Sweet Christmas, indeed — the first official trailer for Marvel’s upcoming “Luke Cage” series on Netflix has dropped, and it’s a doozy. The teaser trailer released at Comic-Con International was a lot of fun, but it didn’t nearly go as deep into the series, or give a sense of what it will be about, as much as the latest look.
“Luke Cage” is a big deal when it comes to superhero shows. The character made history as the first Black superhero to star in his own ongoing comic series, and is now making the way to the airwaves as the only leading Black superhero in the current landscape of comic book TV. He’s not the first — but he’s the first of his kind.
“Luke Cage” has the opportunity to tackle mature and complex themes, thanks to being released on Netflix, which allows for edgier content. “Luke Cage” looks to show a bolder, grittier side of superheroes that was first touched on in “Daredevil,” and furthered in “Jessica Jones.” The diversity of the series is well on display in the trailer, indicating that this isn’t like any superhero story that’s been told in live-action before.
The series also marks a move closer to the hotly anticipated Marvel/Netflix series “The Defenders,” which will feature Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones in an all-out crossover for the first time in live-action. “Luke Cage” not only adds flavor to the established Marvel Cinematic Universe, but likely offers further hints at what to expect in “The Defenders.”
To make sense of everything going on in the “Luke Cage” trailer — and there’s a lot — CBR breaks down all the major takeaways and teases revealed in the new footage. Check out our list below, and be sure to watch the trailer again to see if there’s anything we missed!
9. The Secret Origin of Luke Cage
After meeting Luke Cage as a supporting character in Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” series, it looks like the hero’s solo series will reveal his origin. Though there’s obviously a lot more to the story, the trailer offers fans a serious glimpse of the experiments that transformed Luke from a prisoner volunteering as a scientific test subject to a full-fledged superhero. “I was put in some tank, like an exotic fish,” Luke recalls, the anger evident in his voice. “Came out with… abilities.” Abilities — and a serious nod to the groovy tiara and gauntlets Luke Cage sported throughout the ’70s!
There’s a real Wolverine vibe to Luke Cage in this trailer, considering the lab experimentation element and the darkness surrounding his origin. We imagine the origin will greatly inform the internal character of Luke, and expect the series to complete his arc of accepting his past, and moving forward — alongside friends and fellow heroes he can trust — for “The Defenders.”
Harlem’s presented in a positive light, despite the criminal underbelly Luke will be battling in the traditionally gritty New York City neighborhood. After the unrelenting dreariness of Hell’s Kitchen explored in “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” and the terroristic fears “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”â€‚deals in, “Luke Cage” looks to be a nice, unexpected change of pace for a Marvel Television project. No, this isn’t a Saturday morning cartoon take on the character; there’s obviously a lot of violence and strife to be dealt with by Luke and his friends, and the show will most likely be just as violent as its Netflix predecessors — but still, it’s got a fun, light humor to it that adds a special Marvel-y touch to things. You did see that fist wobble upon impact with Luke’s jaw, right? Still, this trailer makes it clear that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. They just need to continue to fight until they reach it.
7. Misty Knight
“Luke Cage” is hopefully keeping Simone Missick’s fan favorite detective in the background so they can shine a big spotlight on her later. But Missick’s Misty isn’t totally missing from this first trailer; we get to see her stand up to Luke Cage and tell him that while he’s bulletproof, “Harlem ain’t.” We also get a flash of her doing her job as a detective, running through a hallway and drawing her gun. And then we get a third look at the superhero-in-the-making, standing in a knockout blue dress as Luke turns to face her, the steam from the city’s streets flowing in-between them and making the pair look like bonafide movie stars. We hope that there’s plenty more of Misty to see in the show — and we also hope that we get to see more of her in the future trailers.
6. Hero with a Cause
Despite being one-half of Marvel Comics’ Heroes for Hire, Luke is motivated by a need to protect his neighborhood and its residents, not a desire to get rich. Yes, the comic version is at the same place now, but it took him years of stories to get there. It’s nice to see the TV version apparently starting out from a more enlightened stance than his predecessor. That said, there is a learning curve hinted at in the trailer “You might be bulletproof,” Luke is told by Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Dillard, “but Harlem ain’t.” Despite his seemingly laudable goals to rid the streets of crime, Luke Cage has a few lessons to learn on his road to becoming a true hero and not an irresponsible vigilante.
