Two years after Jessica Jones and The Punisher‘s cancellations at Netflix, the rights to these characters have reverted back to Marvel Studios. Netflix and Marvel TV announced a partnership in 2014 to create a universe of street-level Marvel shows loosely tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were chosen as the leads of the first four shows, with a team-up series The Defenders also planned. The standalone shows each received at least two seasons, and the popularity of them resulted in The Punisher becoming the first spinoff.
Although the Marvel/Netflix shows were quite popular initially, interest in them appeared to dwindle over time. This led Netflix to make the surprising decision to cancel all of the shows starting in 2018. It started with Iron Fist and Luke Cage being cancelled after their second seasons aired, with Daredevil canned a month after season 3’s debut. This made the later news that Jessica Jones and The Punisher were ending in 2019 with their upcoming seasons hardly a surprise. Since several of these characters developed a big following from the shows, many fans immediately expressed interest in Marvel Studios saving the heroes. However, Marvel and Netflix‘s legal deals meant the MCU couldn’t touch any of these characters right away.
It was reported at the time that Marvel Studios was unable to use any Netflix characters until two years after the cancellations of their shows. Now, we’ve officially passed that point for all Netflix shows with Jessica Jones and Punisher’s rights back at Marvel Studios. Jessica Jones and The Punisher were cancelled on February 18, 2019, a month after The Punisher season 2 dropped and well before Jessica Jones season 3 aired in June 2019. This means Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team can finally begin discussing how to incorporate Jessica Jones and Punisher into the MCU.
This milestone could be a big deal for the stars of Jessica Jones and The Punisher, depending on what Marvel Studios wants to do with the characters. Krysten Ritter and Jon Bernthal were both praised for their performances, and many fans would be happy to see them play Jessica Jones and Frank Castle again in the MCU. While that appeared to be highly unlikely a few years ago, there could be some precedence for it now. Daredevil star Charlie Cox is reportedly playing Matt Murdock again in Spider-Man: Homecoming 3. If he can return as a version of the same character, Marvel Studios could keep the great casting decisions from the past and bring Ritter and Bernthal into the fold.
Regardless of whether the actors remain, there are plenty of opportunities for Jessica Jones and Punisher to appear in upcoming MCU properties. Jessica Jones and her job as a private investigator could fit with the She-Hulk Disney+ show and Jennifer Walters’ legal lifestyle. Meanwhile, Punisher’s days as a mercenary could allow him to cross paths with Marc Spector in Moon Knight potentially. Since both Jessica Jones and Punisher have played significant roles in the comics, it should only be a matter of time before they’re in the MCU in some capacity.