New Report Sheds Light on Why Luke Cage and Iron Fist Got the Axe

A new report suggests that Luke Cage and Iron Fist got the axe from Marvel TV and Netflix because of low viewership.

The report from Business Insider uses data from social media monitoring company Crimson Hexagon to measure buzz surrounding the Marvel TV and Netflix shows which include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher, and The Defenders.

Crimson Hexagon measures social media on Twitter and Instagram as a substitute for viewership because Netflix doesn’t release numbers for any of their shows or movies. The data from Crimson Hexagaon indicates a significant drop off in buzz surrounding both Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

Luke Cage

Luke Cage saw social media posts for Season 2 only drive a little less than 50,000 posts. That’s a huge decrease from when Season 1 dropped when there were over 300,000 Twitter and Instagram posts.

What makes this data even more concerning is that 7Park Data estimated that Luke Cage had 69 million “Demand Expressions.”

Iron Fist

Iron Fist would suffer a similar result. The show only garnered around half the social media posts as Luke Cage with just shy of 120,000. However, by season 2 the show was only peaking at a little less than 20,000.

Interestingly enough, while Iron Fist had fewer social media engagements according to Crimson Hexagon, 7Park Data actually estimated that Season One had one of the highest viewerships for a Netflix television show premiere. In fact, according to 7Park Data the show was “the most binge-watched” Netflix premiere in 2017. However, Parrot Analytics indicated that Iron Fist had a huge retention problem after it’s initial launch. In fact, they indicate the demand was cut in half.

Jessica Jones

The drop for Jessica Jones wasn’t as significant as Luke Cage or Iron Fist. The show generated just shy of 300,000 social media engagements according to Crimson Hexagon in its first season. But by Season 2 it was down to below 150,000, a drop of nearly half of their engagements. Still it’s much better than Luke Cage and Iron Fist.


Daredevil is the only Marvel TV and Netflix show to go to a third season. It’s also performing much better than Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones according to Crimson Hexagon. The first season saw engagements around 2750,000. It dipped during season 2 to just above 200,000, and about halfway through October the third season which just came out has already generated over 75,000 posts.

While this data doesn’t specifically indicate that Luke Cage and Iron Fist were canceled because of low viewership, it definitely suggests a lot of people who were interested in the first seasons of those shows didn’t stick around for the second season. That’s the same for Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but their drop wasn’t at significant.

While reports indicate Luke Cage was cancelled due to “creative differences,” it’s likely that decreased viewership might have had an impact on the decision as well. And some people speculate that Disney might have preemptively canceled their Netflix shows in a competitive move with the streaming giant. Disney is expected to launch their own streaming service that will feature Marvel characters. However, Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb has indicated that Marvel will still partner with other companies, and he’s even stated that the cancellation of Marvel TV shows on Netflix are up to Netflix.

“I think people confuse the fact that we go to other networks as a sign that we’re not on ABC. The truth of the matter is that those shows weren’t appropriate for us to be on ABC. How do we know that? We talk to ABC and we talk about what is it that you’re looking for?”

In an interview in September, Loeb even indicated that there could be a possible second season of The Defenders as well as the addition of other Marvel characters that could become Defenders.

When asked about the second season of Defenders not coming back, Loeb answered bluntly:

“No, all we’ve ever said is that there are no plans right now [to do more]. It doesn’t mean that it’s off the table. And it doesn’t mean that it even has to be with the original characters that were in the first Defenders.”

He then went on to hint at other characters joining the Defenders:

“There are lots of Avengers, and through that, you should be able to ascertain that there may be lots of Defenders. No one at any time referred to them as “The Defenders” — they didn’t wear a little “D” on their belts, and they didn’t go to a building that had a big “Defenders” [sign] in the air. They were four mismatched heroes who were joined by a lot of the other heroes that are in the stories that we do on Netflix, but that was that particular story.”

But maybe the most interesting tidbit is that Loeb puts the cancellation of Marvel TV shows firmly on their partners.

“Speak to our friends at Netflix. Unlike the movie studio, which can announce a Captain Marvel movie will be out in 2019, the television studio will always be beholden to our networks, and so if our networks want another season of Iron Fist, we’re ready to go. We’re just waiting for the answer. The show’s been out of a week.”

Low Viewership Saw Luke Cage and Iron Fist Get The Axe

My takeaway is that Netflix saw low viewership when it came to Iron Fist and Luke Cage and they acted as most networks do when they see low viewership. They cancel it and begin work on another project. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another character introduced on Netflix like Blade or Ghost Rider to fill in for Luke Cage and Iron Fist. They would fit in with the darker vibe that Netflix has going on and the success they’ve seen with Daredevil and Jessica Jones.

What do you think were the reasons Luke Cage and Iron Fist got the axe? Do you think we will see new Marvel characters replace them?

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