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Missing Links: 15 Burning Questions After Bingewatching Luke Cage

by  in Lists, TV News Comment
Missing Links: 15 Burning Questions After Bingewatching Luke Cage

“Luke Cage” is the most recent Marvel superhero series on Netflix to dominate entertainment news. The series is making headlines for its solid storytelling, fantastic acting and its contribution to the diversity that’s so badly needed on TV. Moreover, comic book fans are digging “Luke Cage” because it remains generally faithful to its original source material, and because it has so many connections to the other Marvel series on Netflix, including “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.”

RELATED: 10 Classic “Luke Cage” Comics Aspects That Don’t Belong On Netflix

Characters also mention the Incident, as it has become known, from “Marvel’s The Avengers.” While the series was riveting, it left fans with as many questions as answers at the end of the 13 episodes. Some of the questions relate to other properties in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while others are about the future of the Netflix series. Let’s take a look at 15 of the most common questions about “Luke Cage.”

15. Will Luke Be Exonerated?

luke-cage-exonerated

The last time we saw Luke Cage, he was being escorted back to Seagate prison by two Federal Marshals. But in Episode 12, Mariah and Shades offered him a deal. If he went to the police and condemned Diamondback, they would give him a file full of evidence that would clear his name. That file went missing when all hell broke loose at Pop’s, courtesy of Diamondback. However, one of the last scenes has Bobby Fish finding the file under a table and holding it up for inspection.

Some fans argue that, because we know Luke Cage is part of the 2017 “The Defenders” on Netflix, his name will be cleared. That’s not necessarily true, because he could just break out of Seagate again. Possibly better proof is that, in the comics, Misty Knight and Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist, clear Luke’s name. Plus, in the TV series, Misty made a promise to Luke that she would do everything she could to prove his innocence. With Luke’s file back in a friend’s hands, Misty, and possibly Matt Murdock, fighting for him, all signs point to Luke Cage becoming a free man.

14. Will Luke And Claire Finally “Get Coffee?”

claire-luke-coffee

Although Claire told Luke early on in their friendship that she wasn’t going to sleep with him, by the end of the series, she made it clear that she had changed her mind. Before the Federal Marshals showed up at the police station to take Luke back to Seagate, Luke and Claire were enjoying a cozy dinner of Chinese take-out in the break room. After running her hand over Luke’s arm, Claire referenced a series-long double entendre, asking if he’d like to “get coffee” after they left.

Although Claire and Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil, hooked up, and Luke shared beds with Jessica Jones and Misty, the TV series seems to be drawing Claire and Luke together. Luke and Claire were even a couple for a short time in the comic books. And because we know Rosario Dawson, who plays Claire, will be in “The Defenders,” when we see Luke again, coffee seems to be a possibility in their near future.

13. Will Luke End Up With Jessica Jones?

jessica-jones

True Marvel fans might be saying, but what about Jessica Jones? In the comic books, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones pair up while working as bodyguards for Matt Murdock. They have a daughter and get married. In “Jessica Jones,” however, Luke was hurt pretty badly when he realized Jessica had been lying to him during their brief affair. Honesty is one of his most valued traits, in himself and in other people. Add in the fact that Jessica killed his wife, no matter that she was being controlled by Kilgrave, and Luke would have a difficult time getting past all that to be lovers again.

While Marvel has remained mostly true to the original comic books as source material for their various Netflix series, some of the plots and characters have changed. Luke and Claire seem destined to be a couple because they’re so smitten with each other, and Luke seems to be finished with Jessica.

12. What Will Pop’s Barber Shop Become?

pops-barbershop

Pop’s Barber Shop takes the prize for being the “Luke Cage” set that saw the most destruction. First Tone shot it all up and then Diamondback and Luke dismantled it in their final confrontation. Bobby Fish told Luke that Pop’s barbershop must not want to be a barbershop anymore. If so, what will happen to Harlem’s Switzerland and its iconic swear jar?

Making it a community center of some kind makes the most sense. Pop, himself, told Luke that one of the reasons he opened a barbershop was so that kids would have a safe place to go, rather than be on the streets. Bobby’s chess set will no doubt hold a special place, perhaps in addition to other gaming tables. Or, perhaps Marvel will draw on their source material to reclaim the space. Pop’s could become Luke and Danny Rand’s Heroes for Hire office, or even Misty’s Nightwing Restorations detective agency. Whatever Pop’s becomes, it will most likely continue serve as Luke’s base of operations.

11. What’s Happening To Willis In That Barn?

willis-stryker-diamondback

When we last we saw Willis Stryker, a.k.a. Diamondback, he was strapped to a table in the barn on Dr. Burstein’s property. We know that Dr. Burstein was able to salvage his research, even though Luke destroyed Dr. Burstein’s computer, thanks to Reva’s flash drive. We also know he wants to continue his work, because we saw how disappointed he was when Luke didn’t want to stick around for more testing.

