the shows).
This could also tide the fans over until the shows have the chance to make the jump to Disney+, assuming that streamer picks them up. I don’t know how exactly the contracts are written, but if Netflix’s two-year hold on the properties is show specific and not character specific, a second season of The Defenders could run in 2019 and then the following year Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage could start up new runs on the Disney streaming service (Jessica Jones would still be on the sidelines until 2021). Fans previously convinced Netflix to produce a finale for the cancelled Sense8, so it is possible that a concerted effort could deliver a second season of The Defenders and a chance for fans to see their favorite characters in action at least one more time.
A new petition that brings together fans of all three cancelled shows would be a good start. Continued tweet storms is also highly advised and staging online viewing parties could have a definite impact as well (fans agree to watch the same episode or episodes at a designated time and actively tweet while watching). All of these are efforts than can be measured and that show fan engagement. And even if this does not convince Netflix to produce another season of The Defenders, Disney will be watching and could start making plans to bring the shows over to its streaming service once Netflix’s lock on them expires.
Call to Action: Several more of the Fall 2018 sci fi and fantasy shows face an uncertain future and need a show of support from fans including Van Helsing, The Gifted, Midnight Texas, and Channel Zero. I have a full rundown of those shows at this link and you can vote for which Fall sci fi shows you want to return at this link.