When the announcement came yesterday that The Punisher had been canceled along with Jessica Jones, many were upset but few were surprised. After all, this is a Marvel/Netflix show we’re talking about here, and after Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil all got the ax last year, the writing was very much on the wall for Frank Castle’s series.
Nonetheless, with both Marvel and Netflix remaining tight-lipped on the reasons for all these shows being dropped, it’s worth speculating on just why The Punisher is stopping at two seasons, especially when the series wasn’t part of the original deal made for the various Defenders properties. And in a new piece from Screen Rant, a few answers are suggested.
For one thing, it’s observed that The Punisher was likely facing the same problem as its platform peers, in that its viewing figures weren’t enough to justify its expensive production costs. Though Netflix tends to keep the details of each show’s performance under wraps, third-party analytics suggest that while the numbers for Steve Lightfoot’s series were declining at a slower rate than those of other Marvel/Netflix shows, demand was surprisingly low for The Punisher through 2018 and into January.
On top of that, there’s the fact that Netflix seemingly doesn’t need Marvel as much as they used to. When the platform first signed their deal with Marvel Television back in 2013, shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones were high-profile works that helped the service to stand out. More recently, however, Netflix has become an influential brand in its own right, and is able to generate hype around shows that aren’t based on familiar franchises. With that in mind, it sounds like the Marvel properties simply aren’t worth the effort and expense anymore.
But regardless of how we got here, fans are evidently none too pleased to see The Punisher and the Defenders shows drop from the platform, but once the final season of Jessica Jones premieres later this year, it all lies with Marvel Television to tell us what’s next for these characters.