Dr. Burstein needed a another guinea pig, and the severely injured Stryker fit the bill. Most likely, Stryker will emerge from that barn as some version of Luke Cage. In the comic books, Stryker was one of Luke’s best friends until he fell in with a group of criminals, but he didn’t possess any powers or special abilities in the comic books. On the Netflix series, however, the crazy armor and electrically-charged glove he used could be precursors to the powers that he’ll have after Dr. Burstein is finished with him.

10. Who Is Dr. Burstein Working For?

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Dr. Burstein never revealed who he was working for. Obviously, he wasn’t working for the prison, or he wouldn’t have been able to keep all of his old equipment. But certain connections between Dr. Burstein’s work and the other Marvel series on Netflix might point to who is paying him for his research.

For instance, the experiments he was running at the prison seemed to be focused on giving a man super strength and a fast healing ability, which are hallmarks of the super soldier project that made Steve Rogers into Captain America. In “Jessica Jones,” Will Simpson, a former soldier, took pills prescribed to him by Dr. Koslov to enhance his strength, speed and healing. He admitted he was part of an experimental program that gave him those pills. In Marvel comic books, the Commission on Superhuman Activities created a superhuman nicknamed Nuke, who is very similar to Simpson. Perhaps Dr. Burstein and Dr. Koslov are working for the same shadowy organization, who also may have given Jessica her abilities.

9. Are Mariah And Shades A Couple?

mariah-shades-luke-cage

To date, the actors who play Mariah and Shades, Alfre Woodard and Theo Rossi respectively, aren’t listed in the cast of “The Defenders,” which means we won’t know their fates until “Luke Cage” Season 2 drops (assuming it does). However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen enough clues to be able to guess what’s going on between these two. Mariah and Shades seem to have a love/hate relationship. Well, mostly hate, but as any good psychologist will tell you, the line between love and hate is very fine. Mariah made no bones about how much she disliked Shades.

After the death of her cousin, Cottonmouth, however, she seemed drawn to him. One could say she knew she needed Shades to help her navigate the shark-infested waters of Harlem’s criminal world. But in Episode 12, their scene in Mariah’s posh dining room is charged with tension that wavers between animosity and sexual attraction. Fast forward to the end of the last episode when Mariah chews on Shades’ lips and he seems to like it. Maybe these two are together for business purposes, but regardless, they are clearly “together.”

8. Did Reva Really Betray Luke?

reva-luke-cage

For most of “Luke Cage” and part of “Jessica Jones,” Luke talks about his late wife like she was a saint. By the end of “Jessica Jones,” we get a hint that Reva wasn’t the person she seemed to be when, in a flashback, we see her burying a flash drive under the concrete of a newly constructed building. Then, in “Luke Cage,” we find out that not only did she lie to Luke about knowing the prisoners of Seagate were being forced to fight each other, but also she was a key player in choosing which prisoners would be picked for the program.

Seeing Luke’s face as he watched Reva’s research videos, when she details her process for selecting him for the boxing ring, was like watching a puppy get left by the side of the road. Although Claire tries to appease Luke by telling him that Reva risked her life to help him escape, the damage is done. The only way Reva could be cleared posthumously, is if we find out she had changed her mind about the program once she met Luke. Remember that, in that hotel room, she thanked him for saving her.

7. Will Mariah Let Her Assistant Live Through Season 2?

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Nearly every time Alex, Mariah’s young assistant, opens his mouth to protest something, it’s very possible he’ll get a bullet in the head. Alex managed to help steer Mariah through the PR storm of the century, but his wily plan to use Damon Boone’s death, as well as a community rally at Harlem’s Paradise and Luke Cage’s nebulous status to put Mariah back at the top of Harlem’s town council was genius.

However, more than once, Mariah, and sometimes Shades, gave Alex looks that meant he was being closely monitored. Just about anyone who knew anything about Mariah’s shady dealings is dead, like Cottonmouth, Scarfe and Candace. Alex needs to play his cards carefully in the future to make sure Mariah and Shades don’t think he’s either overstepping his position, or getting to know too many of their secrets. He may be a valuable asset to them now, but they’ve proven more than once that their loyalties can easily change.

6. Will We Meet Luke’s Father?

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The only time we see Luke’s father is in the background of a flashback scene set in the church where Luke grew up. Nevertheless, Luke and Stryker talk about him enough throughout the season for us to know that Luke’s father is the man who set the series’ events into motion decades before.

Luke talked about how his father was ashamed of him when he went to prison. Stryker talked about how he had been the apple of their father’s eye until Luke, a miracle baby, came along. And even though they shared a father, and were best friends, it was Luke who got all the advantages of an education and a caring father, while Stryker was left to his own devices, eventually falling in with a criminal organization. Now that Luke is headed back to Georgia, it’s possible his father will finally visit him in prison. Or, if Luke is successful at clearing his name, we might see a reconciliation between father and son.

5. What About The Shrapnel In Luke’s Shoulder?

luke-cage-shrapnel

Luke Cage is billed as the bulletproof man. So when a bullet pierces his gut and blows up inside him, sending shrapnel into the tissue around his organs, no one knows how to save him. Before Claire can figure out how to remove the shrapnel, Diamondback shoots him again, this time in the shoulder. Fast forward to Dr. Burstein’s barn in Georgia where Claire and Dr. Burstein are figuring out a way to remove the shrapnel and save Luke.

