Jessica Jones And The Punisher Cancelled At Netflix

jessica jones hiding season 2
(Image credit: netflix press)

Netflix has now officially confirmed that its once-buzzy handful of Marvel superhero dramas are now a bygone concept, with the remaining two series The Punisher and Jessica Jones getting cancelled by the streaming giant. The latter vigilante still has yet to return anew for Jessica Jones Season 3, which will premiere to presumably disgruntled fanfare later in 2019.

Following up on its second season released in 2018, Jessica Jones is now directly headed into its concluding season. Many fans were anticipating such an outcome, admittedly, considering last year's abrupt cancellations for Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Here's how the decision was laid out, via a statement from a Netflix spokesperson.

In reviewing our Marvel programming, we have decided that the upcoming third season will also be the final season for Marvel’s Jessica Jones. We are grateful to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, star Krysten Ritter and the entire cast and crew, for three incredible seasons of this groundbreaking series, which was recognized by the Peabody Awards among many others. We are grateful to Marvel for five years of our fruitful partnership and thank the passionate fans who have followed these series from the beginning.

I think we can all agree that there will never be another live-action vigilante quite like Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones, who was a perfect mixture of brute strength, an iron liver, and the most contagious DGAF attitude in superheroism. As disappointing as the cancellation may be, though, it does sound like Jessica Jones' final season won't be one clogged with unanswered cliffhangers and plot holes.

In an interesting move, Netflix justified the timing of the cancellation announcements by saying that it would be unfair to fans to keep them in the dark after the official decision had been made by execs. As well, it's noted that Jessica Jones Season 3 is believed by those involved to have "a very natural and satisfying end." (Perhaps it will be like The Punisher, which left the door open for future adventures, but made sure to wrap up each of Season 2's various plotlines.

The Punisher had just debuted its acclaimed second season a month or so prior to the cancellation. Though there were reports of the viewership numbers comparatively lagging from one season to the next, which reportedly similarly affected audience totals for the other Marvel shows' successive seasons. Still, hope remained that Netflix would be able to maintain its relationship with The Punisher based largely on the drama's rather mature and hyper-violent storylines that don't easily fit elsewhere under Disney's umbrella.

Here's now the Netflix spokesperson laid things out for The Punisher's fate.

Marvel’s The Punisher will not return for a third season on Netflix. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot, the terrific crew, and exceptional cast including star Jon Bernthal, delivered an acclaimed and compelling series for fans, and we are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come.

Jessica Jones' Season 3 production hadn't yet been completed when Netflix's other Marvel cancellations came to light, unlike how The Punisher had already wrapped by the time news of the other Defenders' shows dropped. It'll be interesting to see how the two shows' endings compare in that respect. Hopefully Melissa Rosenberg was able to craft a legitimate farewell to fans and the show itself. Not that I'd trade The Punisher's howl-filled final moments for anything else.

When Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot spoke with CinemaBlend ahead of The Punisher's Season 2 debut, he made it pretty clear that he and his creative team were more than ready to keep exploring Frank Castle life, tortured as it may be. Here's how he put it:

Yeah, we finished shooting the show in August, so just for me personally, talking about making the show, that stuff never even came across my horizon. We made the show where the takeaway was meant to be, ‘I can’t wait for Season 3.’ . . . It leaves him ready to go again. I mean, you know, I sorta love that for the last image. It left us with him [having] no doubt that we will come back for another kind of action-filled Season 3.

If a third Punisher season ever does happen, it'll almost definitely need happen on another network or streaming service than Netflix, such as Disney+. (Though there's reportedly a contractual obligation for the characters to go unused for a certain amount of time following their respective show's ends.) So let's all hope that Hulu or another studio with a good Marvel relationship can find smart and meaningful ways to keep this particular corner of the MCU alive and well.

Jon Bernthal is appreciative for the time he has spent delivering vigilante justice to everyone who disrupted Frank Castle’s life. However, he’s the kind of actor who doesn’t pretend to have any power over the character or show’s future, while still being pragmatic enough to know that The Punisher will continue to be a monolithic vigilante that will continue being adapted for live-action. Still, Bernthal would have loved to get to develop more of Frank's relationship with Deborah Ann Woll's Karen Page. Here's what he'd told CinemaBlend.

I really would have loved to see further what would've happened with him and Karen. There's a really strong connection between those two characters, and they're so different but so drawn to each other. They're sort of equal forces in a lot of ways, and there's nothing that either one of them could do – I think they both been to some pretty dirty dark places – but nothing that the other one can't really handle. So I would be interested.

Netflix also noted that the announcement was made with respect to the many actors and crew members on each series, as to not keep them tied to a doomed project that stops them from finding other work elsewhere. But, for example, maybe everyone involved with The Punisher and Jessica Jones just really wants to not find other work on the off-chance that another studio steps in.

Check out all the Marvel TV shows that are on the way in 2019, and stay tuned for more info about when Jessica Jones Season 3 will make its debut on Netflix.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.