By now, we all know why this is a big week for Marvel Studios: Doctor Strange comes out in just a few weeks! But wait, isn’t there something else on the horizon? The answer is yes, but Marvel’s other project is much closer than being on the horizon, it’s practically here; Luke Cage drops 13 episodes on Netflix this Friday.
With the inundation of Doctor Strange news from the movie side of the MCU, we thought we’d give Luke a little love with 10 things to be excited for in Luke Cage.
1) Misty Knight
At this point, it’s no secret that we’ll see the MCU debut (which will also serve as the live-action debut) of Misty Knight, a popular heroine from the comics. A strong, black, female hero is exactly what the diversity-starved MCU needs to make it more realistic and relatable. Not to mention, she’s a kick-ass character with a rich history, and apparently, Simone Missick is the perfect choice for the role. There have even been rumors of Knight appearing in Iron Fist and maybe even getting her own spin-off, so she’s sure to have a major impact on the MCU.
2) Alfre Woodard
What’s better than a television show featuring a strong, black, female character like Misty Knight? Featuring a second. While Woodard’s character Mariah Dillard is set to be a villain, she joins an exclusive club of female villains in the MCU, that come Friday, will include… only her. Woodard is an Oscar-nominated actress that will be more than able to carry the weight of being the first major female villain in the MCU, and her performance is sure to be legendary. While it’s confusing that she appeared as a different character in Captain America: Civil War, we got to see a glimpse of what she can do in the MCU, and I think we can all agree that we liked what we saw.
3) The Villains
One of the MCU’s biggest downfalls is the lack of compelling villains. That being said, the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven to produce some incredible villains. Be it because of the 13 hours of footage allowing for more character development, or simply a creative team geared more toward the darker parts of the MCU, shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones boasted some great villains, and Luke Cage will likely do the same. The show is slated to introduce viewers to Mahershala Ali’s Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth, Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Dillard, Theo Rossi’s Shades Alvarez, and Erik LaRay Harvey’s Willis Stryker/Diamondback. This may prove to be a handful for the studio, but I have no doubt these will be of the same caliber as Wilson Fisk and Kilgrave.
4) MCU Connections
One of the best parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the tendency to mention other properties. Luke Cage will no doubt contain a few tongue-in-cheek references to Marvel movies or shows, and we know that Rosario Dawson will reprise her role as Claire Temple, one of the MCU’s biggest dot-connectors. It’s also been rumored that Krysten Ritter will appear as Jessica Jones and that Finn Jones will debut as Danny Rand. Regardless, the connections between the Marvel properties are always fun, especially amongst the television shows.
5) A New Setting
The Defenders and the shows centering around each of its members will all take place in New York, but until this point, we’ve only seen Hell’s Kitchen. Luke Cage will bring us to Harlem, and introduce us to a whole new part of the world. We’ve heard several people talk about their affinities for Hell’s Kitchen, so seeing a new part of town will be a refreshing change and will open several more doors for The Defenders to eventually expand.
6) The Music
One of Luke Cage’s biggest selling points is the music. Over and over again, cast and crew members, critics, and fans have given nothing but praise to the soundtrack of the show, which will feature East-Coast hip-hop in a prominent way. At this point, all the information we have tells us that the music will play a big part in the show, with the nightclubs set to be featured even playing host to real musicians several times. With each episode named after an old Gang Starr song, it’s hard not to be excited for what kind of music the rest of the show will bring.
7) More Luke Cage
It would be an injustice to create a list of the most exciting things in Luke Cage and not mention the hero himself. From the moment he appeared in Jessica Jones, Mike Colter and the character he helped to sculpt have been fan-favorites. Having a unique understanding of the character, and having been cited as delivering an outstanding performance, Colter and Cage are both more than likely to please.
8) Cheo Hodari Coker
Somewhat of an up-and-comer, showrunner Cheo Hodari Cocker has proved his worth writing on a series titled Southland (giving him two Image Award nominations for Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series, one of which he won), and for writing the film Notorious (earning him another Image Award nom and a Black Reel Award nomination). Notorious details the story of Notorious B.I.G. and his relationship with Tupac, so the East-Coast vibe is nothing new to the writer. Early reviews of the show have been stellar, and that is due largely in part to Coker.
9) World Building
It’s time for the studio to start thinking about The Defenders, which is set to debut next year. With Luke and his power set having been introduced in Jessica Jones, the show can afford some time to start putting the pieces of The Defenders puzzle together. They could introduce a larger threat that the heroes can’t tackle on their own, they could introduce Matt Murdock to Luke, or even give Misty Knight her bionic arm. Regardless of the route they take, Luke Cage will be pivotal in the development of the Defenders story.
10) The Cultural Importance
It’s been discussed over and over again now, sometimes by showrunners, sometimes by actors, others by us here at MCUExchange. Regardless of how much you’ve read about how important Luke Cage will be to the American political climate surrounding race, it’s clear that it’s going to be huge. A television show that stars an almost entirely black cast in both hero and villain roles during the second coming of the Civil Rights Movement will set a stellar example for generations to come. Not every television show has that opportunity, or that ability, which makes Luke Cage all the more exciting.