Two of the biggest surprises of 2015 were the incredible successes of Marvel’s Netflix shows, Daredevil and Jessica Jones. As half of the team that will eventually become The Defenders, Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones brought a maturity and grittiness to their solo series that hadn’t previously been seen in the MCU. While we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Netflix and Marvel have remained pretty secretive about exactly when these shows might be released. However, is it possible we already have enough information to guess when we may see these shows premiere? By looking at some important production dates for Jessica Jones and both seasons of Daredevil, we just might be able to take a guess.
Daredevil Season 1
Showrunner Announced: Drew Goddard was announced as the showrunner in December 2013, but Stephen DeKnight was announced as his replacement on May 24, 2014. (321 Days Before Premiere)
Star Announced: May 27th, 2014 (318 Days Before Premiere)
Production Begins: July 2014 (~265 Days Before Premiere)
Production Ends: December 21st, 2014 (110 Days Before Premiere)
Release Date: April 10th, 2015
Showrunner Announced: Melissa Rosenberg had been attached to the project since long before it was even announced as a Netflix property, but she was officially announced as showrunner on November 12, 2013. (738 Days Before Premiere)
Star Announced: December 4th, 2014 (351 Days Before Premiere)
Production Begins: February 5th, 2015 (289 Days Before Premiere)
Production Ends: July 25th, 2015 (119 Days Before Premiere)
Release Date: November 20th, 2015
Daredevil Season 2
Showrunner Announced: Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez were announced as Stephen DeKnight’s replacements on April 21, 2015. (333 Days Before Premiere)
Star Announced: N/A
Production Begins: July 6th, 2015 (257 Days Before Premiere)
Production Ends: December 20th, 2015 (89 Days Before Premiere)
Release Date: March 18th, 2016
Now, that’s all well and good, but do these numbers actually tell us anything that we don’t already know? The dates that the showrunners were announced don’t really tell us much, since Daredevil season 1 had a showrunner replacement and Jessica Jones had a showrunner long before the project was even announced. Likewise, the date that the star was announced won’t tell us much, because Mike Colter was cast as Luke Cage for an entirely different show, so that information probably won’t provide much of a clue as to its premiere. The dates that seem to matter most in this case are the start and end dates for production. With only a 32-day variance between the three known start dates, and a 30-day variance between the three known end dates, these dates provide a great deal of information for future projects. We know that, on average, Marvel’s Netflix shows premiere 270 days after production begins and 106 days after production ends. While Luke Cage hasn’t wrapped production yet, we do know that filming began on August 18, 2015. This would put Luke Cage‘s premiere date as early as May 14, 2016.
While we don’t have the most important data for Iron Fist, that doesn’t mean we can’t make a rough guess as to its release date as well. The only piece of information we have for Iron Fist is that showrunner Scott Buck was announced on December 7, 2015. Removing Melissa Rosenberg as an outlier, we see that the showrunners for each season of Daredevil were announced 321 and 333 days before each season’s release date, respectively. Furthermore, if Luke Cage releases in mid-to-late May of 2016, that would mean that Cheo Hodari Coker was announced as showrunner roughly 420 days before the estimated release date. These three numbers give us an average of 358 days, or about one year, between the announcement of a showrunner and the release of a show.
These (admittedly very rough) calculations place the release date for Iron Fist in December 2016, which would mean we’d get three new Netflix releases this year. In a way, this makes a lot of sense. Starting in 2017, the film side of Marvel Studios will bump up to three new releases per year, and Netflix has stated that it plans to double its original programming output in 2016. This might also explain the early release date for the second season of Daredevil, which is premiering almost a full month earlier in the year than season one.
So if Marvel and Netflix are planning on squeezing in a third show before the year is out, when should we expect to see production begin on Iron Fist? Well, working backwards with the average of 270 days between the start of production and release, a December release date would require production to begin on Iron Fist by mid-March.
With the Winter 2016 Press Tour for the Television Critics Association currently underway, all different channels and outlets have been providing new details about their upcoming programming. Last week, when it was ABC’s turn to talk about their upcoming programs, they took the time to confirm the pilot order for Marvel’s Most Wanted as well as announce a surprise second comedy project in development. On January 17th, it will be Netflix’s time to impress us with their upcoming projects, and it seems very possible that we might get confirmation on a release date for Luke Cage, and a casting announcement for Danny Rand himself isn’t out of the question– especially if production is to begin as early as March.
What do you think? Did we mess up our math? Is it unrealistic to hope for three Netflix shows in the same year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. If there’s one thing we can agree on, though, it’s that 2016 will be another huge year for Marvel Television.