Marvel’s Daredevil Writer: ‘I Thought It Was Too Big To Fail’

Marvel’s Daredevil Writer: ‘I Thought It Was Too Big To Fail’

Netflix’s decision to cancel Marvel’s Daredevil was a surprise. No one knew it was coming. Not the stars, not Marvel’s executives. Not even the writers, who were already laying out plans for the next chapter of Daredevil’s story. We got a chance to talk with one of the writers who was working on season four, who shared her shock at the show’s demise and why she think it spells doom for the future of The Defenders TV universe.

“If I was a betting woman, you know, my guess is that it’s the end of the Marvel universe on Netflix,” Daredevil writer Tamara Becher-Wilkinson said.

In an interview with io9, Becher-Wilkinson shared what it was like being in the room where it happened, as Netflix canceled Daredevil. Becher-Wilkinson, who wrote the season three episode “Karen,” had been brought on board for the next saga. The storyline for season four had already been drafted and pitched to Netflix, and the writers were waiting for the seemingly inevitable news that they would get renewed, despite recent cancelations of Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

Becher-Wilkinson was actually in the middle of creating a writing schedule for season four when the news came down.

“[Showrunner Erik Oleson] got a call asking him to go down to see the Marvel executives, and I jokingly went ‘Ooooooooh,’ like a third grader does when someone gets called to a principal’s office,” Becher-Wilkinson said. “Then, he waited for everybody to gather back in the writers’ room and he said, ‘Netflix has decided not to move forward with season four.’ And that’s all I remember, you know. I kind of missed the details because I was, like, so surprised.”

Before joining Daredevil, Becher-Wilkinson worked on the first season of Iron Fist, and said she wasn’t surprised when that series got canceled — due to the poor-to-mixed reception, even after the much-improved second season. But she said she was floored when Daredevil followed suit. Not only because it was a legacy show for Marvel on Netflix, since it kicked off that universe (and the characters were reportedly considered for addition into the film world), but because the series was so well received, by both critics and fans.

“The reviews were so overwhelmingly positive that I thought there was no way they would cancel it. I don’t know how well it does on Netflix or anything like that…[but] it was surprising to me they would cancel something that was so well received,” she said. “I thought it was too big to fail.”

Netflix hasn’t given an official reason why it’s canceled Daredevil, Iron Fist, or Luke Cage, but there is rising speculation that Netflix is slowly ending all of its Marvel shows because of Disney’s plans to launch its own streaming service called Disney+ next year. Not only will Disney and Marvel movies leave Netflix and head to Disney’s platform, the network will have its own Marvel Cinematic Universe shows centered around characters like Loki and the Scarlet Witch.

Co-executive producer Sam Ernst previously shared on Twitter that he regretted that fans wouldn’t be able to see what they had in store for season four unless the series or storyline was picked up somewhere else. When asked about what they were working on, and what fans are missing out on, Becher-Wilkinson wasn’t allowed to discuss any specifics “under penalty of death,” but she did reiterate what Ernst said: It would’ve blown fans away — much like the rest of Daredevil, a show she was proud to work on and whose legacy she hopes continues, even as the story has come to an end.

“Everyone who’s ever worked on [Daredevil], they’ve built something really special. And the way [the Marvel/Netflix shows] interacted with each other, it was really cool and unique [and] that didn’t exist anywhere else on TV,” she said. “Sure, there are other superhero shows, but there weren’t other superhero shows like the shows that Marvel put onto Netflix. And it’s sad to think that all the episodes that exist now, that’s all there’s ever going to be.”


  • It’s a bit of a shame…

    Despite a few hiccups I actually enjoyed Daredevil.
    Compared to say Ironfist, at least the main actor did some obvious combat training, the single no-break shot of him fighting down the appartment block stairs is one of the most impressive shots I’ve seen in a while.
    Vincent D’Onofrio is an amazing actor and made a frighteningly easy to watch Kingpin.

    The others I get, Ironfist was pure dribble and bad fighting and even though Luke Cage was pretty bloody good to start with, the story fell apart and lost direction by the end.
    (Sound track was killing it)

  • “If I was a betting woman, you know, my guess is that it’s the end of the Marvel universe on Netflix,” Daredevil writer Tamara Becher-Wilkinson said.

    If I was betting, I’d be betting that the end of the Marvel universe on Netflix was decided in a Disney boardroom when they decided to create their own streaming service, and what we’re seeing now is a series of strategic ‘accidents’ set to befall every property that Disney might not be able to own and manage wholly independently.

    • That seems to be the general belief, doesn’t it? I wonder several things, mostly about timing. And really boiling down to new content for Disney at launch, and Netflix not doing this without a reason.

      Netflix killing these shows off now frees them up for Disney to pick them up next year, and do enough episodes to show at that point. That’s very generous of Netflix, and suggests Netflix is on board with losing all their Disney products, and putting up zero resistance.

      Which must mean something beneficial to them somewhere down the track, they had the rights to these shows for a good while yet, so killing them off makes no financial sense at all. Except Iron Fist. That one never quite worked as intended.

      Maybe a bunch of their own Netflix Originals will be making their way to Disney? That’d give them a bunch of original content, as well as give Netflix a growing revenue source.

      All speculation, but they wouldn’t do this without a benefit down the track. Saving a few bucks doesn’t fit their growth model either.

      • OR the super hero fatigue is very real and the shows just aren’t getting the views Netflix wants for its investments. I’m super surprised by this cancellation though.

        • I’m fairly certain the stats released for Daredevil are really big. Something like one of the top 4 shows on the platform.

      • What makes you think deciding not to run another season of a show removes the rights holder’s rights to that content?

        I’d say Netlfix execs would think it a real shame to let a few of their future competitors franchises die a little before losing the rights. /s

        • I might’ve misunderstood, but it’s common in these situations to have a clause that states a right holder can only retain the rights if new content is created over a specific time frame.
          It’s designed to protect both parties by making sure the property is making money and isn’t being squandered or projects aren’t cut off at the knees at the cost of somebody else.

          The most well known of these contracts would be the Sony – Marvel film contracts and to a lesser extent, the Resident Evil film franchise.

  • If they do a season 4 I guess it will be on that Disney streaming service they got planned and I hope they continue the show. However if they don’t at least it went out with a huge bang rather than a small whimper like some shows do.

    • See my reply above. They must be getting something out of it. Apart from Iron Fist, these shows were delivering for them.

  • I wonder if when it came to renegotiating the rights for the use of Marvel properties, Disney increased them astronomically in order to force their cancellation and diminish the strength of what is going to be one of their main competitors.

    A good sign would be if we also start hearing from other non-Netflix Marvel shows (The Gifted, Legion, etc) also being canceled.

  • Netflix’s decision to cancel Marvel’s Daredevil was a surprise. No one knew it was coming.

    Seriously? You could see it coming from a mile away, first Disney announce their own competitive streaming service and start pulling movies, then iron first and luke cage get cancelled – plus no second season of defenders.

    How could you not see this was going to happen?

    • I guess because most other times something like this has happened, the studios involved have had the decency to inform the people actually working on those projects in advance? Pundits might’ve had pretty good guesses, but if you’re an insider who’s used to being plugged in, maybe not seeing the usual red flags before it happens is so unusual that they equate this to, “No-one knew.” Insert keyword: no-one inside new. No-one reliable, perhaps.

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