Now that Netflix has finally revealed the fates of Jessica Jones and The Punisher, all of Marvel's Netflix universe shows have been cancelled. While it's sad the shows won't remain on the platform, there is a silver lining that Marvel retains the right to potentially bring those heroes back in some way two years from the cancellations. Should Marvel revive some of these shows on another network or streaming service, I believe each revival should undergo a time jump.
Basically, a lot can happen in two years. That's especially true in Hollywood, where plenty of other opportunities can drop on an actor's lap while they wait to see what the future holds for their hero show. Are they just going to hold out and cross their fingers Marvel gives their show a new home, or are they going to follow the money and deal with scheduling conflicts should things progress down the road?
It depends on the actor, of course, but one major star of the Marvel franchises already may need to make that call in the next couple years. Mike Colter's currently tied up in a CBS pilot that, if successful, could interfere with his role as the leading man of Luke Cage. What would Marvel television do if one or maybe more of its main Defenders isn't available to return?
Recasts are always an option, although a time jump could be the band-aid that helps solve the problem without a drastic casting change. If two years have passed since the events of Daredevil Season 3, it's easier to further disconnect the formerly connected relationships of The Defenders. It could also explain away lesser supporting characters who couldn't sign on for a revival, and writers could craft up some fictional thing that happened and why they've moved on.
Let's also remember that, while some of these cancellations were suspect, others seemed to have justifiable cause. Reports alleged Luke Cage and Iron Fist weren't all that popular in successive seasons, and it wouldn't be surprising if Marvel or another platform passed on adding it to its lineup. A time jump would further disassociate these characters with their one-time Defenders colleagues, and make it more believable from a story standpoint that they wouldn't inject themselves into each other's drama.
Beyond story reasons, there's also the fact that these shows will be on a new network or service should they return, which could mean some changes. A time-jump provides a distinction between the old and new show, and can signify a soft reboot of sorts that differentiates between the two eras of each show. Doing so would help acknowledge any changes that may have occurred, and in turn make them a bit less jarring.
That may sound unnecessary to some, especially considering these shows are no strangers to long gaps in seasons. Every Marvel Netflix show minus Iron Fist had a two year or longer break between seasons, so gaps between seasons are nothing new. With that said, there is evidence to show that some of these shows waned in popularity between those gaps, which may have killed the strong momentum and acclaim many of them had in their inaugural seasons.
As a disclaimer, the evidence that alleges that comes from third party sources, and not Netflix's personal data. It's possible the shows performed better than social media impressions or other methods have alleged, but until Netflix starts being more forthcoming with its numbers, we'll never know for sure. With that said there's always a risk of a show losing a fanbase when it doesn't air on a consistent basis, so one can't deny the gaps had zero impact on interest.
A time jump is a way of combating that, and provides a fresh entry point for those who may be interested in any of these shows but missed the first go-around. Sure, they could catch up on streaming in the next two years (provided Netflix doesn't dump them from its library); why put the burden of catching up on the viewer? Keep core elements from the past, and let viewers decide whether or not they wish to go back.
It's also worth mentioning that none of these shows' final seasons would necessarily be affected by a time jump. In other cases, shows like Daredevil may benefit from it as it would give characters like Bullseye a chance to come into their own. It'd also be cool to fast forward through Luke's control of the club and see how Harlem changes under that, or how Colleen protects New York as an Iron Fist.
Plus, let's not forget that while the Marvel Netflix universe is in hiatus, the MCU at large will continue to change. Phase 4 will be well underway by the time any network can pick these shows up, and there will presumably be some big changes that can be incorporated into each show. To date, each show has only had minimal connections to the MCU, despite fans' requests they be incorporated in a bigger way.
Now that MCU characters are going to be getting their own shows on Disney+, it feels all the more vital that Marvel make a larger attempt to properly incorporate these shows into the MCU timeline. A time jump makes that easier, as a return to their present timelines would cause some to ask why Thanos' snap never hit anyone they knew or other typical questions Marvel TV's Jeph Loeb has artfully dodged over the years.
Does a time jump absolutely have to happen if these shows ever return to television? No, and it's not a deal breaker if each show decide to go about its business and pretend like nothing's changed between the last season on Netflix, and the first elsewhere. Ultimately, fans just want to see these shows return in some way, and continue on the awesome universe that was established on Netflix.
CinemaBlend will keep an eye on what's happening with these shows and their stars in the meantime, and give relevant updates as they surface. For a breakdown of what's coming to television in the near future, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.