Despite Impending Pullout of Marvel Studios Films from Netflix, Disney Can’t Remove Netflix Co-Produced Miniseries like “Defenders”

When Disney announced earlier this year that they were developing their own branded in-house on-demand media streaming service, it seemed to cause an avalanche with other major media producers to start building up their own platforms too. This signaled a shift from relying on services like Hulu or Amazon Prime or Netflix, to hosting their own films and TV programs.

This of course led to Disney making plans to pull out their media from platforms like Netflix: movies, animated films, series and so on. And that also includes stuff like Star Wars and Marvel superhero movies done by Marvel Studios.

Here is where a point of contention comes up. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is comprised of not just films but also TV series like Agents of SHIELD and Inhumans. On that vein, that also includes some original web programming co-produced by Netflix: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.

The fact that Netlfix had a hand in the creation of these mini-series, despite being packaged as part of the larger MCU, has raised questions on whether or not Disney could pull them from the host platform to their own service in the future.

The streaming giant’s content director Ted Sarandos notes however, that Netflix holds the rights to keep the Defenders stable of miniseries with the service that helped create them. In addition, those rights include being able to produce more shows starring these characters, who are mostly ground-level superheroes focused on “normal” street crime, not super-villains.

Sarandos’ argument points out that being Marvel’s parent company does not mean Disney completely owns the comic book publisher’s IPs. Furthermore, Disney might try to keep their media content on their future platform at a G-PG keel, and the Marvel-Netflix shows are unabashedly R-rated. This explanation should hold for now, keeping Daredevil and friends on the Netflix service even as Disney targets the launch of their streaming service by 2019.

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