Marvel's Jessica Jones & The Punisher Character Rights Return To Disney

By Pierre Chanliau Updated:
Jessica Jones, The Punisher, Marvel Studios

Fans had the rug pulled from under them two years ago when Netflix had suddenly begun canceling all their Marvel shows, including Daredevil. In retrospect, it was quite obvious that this string of cancellations was due in no small part to Disney's new streaming service, which may already overtake Netflix in a few short years.

According to Variety, Netflix would retain the rights for these characters for at least two more years after their shows' cancellation. At that point, it was only a matter of waiting, but one concern that fans had was whether the studio would continue with what Netflix had started or start fresh with new actors.

If one rumor is to be believed, at the very least, it seems like Charlie Cox will be returning as Matthew Murdock in Spider-Man 3. Other actors like Mike Colter may be too busy to return, already having job security with other own ongoing shows.

But, as of today, every single one of Marvel's Netflix characters has finally returned to Marvel Studios.


Jessica Jones and The Punisher were both canceled on February 18, 2019, meaning that the on-screen rights for the title characters have returned to Marvel Studios.


Despite some misconceptions, Netflix does not actually own the exclusive distribution rights to DaredevilJessica JonesLuke CageIron FistThe Defenders, and The Punisher like Universal does with The Incredible Hulk. This is one reason why the latter is not on Disney's streaming service.

Netflix merely had timed ownership of these shows, which is now up.

In a statement from Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger in 2013, he stated that Netflix would “have exclusively [on] for a period of time.” It's entirely possible that in the coming months, now that all the character rights have returned to the studio, fans may see all these shows taken off Netflix and moved onto Hulu or Star internationally.

As for where these two characters could end up now that Marvel Studios has ownership of them again, “Everything is on the board,” according to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. Jessica Jones has already been rumored to appear in She-Hulk, which would make sense with Jones being a private detective. As for Frank Castle, he'd fit right into the darker world of Moon Knight, having crossed paths with the character in the comics many times.

A whole new world has opened up for Marvel Studios, who can now explore the streets of the MCU and the heroes that patrol them without the enormous global stakes that come from other characters.

- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.