Last night, I was really trying to go to bed on time (or early). Who was I kidding, though? This is San Diego Comic-Con week; there was BOUND to be some insane entertainment news hitting. I wasn't ready for that Luke Cage footage, though; there was a rumor earlier this week that a "brand new" Marvel show would be releasing a trailer on Saturday. I figured THAT was when I'd get my Luke Cage fix (or something from the rest of the Marvel TV / Netflix contingent).
Boy was I wrong.
While there's only so much one can pick up from a teaser that's roughly 90 seconds long, and mostly features Luke Cage beating everyone's ass, I can't help it; I want to understand what Luke Cage will be about before it hits Netflix on September 30. What better way to do that then take a look at the different scenes, which should help us figure out what's happened to Luke since the events of Jessica Jones.
NOTE: If you've not made it through Jessica Jones, you might get spoiled. Also, why haven't you made it through Jessica Jones yet?!
Luke Cage decides to start busting heads...for the community
When we last saw Luke Cage (aside from that brief sequence at the end of season two of Daredevil), he dipped on Jessica Jones after healing from their intense battle. He'd finally found out about Jessica's hand in the death of his wife, Reva, and it seems like he was tired of being hurt over the people he loved. This is echoed at the very beginning, when an older gentleman who seems to be a confidant who knows who and what Luke really is tells him that he "should be out there helping people," which Luke admits is something Reva's also said.
The hypnotic piano loop of ODB's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" hits, and we're then introduced to what it probably looks like when Luke Cage decides to start "helping people."
Luke Cage is strong af
This probably goes without saying, as we got a taste of what Luke could do in Jessica Jones, but it's still amazing to see the sheer power of someone like Luke Cage on display. As the next sequence opens, Luke rips a car door off of a vehicle outside, and not only uses it to help him bust through some project doors, but it also acts as both a shield to defend himself against a bunch of gun-toting hooligans, but also as a restraint for one particularly unlucky guy.
It's not like he NEEDS the door to be his shield; there's also a sequence where Luke takes a clip or two (or twenty?) of bullets, throwing mad holes in his black hoodie, but they don't phase him. Don't forget, he's not only super strong, but he's practically invincible (if you saw the Marvel/Netflix sizzle reel, there was one particularly gruesome punch that was in there).
While their meeting is short, we do get to see Luke interact with Cornell Stokes, aka the villain known as Cottonmouth (played by Mahershala Ali). In the brief interaction, Cottonmouth comments on how Luke is now "Harlem's hero," laughing at the concept. Luke quickly shoots back that he's "just getting started" right before the teaser ends.
Who is Cottonmouth, though? Cottonmouth's a villain that has interacted with Luke Cage for years in the comic books. He's heavy in the drug game, but given that he's rocking suits as opposed to more casual attire, you'd have to imagine that he's in deeper and is moving way more money than your average corner boy. In the books, it was Cage's thought that Cottonmouth's crew played a part in Cage getting incarcerated years ago, leading him to infiltrate Cottonmouth's ranks in order to investigate. It's hard to tell how their comic book past will translate to the Netflix series, but it ain't hard to tell that they don't fuck with each other, and at some point they're going to clash.
Everything we didn't get to see
Sadly, this is all anyone who hasn't attended Comic-Con in San Diego got to see. /Film did report, however, that Marvel TV and Netflix showed four other clips from Luke Cage, giving us a deeper look at what Marvel's third solo series on Netflix has in store.
- There's an extended clip of the post-Daredevil sequence we saw of Luke in a boxing gym, quipping about how he's "sick of always having to buy new clothes" (you know, because bullets).
- A scene where Cottonmouth and Mariah Dillard (aka "Black Mariah," who is played by Alfre Woodard) discussing the havoc Luke Cage has caused. Cottonmouth is said to be furious, with a bat in hand.
- They were introduced to Misty Knight, who's played by Simone Missick and isn't able to resist Luke's charms. Misty's a legend in the world of Marvel, having gone from being a part of the NYPD to running her own hero service, Heroes for Hire. It's unknown what her role in the series is at this time, but one has to imagine that she's seeking to rid the crime from Hell's Kitchen. Misty HAS dated Luke in the comics, but Luke's also married to Jessia Jones in the comics, so it'll be interesting to see how their, ahem, relationship would work in The Defenders or in the next season of Jessica Jones.
- Cottonmouth beats the shit out of someone who's done him wrong. There's a description of this image of The Notorious B.I.G. in the scene, which is dope considering that Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker not only wrote Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of The Notorious B.I.G., but he has a co-writing credit on the 2009 Notorious B.I.G biopic Notorious. It's also good to point out that this scene reportedly features a character named Shades in it; Shades is another member of Luke Cage's world, and if he's linked up with Cottonmouth, it's going to get VERY hot in Harlem this September.
We're still a bit away from getting a solid idea on what Luke Cage will deal with, story-wise, but Coker and company truly seem to have crafted a series that could be, as Coker put it, "The Wire of Marvel television." The impressive teaser should have you open, especially if you're a '90s hip-hop loving comic book head. Mark your calendars: September 30th is right around the corner.