Netflix’s decision to cancel Daredevil after 3 Seasons didn’t exactly come as a surprise to fans after the rapid cancellation of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, but for the executives at Marvel, the news still came as a shock.
In a phone interview, Amy Rutberg (Marci Stahl in Daredevil and The Defenders) tells Inverse that the news came as a total surprise to “people high up at Marvel,” pinning the blame on Netflix and adding that filming for Season 4 was expected to begin as early as February 2019.
“My contacts at Marvel were very surprised,” Rutberg says. “Any of the rumors that it was a Marvel decision are wrong, I think it was purely a Netflix decision. That comes from personal conversations with people high up at Marvel. They were surprised.”
Watch a short clip of Rutberg’s character discussing Jessica Jones and Daredevil in the video above
Her statement echoes an earlier claim from Daredevil co-executive producer Sam Ernst, who described a late-November lunch meeting where the show’s writers and Marvel executives responded with equal shock to the news.
Rutberg lends some support Ernst’s claims, while also suggesting that even Marvel’s top brass didn’t know Daredevil was about to be canceled. The actress also explained that filming for Season 4 was expected to start early next year and speculated that Netflix may have labored over this decision until the very last minute.
“We had heard rumors we would start production as early as February 2019,” she says. “It’s a little unusual to be that far ahead in the planning and cancel the show, which makes me think Netflix was laboring over whether or not to cancel it. My guess was it was not an easy decision.”
When asked where she thought Season 4 might have been headed, Rutberg reveals that the cast and crew all assumed Daredevil would run for at least five seasons, giving the show a chance to explore a new villain before potentially returning to Kingpin for a final showdown.
“It would have been really interesting to see which villains they would have come up with in Season 4,” she says. “I don’t think it would have been something big with Wilson Fisk. That was played out. Maybe in Season 5. Everyone sort of thought the show would run a solid five seasons in total.”
Rutberg also confirms a recent report that Marvel’s contract with Netflix blocks any of the Defenders characters from appearing in non-Netflix content for the foreseeable future.
“There is this very real contract with Netflix,” she says. “I had heard 18 months, maybe it’s 2 years. I suppose it’s possible that Marvel could buy them out, but I have not heard so much as a whisper.”
But in the end, she believes the future of Daredevil and the rest of the Netlix/Marvel universe may rely more on fans than any one entertainment executive.
“Fans should know there really is power in social media,” Rutberg says. “That’s how companies like Netflix track the success of these shows: How much people are talking about them on social media. Your tweets and hashtags have power. People are listening.”
Daredevil may be canceled, but The Punisher is set to return to Netflix for a second season in January 2019.