Disney+ Blasted By Parents TV Group Over Marvel Netflix Shows

By Savannah Sanders Updated:
Disney+ Punisher Luke Cage Avengers MCU

Even though WandaVision was Marvel Studios' first series for Disney+, Wanda Maximoff's Westview incident was far from the first Marvel television show. In addition to Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD, Marvel branded heroes have also had a presence on Netflix through series like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and more. 

Still, despite bearing the Marvel name and featuring characters from Marvel Comics, the Netflix-based shows never had a home on Disney+. Not only is this because Marvel Studios had little to no involvement in their production, but it was also attributed to their mature content.

However, things took a surprising turn in December 2021 when Daredevil's Kingpin, played by Vincent D'Onofrio, appeared in Hawkeye on Disney+. This was then followed by a cameo of Daredevil's own Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

While the hopes of fans who had long fought for their canonicity within the MCU were renewed, Disney recently took things a step further in confirming that Luke Cage, The Punisher, The Defenders, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Daredevil, are set to arrive on Disney+ on March 16

While the news made waves with the Marvel fan base and renewed the age-long canon debate, the announcement made waves in other ways and with other groups. 

Parents TV Group is Against Marvel Netflix Shows on Disney+

Marvel Netflix

After learning that former Netflix-Marvel series, such as Luke Cage, The Punisher, Daredevil, and more were leaving Netflix, Marvel fans were surprised to find that the Marvel-branded shows would be finding a home on Disney+.

However, not everyone was thrilled with the news, including the Parents Television Council (PTC) which has now spoken out about Disney's decision to add violent or mature content to their streaming service.

Tim Winter, the president of the Parents Television and Media Council, has shared the following statement:

“For more than 98 years, the Walt Disney Company has been synonymous with the words Family Friendly, and I can think of no other corporation in American history that has been built more squarely on the backs – and on the wallets – of parents and families. The company’s eponymous platform Disney Plus logically marketed itself as a family-friendly streaming service, and parents have placed their trust in Disney to deliver just that.”

In addition, Winter also stated that TV-MA and R-rated programming is "off-brand" for Disney's streaming service, saying:

“It seems wildly ‘off-brand’ for Disney Plus to add TV-MA and R-rated programming to this platform, ostensibly to increase subscription revenue. So what comes next, adding live striptease performances in Fantasyland at Disney World?"

To close this statement, Winter argued that "Disney is already at a competitive advantage" as Disney+ is one of "the safest out there for families:"

"There is no need for Disney Plus to compete with the explicit content on other streaming platforms. Disney is already at a competitive advantage with a streaming platform that is the safest one out there for families. Its foray into TV-MA-rated fare will forever tarnish its family friendly crown.”

Until now, Disney+ content has only allowed content rated TV-14 or younger. The six Netflix-Marvel shows that are set to arrive on Disney+ on March 16 are rated TV-MA due to graphic violence and dark themes including substance abuse and rape. 

The PTC applauded Disney for updating its parental controls on March 16 for this reason. However, the fact that TV-MA exists on the Disney-branded streaming service remains.

Why Disney Added Daredevil & Jessica Jones to Disney+

Following Disney's announcement, Marvel fans anticipated a new level of controversy in terms of the Netflix shows' status within the MCU; however, the issue the Parent Television Council has taken with Disney is a controversy of a different kind. 

The PTC's language about "live striptease performances in Fantasyland at Disney World" is certainly hyperbole. But it's worth noting that, unlike Netflix, HBO Max, and Apple TV+, Disney has a family-friendly reputation that its competitors simply don't. 

Regardless of whether a consumer is in favor or against DaredevilThe Punisher, or other TV-MA content coming to the streaming service, the fact remains that this is a huge change for the platform and the brand. 

However, for the former Netflix-Marvel stars who may have a new future within the MCU and under the Disney umbrella, keeping with the R-rating isn't a change but rather a return to form. 

In fact, before Disney+ announced Daredevil was moving to the service, Charlie Cox expressed his confidence in Marvel's ability to tell his story within the PG-friendly parameters. Although Cox did share his belief that the best-working comics are those that "[live] in a darker space."

Is this decision because Marvel Studios and Disney feel the same way? Perhaps on some level. The real reason, however, is likely rooted in the ongoing streaming wars and the desire for consolidation. 

If Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil were leaving Netflix, many fans expected the Marvel content to end up on Hulu, of which Disney has majority ownership. The fact this didn't happen may be a sign of things to come in terms of Disney looking to consolidate the two sooner rather than later to bump up their subscriber numbers.  

Regardless of the reasons or what's to come, Disney's decision to bring this Marvel-labeled content under the Disney+ umbrella is huge news for both Marvel fans and the future of Disney Company in more ways than one. 

The Marvel-Netflix series will release on Disney+ on March 16, 2022.

- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.