Disney+ has finally decided to restore tributes to Reg E. Cathey and Stan Lee that were initially cut out of Luke Cage and The Punisher. Both MCU series are darker in tone and made their debut on Netflix originally. These shows are actually a part of the Defenders universe, which includes Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones.
When the rights to stream these shows lapsed for Netflix, these titles arrived at Disney+, stirring an inevitable discussion about whether these adult-oriented series were appropriate content for Disney+ which is known for its family streaming content – as Disney didn’t stream material rated higher than TV-14 earlier. This also prompted Disney to eventually add an age rating to its platform, allowing many parents to restrict what content their kids can stream on their accounts.
Why Was The Punisher’s tribute to Stan Lee controversial?
The Punisher‘s tribute to Stan Lee was controversial from the beginning. The tribute had a title card that “In Loving Memory of Stan Lee” which came at the end of the last episode of the second season. The series made its premiere about two months before Lee’s passing. A scene of gun violence abruptly turned black, at which point this card appeared on the screen – something that many viewers found particularly unsettling. Disney+ cut this title card for The Punisher’s premiere, but they had also cut a Luke Cage card which paid homage to Reg E. Cathey, who played the father of the lead hero, which also prompted the showrunner of Luke Cage, Cheo Hodari Coker to complain on social media.
Coker had written:
“I mean, why do this? Reg E Cathey was part of the heart and soul of Season Two. We didn’t feel obligated to dedicate the season to him just because he died — we felt obligated because we loved him and he was a galvanizing force.”
As per ComicBook.com, Disney+ has finally restored these two cut tributes to both its series. This comes about one week after the unfortunate omission was discovered. Right now, Disney+ hasn’t made any statement about the original tributes or their restoration.
The restoration of the tributes by Disney+ is good news!
Disney+ made its debut in 2019 – and the way it cut and eventually restored these tributes indicates a larger issue of identity for Disney+, which is now about 2 years old. Disney+ had also recently censored a violent scene from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, however, restored it later after audience complaints. As they continue to navigate what age rating they’d like themselves to have overall, Disney has continuously found themselves in troubled waters, provoking outcry against their censorship.
Disney made their cut from The Punisher to avoid this very controversy that Netflix had earlier found itself embroiled in. However, the cut of tribute from Luke Cage was likely an attempt to perhaps reset the timeline, preventing people from thinking that the series is from years ago and earlier was on a different streaming service. This happens to be a more troubling approach to honoring the legacy of the Defenders, so the restoration of the tributes should be taken as good news. But, without the efforts of fans across social media, Disney might have resumed nibbling on the products they find less savory.