They finally combine the right elements and Claire, using an ultrasound machine as a guide, removes the shrapnel from his abdomen. Then, they bring him back out of the acid bath and Luke recovers. Wait, what? What about the Judas Bullet Luke took in the shoulder? No one mentioned that it passed through clean, so the assumption is that the same thing that happened in Luke’s gut happened in his shoulder. Why didn’t they remove the shrapnel from his shoulder? Will the shrapnel in his shoulder make him weak in “The Defenders?” More than likely, the showrunners felt that dealing with the shrapnel in Luke’s torso was enough drama to be getting on with and decided to gloss over his shoulder injury.

4. Who Is Making The Bullets With “Alien Metal” Tips Anyway?

alien-metal-judas-bullets

The only bullets that are able to pierce Luke Cage’s skin are giant Judas bullets, shot from a high-powered rifle, and tipped with alien metal. During the community-rally-turned-hostage-situation, Mariah is able to sell Judas bullets to the entire NYPD branch in Harlem. That’s a lot of bullets: hundreds, if not thousands. So, who is making these bullets and where is the alien metal coming from?

Early on in “Luke Cage,” Shades introduces the Judas bullet to Cottonmouth, saying that they’re made by Hammer Industries. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may remember that Hammer Industries was the rival company to Stark Industries in “Iron Man 2.” Justin Hammer, CEO, was sentenced to Seagate after his plot to have Tony Stark killed was revealed. Perhaps Hammer Industries obtained alien metal from the Chitauri ships and weapons that rained from the sky during the Incident to arm the SWAT team. Or maybe they’re mining Antarctic Vibranium, an indestructible alien metal (all traces of it date back to meteorites crashing into Earth thousands of years ago) in Marvel comics that causes vibrations. Regardless of the source for alien metal, as long as Luke Cage is around, someone will be packing Judas bullets.

3. Does Misty Have Psychic Abilities Or Is She Just Good At Her Job?

misty-luke-cage

Misty Knight is known on the police force for being able to see what happened at a crime scene, even when she didn’t witness the event. She spends a lot of time staring at a wall of photos or a taped-off crime scene, which allows her to reconstruct the sequence of events in her imagination, complete with the suspects. Does she have a psychic ability?

Officially no. Her colleagues even tease her about her talent, but she doesn’t have any super powers that allow her to see the past. She does, however, have fantastic powers of deduction and a sharp instinct. Perhaps her subconscious whispered to her every time her traitorous partner, Scarfe, went out on assignment alone. Or, like Sherlock Holmes, she sees tiny details that come together like puzzle pieces. Even Inspector Ridley tells Misty she’s one of the best cops she’s ever met. While Misty does seem to have a sixth sense and even has technopathy (the ability to manipulate technology) in the comics, she doesn’t actually possess any supernatural abilities in the series. For now, anyway.

2. Will Misty Or Claire Suit Up?

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In most superhero shows, eventually everyone becomes a superhero. “Luke Cage” featured a lot of well-known characters from Marvel comic books, including Misty Knight and Claire Temple. Is it possible one of them will become a superhero? The Claire we know from “Luke Cage” is actually a combination of two different characters from the comics. There’s Claire Temple, a doctor, who is first introduced in the second Luke Cage comic book, and Linda Carter, the lead character in the “Night Nurse” series.

However, Claire is not a superhero in either of those series, just a very good health practician. Although, at the end of “Luke Cage,” she snags a phone number for a self-defense class taught by Colleen Wing, a Daughter of the Dragon in the comic books. Misty Knight, on the other hand, is a superhero in the comic books. She has a bionic arm, courtesy of Tony Stark, and is the other Daughter of the Dragon. Since both of these characters have shown they can take care of themselves in a fight and have connections to the Iron Fist, either on Netflix or in comic books, either one of them may become a superhero in future episodes.

1. When Will “Luke Cage” Season 2 Premiere?

luke-cage-season-2

To date, Netflix’s roster of Marvel superhero series is rather full. Netflix has made a habit of releasing two seasons per year of Marvel superhero shows, one in the spring and another in the fall. That’s a fast production pace, considering how much work goes into shooting each season. So far, Netflix has dropped “Daredevil” Seasons 1 and 2, the first season of “Jessica Jones” and the first season of “Luke Cage.” Next up, “Iron Fist” debuts on Netflix on March 17, 2017. After that, “The Defenders” will premiere in September 2017.

“The Punisher” series, which is currently filming in New York City, is also set to debut sometime in 2017. “Jessica Jones” Season 2 is slated for early 2018, and “Daredevil” Season 3 is lined up behind it. Unless one of those in-development shows gets bumped, that puts a second season of “Luke Cage” in 2019. Neither Netflix nor Marvel have announced a second season, but considering “Luke Cage” crashed Netflix when it debuted due to its popularity, as well as has garnered considerable critical praise, it’s a good bet there will be another season.

Did we fill in some blanks for you about “Luke Cage?” Still have other questions you want answered? Let us know in the comments below!

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