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The Real Reason "Luke Cage" Was Canceled


Find out the real reason Netflix canceled Luke Cage. Over the past few weeks, Netflix has canceled two of it's Marvel shows: Iron Fist and Luke Cage.

Most weren't surprised by Iron Fist. Iron Fist follows industrialist billionaire Danny Rand (Finn Jones) who acquires superhuman abilities as a martial artist and uses his power to help people. The first season was panned and the second season only did marginally better. But why Luke Cage? A show about an ex-con turned into a bulletproof black man?

Netflix doesn't release viewing numbers but the show has been critically praised and season two was given even more glowing reviews. So why drop the show?

The streaming service released a statement about Luke Cage saying "Unfortunately, Marvel's Luke Cage will not return for a third season," Netflix and Marvel said in a joint statement. "Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is grateful to the dedicated showrunner, writers, cast and crew who brought Harlem's Hero to life for the past two seasons, and to all the fans who have supported the series."

Some speculated that Disney forced Netflix to drop the show to allow them to pick them up and use them in its new streaming service. Disney is preparing to launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming service. Part of that transition is to remove all Marvel feature films from Netflix and run them on the Disney platform. Along with the movies Marvel is planning a number of live-action television series following Loki and Scarlet Witch. So is Disney planning to create their own Luke Cage and Iron Fist shows? No.

While Netflix is ending the shows several other ones are going to continue. Daredevil, Jessica Jones and The Punisher are remaining on Netflix under terms of the original deal. The second season of The Punisher is due in 2019. Jessica Jones is slated for a third season and the third season of Daredevil just dropped. That means Netflix still has the rights to use the characters.

A source close to the project told Deadline the cancelation was due to "creative differences" and the inability to agree to terms for the third season of the show. While nothing official was named several possibilities have been reported.

The Scripts

The show was in the early stages of production and several drafts were submitted. Apparently, there were some differences of opinion on the stories. 

"Detailed drafts for the first half of the 10-episode projected third season were delivered to Marvel and Netflix this week," Deadline reported. "We hear that some execs had issues with the more developed scripts, even though the scripts strongly incorporated suggestions from both Netflix and Marvel brass."

Shorter Season

One of the complaints about the first two seasons is they felt slow and drawn out. Netflix was reportedly pushing for the team to reduce the number of episodes from 13 to 10. It was so involved that the writers' room was put on hold for a week back in September while two sides worked on the deal.

The drama "eventually escalated to behind-the-scenes turmoil in the past two days and demands for changes in creative regime," Deadline revealed. "With Marvel and Netflix seemingly intractable and on different sides of the disputes, a harsh cancelation became the only viable exit strategy, it appears."

The Cost

Running a superhero show is expensive thanks to special effects. Add to that the cost of filming in New York. Now add to that the cost of running a Marvel show. Now add that the audience demands movie quality levels of production. Deadline reports that the pressure to 

"The Marvel shows on Netflix are costly to make, even with New York’s generous tax credits, Deadline said. "Back in 2013, the streamer paid top dollar for the series that it doesn’t even own, so cutting Luke Cage loose was a shifting bottom line call. With the high cost, there has been pressure on the Marvel series to overperform in viewership. That was easier early on when they were among a handful of Netflix originals but is getting harder today as they compete with dozens of other buzzy shows on the Internet network."

Cheo Hodari Coker created Luke Cage and served as its showrunner. Mike Colter played the title character, Luke Cage.

Coker tweeted "A lot memories. A lot of individual thank you calls to make. Just want to say thank you to Marvel, Netflix, the best Writer’s room, cast, crew, the Midnight Hour, all those who graced the stage at Harlem’s Paradise and the most incredible fan base in the world. Forward always..."

Colter tweeted with his daughter Naiella saying "I am forever grateful to Marvel and Netflix for letting me portray such a prolific character, and I thank you amazing fans. As one door closes, another has opened, with the birth of my daughter this week. A lot of great memories. Time to make more. Always forward, forward always".



It's interesting that the announcement was made after 10 p.m. on a Friday. Plus, the news dropped on the same day that the third season of Marvel's Daredevil premieres. That means it's likely Netflix was hoping to bury the announcement. But the show is so beloved it became front page news.

Since Iron Fist and Luke Cage is still a part of the Netflix universe it's possible that he could be back on one of the other shows or a new series following a team-up of the two or even a new Defenders mini-series. Only time will tell

Forward always.

What do you think about Netflix canceling Luke Cage?

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