The Marvel Cinematic Universe has only gotten bigger over the past 13 years. Between an absurd amount of movies, several new series on Disney Plus, and a reality-shattering Spider-Man movie bringing in films from other studios, there's practically no stopping Marvel's grasp over pop culture. It's gotten so huge, in fact, that we just might be able to fit in the heroes from the Marvel Netflix shows after all.
The almost-unwieldy canon of the MCU has been cracked open even further by the revelations of series like Loki. With timelines breaking and the facets of the multiverse constantly leaking into each other, the threads connecting shows to movies have become more distinct. The potential for new and highly anticipated entries to the universe like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four is almost entirely apparent at this point. Of course, that could spell good news for the once-defunct Netflix shows.
Will the Marvel Netflix shows return?
In 2015, Daredevil began streaming on Netflix. The gritty, violent adaptation of Marvel's "Man Without Fear" received critical acclaim during its first season. The show also kicked off an entirely new era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one that shone a spotlight on lesser-known heroes in the pantheon. Daredevil and its successive shows tackled heavier themes and storylines while still taking place in the canon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher were all shows that expanded the MCU at large, all while proving that the superhero franchise could have a darker side to it. This experimental side canon went strong for almost four years, but in that time, it became increasingly clear that these grittier heroes weren't going to cross over with the movies any time soon.
While the New York City-based shows were able to feature nods to the larger canon — namely discussing the Chitauri attack and namedropping an Avenger every now and then — there were never any signs that the shows could ever interact with the movies more openly. In March 2015, Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb even stated at the time that the goal of having a big crossover was a ways away.
"We have to earn that," Jeph Loeb said about the potential for Avengers showing up alongside the Marvel Netflix heroes. "The audience needs to understand who all of these characters are and what the world is before you then start comingling in terms of where it's going."
By 2019, all hope seemed lost. The Marvel Netflix shows seemed to fizzle out unceremoniously with the third and final season of Jessica Jones in 2019. As per Marvel's contract with Netflix, the former would have to wait two years after cancellation before being able to do anything with the characters.
But by 2021, Marvel Studios has wasted little time in getting these heroes back on their feet. Vincent D'Onofrio recently reprised his role as Wilson Fisk / Kingpin in Hawkeye on Disney Plus. With the resurgence of a fan-favorite character from Daredevil, the floodgates are officially open for the Marvel Netflix shows to make a comeback. Though they may not see any new seasons on Netflix, they may just show up in the many upcoming Marvel Studios projects in the future.