One thing that can be said about Marvel Entertainment is that they aren’t afraid to play the long game with their live-action properties. From cameos by Nick Fury and Thanos setting the stage for the future of the MCU to a two season slow burn revealing Skye as Daisy Johnson, the company has proven that they are willing to risk their payoff on a longer wait. Given that track record, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Marvel’s Netflix universe follow suit and the upcoming Luke Cage may prove the perfect stepping off point.
Among the many characters to be introduced in the series, the one with the most potential to set up a future payoff is Theo Rossi’s Shades Alvarez. This iteration of Shades looks to be a member of Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes crime organization and having an actor of Rossi’s caliber gives the role definite weight. However (and this may be the only time this could be said about one of Rossi’s roles), it’s not the character of Shades Alvarez that fuels the fire of this speculation. In the comics, Shades’ son, Victor Alvarez, grew up to become a much more well-known figure: the second Power Man.
Victor Alvarez first appeared as a part of Marvel Comics Shadowland event (an event that many people believe may be adapted in the upcoming Defenders series or a future Netflix series). In the midst of a battle between Daredevil and Bullseye, Victor both lost his father and gained his incredible chi-absorbing powers. Victor used his powers to absorb the chi of one of Iron Fists former martial arts students, thus mastering the fighting style, and to protect Spanish Harlem as Power Man, the name once used by Luke Cage. Power Man has most recently appeared in the pages of Al Ewing’s New Avengers as a member of Bobby da Costa’s reformed A.I.M. squad.
Without having seen the show, there’s no way to confirm whether or not a young Victor Alvarez might appear; however, given Marvel’s propensity for playing the long game, it seems like a wasted opportunity if he doesn’t. If Marvel plans to continue its relationship with Netflix, planting the seeds for potential future heroes is a must. To be fair, they’ve already begun the process by leaving Trish Walker’s future open and name dropping Angela Del Toro in Jessica Jones. Despite rumors of a potential White Tiger series being developed, there’s been nothing to confirm it as yet, but knowing that the Del Toro family is out there in the MCU leaves it open to the possibility. Speaking of the Del Toro family, one of Victor’s closest friends and allies is Ava Ayala, the current White Tiger and aunt of Angela Del Toro. Ayala would be another great candidate for a name drop or a cameo at some point in Luke Cage or a future Netflix series.
At this point, there’s no clear path for the future of Marvel and Netflix’s relationship that has been shared with the public. Marvel has said they hope to continue to produce quality shows and as long as they do so, it’s fair to assume Netflix, which intends to continue pursuing original programming, will work with them. With Marvel already developing Cloak and Dagger, Runaways and New Warriors, it’s not outside the range of possibilities to imagine them developing another teen-based series set in the Netflix world. If it were to happen, they number of young heroes from which they could draw would be enormous. Depending on how they intend to proceed, they could produce an Avengers Academy series or simply pull from the impressive pool of characters developed in that comic series. Whatever the case, heroes like Victor Alvarez certainly seem to fit in the mold of Marvel’s Netflix universe and would continue to grow the MCU.
With Luke Cage premiering on Netflix in less than a week, we’ll soon find out if Marvel has plans for the Power Man.