Yesterday, Netflix subscribers were caught off guard when the service started putting up a message on all its MCU series that they were leaving the service starting on March 1, just a few weeks from now. It was not an error, it really is happening, and rights of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders are reverting back to Disney.
What we do not know for sure is where they’re going, and a common thought was that most of them may be a bit too “brutal” for Disney Plus, and may be forced to move over to Hulu instead. Disney has not commented.
However, I just read an interview with Kevin Feige about the upcoming Disney Plus Moon Knight series, and it strongly suggests that Disney is expanding its definition of what is “acceptable” violence on Disney Plus.
Here’s Feige, speaking to Empire:
“He’s brutal. It’s been fun to work with Disney Plus and see the boundaries shifting on what we’re able to do. There are moments [in the series] when Moon Knight is wailing on another character, and it is loud and brutal, and the knee-jerk reaction is, ‘We’re gonna pull back on this, right?’ No. We’re not pulling back. There’s a tonal shift. This is a different thing. This is Moon Knight.”
So, what I’m saying is that if Disney Plus is okay going down this “darker” road for Moon Knight, that suggests to me that they may be open to housing even pretty violent shows like Daredevil or even The Punisher on Disney Plus, rather than shuttling them off to Hulu.
I fundamentally believe that Disney would like to keep all its Marvel series together in one place, namely Disney Plus, rather than splitting things up with Hulu based on arbitrary content restrictions they themselves set. With parental controls, there should be a way that kids can’t get to this stuff too easily, and I don’t see the point in say, allowing brutal Moon Knight violence while saying that brutal Daredevil or Punisher violence goes “too far.”
It also makes sense for all these shows to be in one place given that Disney is now clearly using these Netflix characters again. Matt Murdock is in Spider-Man. Kingpin was essentially the big bad of all of Hawkeye, and should return in Echo. It also opens the door to simply more seasons of these shows period, as many were ended without real conclusions. And allowing them to be R-rated could mean we may even see Jon Bernthal return as The Punisher, who said he’d only be back if they’d do it “right.”
Moving all these to Disney Plus makes the most sense, especially if Disney is loosening up what is or is not allowed on the platform. Yes, Disney Plus is a great place for kids programming, but Disney wants subscribers, and appealing to all ages is a must. This is the place where these shows need to land.