Well, it happened. Marvel's Daredevil - the jewel in the crown of the MCU's TV counterpart - has been cancelled. It's a massive shame, and though fans themselves will feel particularly upset at the news that Season 4 won't be arriving, you can be sure that the cast and crew will feel a whole lot worse. Here's hoping they get back on their feet soon.
Unfortunately, the writing had been on the wall for Daredevil for a while now. The cancellation of fellow Netflix show Iron Fist was, at first, fairly predictable - after all, out of all the Netflix Marvel TV series, it boasted the smallest following and the worst critical reception. However, when the demonstrably superior Luke Cage fell to the chopping block earlier this year too, a disturbing pattern appeared to be emerging, with Daredevil and Jessica Jones the two remaining Marvel-Netflix productions.
Daredevil Season 3 was incredible, and the fact that the show's writers were genuinely excited by the prospect of a fourth season won't make things any easier, but it's important to remember that things ended on a relatively high note. Matt, Karen and Foggy were back together, Matt had reconciled his dual identities, and for a character whose entire existence has been typified by tragedy, to end in such a way is, in a way, almost uplifting. Almost.
In a statement issued to Deadline, Netflix cited Season 3's ending specifically as a reason for why the streaming giant felt now, of all times, was the right time to close the book on the character.
"Marvel’s Daredevil will not return for a fourth season on Netflix... We are tremendously proud of the show’s last and final season and although it’s painful for the fans, we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note.”
But let's be real: the fact that Matt, Karen and Foggy got a happy ending isn't the reason the plug has been pulled now. The fact remains that the relationship between Netflix and Marvel - Disney specifically - just isn't what it was when these shows were first announced back in 2013. The Mouse House are bringing their own streaming service to market within the next two years, and that makes them more of a competitor than a business partner. Keeping these Marvel shows on Netflix, then - which are apparently retaining less viewers each season, by the way - probably doesn't make much sense to the streaming giant, especially not, when it effectively promotes a new competitor.
Something also worth noting is that Netflix have recently wrapped up a deal with Mark Millar's Millarworld to produce numerous series' based on the creator's comics. Millar's comics have seen great success onscreen since the start of the decade, with Wanted, Kick Ass and Kingsman all hits at the box office. It's not Marvel of course, but still, Netflix have a contingency in place for when they eject all of Marvel's TV shows, with Jessica Jones presumably next on the chopping block.
If Daredevil is to continue, then it genuinely looks as though his best opportunity will come on the big screen - even if Season 3's happy conclusion potentially lends itself well to the more family-oriented Disney+. Every cloud has a silver lining, and though it will take a whole lot to assuage fears that this could be the last we see of Matt and the gang, there are still Daredevil stories worth telling, and it's something that Marvel - whether on TV, or on film - will almost certainly be aware of.