Marvel and Netflix: Surfing the Silver Line

Heroes must be held onto for they are few and far between. Since 2015, with the release of Daredevil, Netflix has been the champion streamer of all things superhero. Most recently however a shadow has been cast upon them, as Disney’s own streaming service lurks on the horizon and threatens to steal away the Marvel features which have found their home on Netflix.

Loki and Scarlet Witch have already been confirmed to receive their own series on Disney+ and each lead will be resumed by the actor and actress portraying those characters in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil and The Defenders meanwhile have lacked a real connection to the world built by the Marvel films and it’s clear that Disney+ will remedy that for its viewers. The streaming throne has been threatened and left the fates of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and The Punisher unclear. There is thankfully a silver lining around the cloud of doubt.Netflix has delivered a ray of hope for those holding on to their heroes.

2018 has been a busy time for the streaming goliath as four of their Marvel properties received a new season between March and October this year. Netflix didn’t stop at just those four either. Jessica Jones was renewed for a third season in April and The Punisher is set to return in early 2019. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of these programs, Netflix proved yet again that their place as the Kingpin of live-action Marvel adaptations was deserved.

They had not flinched as Disney+ donned its mask and challenged their status. That was until Iron Fist and Luke Cage were cancelled.

Iron Fist redeemed its horrid first season when the follow-up debuted in September,offering fun and charisma where there had previously been an uninspired lul. Fans reacted positively and were unexpectedly hopeful for the series’ continuation. Luke Cage had a stellar first season in 2016 and season two carried that momentum with the addition of new characters and new drama that kept fans hooked. Still Netflix pulled the plug and their decision quickly disarmed the viewers of these two series. Blame has been wrongly cast towards Disney.

Questions have surfaced pertaining to the rest of The Defenders despite Netflix’s repeated dismissal. Fans have either forgotten or never learned the history of the characters helming each cancelled feature. That history is the silver line.

In 1977 comic sales for both Iron Fist and Power Man, the series dedicated to Luke Cage, had plummeted. Neither character were sustainable on their own merits, long overshadowed by The Avengers, the Amazing Spider-Man and other esteemed properties. The solution Marvel found was to unite them. By 1978 Power Man and Iron Fist were gathered in a single title that would soon transform into Heroes for Hire. Fans of Luke Cage have heard that reference a handful of times in both seasons one and two. Power Man and Iron Fist was so successful that the duo had an ongoing series as recently as 2016. Netflix has learned the same lesson that Marvel Comics did more than four decades ago. These two heroes are at their strongest when combined. Heroes for Hire is the next logical step in the Marvel Netflix universe.

With the fate of Luke Cage and Iron Fist brightened by this possibility, the questions surrounding the remaining Defenders are less stark. Daredevil, Jessica Jones and The Punisher are the strongest members of the comic-inspired Netflix library and two of the three still have new seasons forthcoming. Neither Netflix nor Marvel have abandoned the viewer base that they’ve been building since 2015. Disney+ is fortunately not a mad titan or a sentient cloud come to wipe away our beloved heroes. For as long as the fans support them, for as long as the fans hold on to them, superheroes will have a home on Netflix.