In a surprising turn of events, Netflix has canceled Luke Cage after two critically acclaimed seasons. Netflix issued a statement that reveals preciously no reasons for the sudden cancellation.
“Unfortunately, Marvel’s Luke Cage will not return for a third season. 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.”
The second season debuted in June, while no immediate renewal was given, a writer's room was assembled with showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker overseeing the development. According to Deadline, the writer's room was put on hold in September to accommodate a reduction from thirteen to ten episodes. Deadline goes on to confirm that detailed drafts for the first five episodes were delivered this week, which weren't well received by Netflix or Marvel.
The announcement comes barely a week on from fellow Marvel/Netflix show Iron Fist being given his marching orders. Naturally, this has created widespread speculation that the Marvel/Netflix deal is winding down. It remains unclear what this means for Daredevil and Jessica Jones beyond their respective third seasons, or for The Punisher after its second season lands early next year.
Disney's forthcoming (and still untitled) streaming service will see a wealth of exclusive content from all corners of the Disney empire. The Clone Wars have been revived; there's the live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian, and at least four Marvel projects including a spin-off event series for Loki, and another to feature Scarlett Witch. It could well be that Disney has plans for Luke Cage or Iron Fist somewhere down the line, but it will likely be a fresh take on the material rather than a continuation.
I wasn't that cut up that Iron Fist got canceled, it was a hard show to love, but Luke Cage deserved better. I hope we get to see Mike Colter pop back up in Jessica Jones to say a proper farewell. Season two ended on a pretty big cliffhanger, and it would be a sorry state of affairs if we didn't get some resolution. Iron Fist ended on an unresolved note as well, so perhaps a second run of Defenders to wrap everything up has suddenly become a viable option.