It’s official – all of the Defenders have returned home to Marvel. After Netflix cancelled their batch of MCU shows across late 2018 and early 2019, the rights to these properties remained with the streaming giant for a further two years until they reverted to Marvel Studios. Over the past few months, the rights to Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil have done just that and, as of February 18th, 2021 – two years to the day since Netflix cancelled their series – Jessica Jones and the Punisher have now followed suit.
The Punisher season 2 aired in January 2019, with news of its cancellation dropping a month later. Jessica Jones season 3, however, was in the weird position of arriving four months after we’d found out it would be the last. The forewarning did allow the producers to craft a somewhat fitting final scene for the show, but the adventures of both Krysten Ritter’s super sleuth and Jon Bernthal’s gun-toting vigilante still feel incomplete.
While Marvel is now free to pursue a continuation of these characters’ stories, it’s currently unclear whether this is something Kevin Feige and company are actually intending to do. Of all the five former Netflix heroes, Charlie Cox’s Daredevil seems the most primed to make a comeback in the MCU, with rumors continuously swirling that he’ll turn up in Spider-Man 3 or in his own Disney Plus show. As social media hasn’t rallied behind the others in the same way, though, it’s unknown whether Marvel feels the need to bring them back as well.
Bernthal, for his part, remains close to his role and would be up for reprising the Punisher in a new project. Ritter, though, has been less vocal about a potential future as Jessica Jones, with it reported that she might have put the part behind her. But as Evan Peters’ surprise return in WandaVision reminds us, you never know what’s going to happen in the MCU, so we’ll just have to see.