“Luke Cage” provides a window into the character’s early life as a hero that isn’t often touched on in the comics. It’s nice to see that the series can add an extra dimension to the character, rather than rehashing existing source material. While the series boasts the same Luke Cage we know and love from the comics, it looks to have its own special flavor to the Hero for Hire’s mythos.
5. Rosario Dawson Ties It All Together
it was no secret her character, Claire Temple, was part of “Luke Cage,” but she appears to be a central figure in the series. The snippet of her speech to Luke, explaining, “sometimes if you want justice, you have to get it yourself,” is likely a major reason why he decides to use his powers to help other people, as he was hesitant to do so in “Jessica Jones.” Claire’s got firsthand knowledge of this, having dealt with her share of super-human vigilantes in “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.” And “Luke Cage” comes hot on the heels of her appearance in “Daredevil’s” second season, which saw her nursing career end. She’s been an important figure across the Marvel/Netflix series so far, and it looks as though she’s once again poised to have a massive impact on yet another. Now, we’re just counting down the days until Marvel announces that Dawson will return in “Iron Fist”!
4. Harlem’s Own Kingpin
Meet Cottonmouth, Mahershala Ali’s criminal character who will be raising hell across Harlem, eventually drawing the attention and ire of Luke Cage. His reach may not be as massive as Wilson Fisk’s, but if the trailer is any indication, Ali’s crime lord is every bit as dangerous, and perhaps even more violent than Daredevil’s main antagonist. There’s also an arrogance to Cottonmouth, whose expression while saying, “Everybody wants to be the king,” gives us the sense that he’ll welcome the challenge a bulletproof, super-strong hero will provide his criminal empire. Of course, he’ll probably regret coming up on Luke’s radar sooner than later…
Just like Vincent D’Onofrio did for “Daredevil,” Ali elevates the gravity of “Luke Cage” with his incredible acting chops. The actor has proved his tremendous ability on “House of Cards” and in “The Hunger Games,” among other projects, so we know there’ll be plenty to chew on from Ali’s performance as Cottonmouth in “Luke Cage.”
3. Reluctant Hero
In keeping with his characterization in “Jessica Jones,” the “Luke Cage” trailer indicates that the bulletproof hero is still a reluctant crimefighter when his solo series kicks off. We hear Luke lament, “I just want to be left alone.” Unfortunately for Luke, the apparent demise of a loved one (is that Pops he’s crying over in the barber shop?) combined with, and most likely a result of, Cottonmouth’s tightening grip on Harlem means that Luke can’t sit on the sidelines and mind his own business. Well, he can, but it turns out that protecting Harlem is his business, even if it takes a while for Luke to realize this fact of life.
We know Luke’s lone wolf mentality won’t last for long, considering the eminent formation of “The Defenders,” so we’re curious to see what changes in Luke over the course of the series. When will Luke realize he needs a team? And what consequences will come from that learning curve?
2. No Masks
“Too much happens in the shadows. People fear what they can’t see,” Claire tells Luke, encouraging him to become a symbol of hope for Harlem. Later, when confronted by a television reporter and asked “Why don’t you just tell us your name?” Luke pulls back his hoodie from his head and faces the cameras full-on rather than running and hiding. Considering how much of a reluctant hero he’s been since debuting in “Jessica Jones,” this could be a redefining moment for the character, where he pulls an “Iron Man” and owns up to his possibly secret identity. But The clip cuts out before we hear his response, but we can only hope he tells them to call him Power Man!
The trailer indicates that this isn’t the same Luke Cage we saw in “Jessica Jones” — he’s a different kind of hero now. It’ll be interesting to see what informed the change in Luke.
1. Luke Cage: The First Defender?
It’s not a secret that Marvel and Netflix have been heading towards a “Defenders” series — after all, it was included alongside the original announcement of the Marvel/Netflix deal back in 2013 — but until recently, the team name has been largely absent from the marketing for the individual series. This trailer, however, places the soon to be ubiquitous team moniker right in our face, with the declaration that “The city has a new defender,” announced not via voiceover, but in text form, splashed across the screen in a bold, weathered-yellow font. The presence of “defender” in the trailer makes us wonder if Luke will be the founder of the team, or at least be the hero who instigates the formation of “The Defenders,” in the new series. We doubt there’ll be too much focus on “The Defenders,” but “Luke Cage” definitely looks to be a major step in the direction of the highly-anticipated team-up series.
Notice anything else from the “Luke Cage” trailer worth pointing out? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts!
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