Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’ Trailer and History

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Marvel and Netflix currently hold the title for best relationship in media, and Luke Cage is another chapter in their romance.

When Marvel first announced that they were creating a cinematic universe for Netflix, it was revealed that their ultimate goal was to create a Defenders film to be released in 2017.  Marvel decided that the character of Luke Cage would be part of the universe.

Fans of the series Jessica Jones are already familiar with the character of Luke Cage as he played the role of Jones’ love interest. Cage is being played by Mike Colter, whose performance in the Jessica Jones series is the key reason why I am looking forward to this show. Colter plays Cage as an immensely powerful man with a very passive, laid back demeanor, or to put it plainly, cool. Luke Cage is equal parts power and cool. Marvel did as they normally do, set up a character in a franchise to generate interest in another project. So what will Luke Cage be doing in this new series?

Marvel’s plot summary:

After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive trying to rebuild his life in modern-day Harlem, New York City. But he is soon pulled out of the shadows and must fight a battle for the heart of his city–forcing him to confront a past he had tried to bury.

The trailer, much like Cage himself, is soulful and powerful and borrows many tones for the African-American action films the character was born out of. It also gives a sense of Harlem, the community it is set in, which many feel is almost a character itself in the series. Currently, the trailer, which was released two days ago, has over 2 million views on YouTube. It looks as if the trailer and the show will be another great success for Marvel and Netflix.

The character of Luke Cage came about in 1972 in Hero for Hire issue #1. One could argue that the character was designed to capitalize on the popularity of Blaxploitation films of the period such as Shaft and Superfly. Marvel wanted a character that depicted societal struggles in African-American culture at the time.

Luke Cage in his Original Costume
Luke Cage in his Original Costume

This is a Summary of the character of Luke Cage from Marvel’s own WIKI:

Born and raised in Harlem, Carl Lucas spent his youth in a gang called the Bloods. With his friend Willis Stryker, he fought the rival gang the Diablos and committed petty thefts, often on behalf of deformed crimelord Sonny Caputo, a.k.a. Hammer. In and out of juvenile homes throughout his teens, Lucas dreamed of becoming a major New York racketeer until he finally realized how his actions were hurting his family; he sought to better himself as an adult, finding legitimate employment. Meanwhile, Stryker rose through the ranks of crime, but the two men remained friends. When Stryker’s activities angered the Maggia (a.k.a. the Syndicate), he was badly beaten in a mob hit, saved only by Lucas’s intervention. When Stryker’s girlfriend, Reva Connors, broke up with him in fear of his violent work, she sought solace from Lucas. Convinced that Lucas was responsible for the breakup, Stryker planted heroin in Lucas’s apartment (that he stole from drug kingpin Cornell Cottonmouth) and tipped off the police. Lucas was arrested and sent to prison; contact with his family was sparse due to the resentment of his brother James, Jr., who intercepted Lucas’s letters to their father James and eventually led each to believe the other was dead.

In prison, Lucas was consumed by rage over Stryker’s betrayal and his father’s supposed death, engaging in frequent brawls and escape attempts. Eventually transferred to Seagate Prison off the coast of Georgia, he became the favorite target of sadistic guard Albert “Billy Bob” Rackham, whose brutality ultimately led to a demotion that he blamed on Lucas. Later, research scientist Dr. Noah Burstein recruited Lucas as a volunteer for experimental cell regeneration based on a variant of the Super-Soldier process he had previously used to empower Warhawk. Burstein immersed Lucas in an electrical field conducted by an organic chemical compound; when he left Lucas unattended, Rackham misused the experiment’s controls, hoping to maim or kill Lucas. Lucas’s treatment was accelerated past its intent, inducing body-wide enhancement that gave him superhuman strength and durability. He used his new power to escape Seagate and made his way back to New York, where a chance encounter with criminals inspired him to use his new powers for profit.

Adopting the alias Luke Cage and donning a distinctive costume, he launched a career as a Hero for Hire, helping anyone who could meet his price. He soon established an office in Times Square’s Gem Theater, where he befriended film student D.W. Griffith. Burstein, aware of his friend’s innocence, also relocated to New York and opened a medical clinic, assisted by Dr. Claire Temple, whom Cage began dating. Although Cage would have been content to battle strictly conventional criminals, he soon learned that New York was hardly the place to do so. Stryker himself had become a Maggia agent as Diamondback and died battling Cage. Subsequent opponents included Gideon Mace, an embittered veteran seeking a U.S. takeover who would become a frequent foe; Chemistro (Curtis Carr), whose Alchemy Gun would be a weapon later used by others, including his own brother after Curtis reformed; and Discus, Stiletto, Shades, and Commanche, all criminals with ties to Cage’s prison days who would face him repeatedly over the years.

More on Marvel.com

Luke Cage Netflix Poster
Luke Cage Netflix Poster

The Netflix series is produced by Cheo Hodari Coker, who has been releasing episode titles on his twitter. The first 6 are:

Luke Cage Episode 1: “Moment of Truth”
Luke Cage Episode 2: “Code of the Streets”
Luke Cage Episode 3: “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”
Luke Cage Episode 4: “Step in the Arena”
Luke Cage Episode 5: “Just to Get a Rep”
Luke Cage Episode 6: “Suckas Need Bodyguards”

What is interesting about the titles is that they all come from Gang Starr tracks.

So with all that I have seen so far, from the trailer to the character’s previous appearance in Jessica Jones, I can safely say that come September 30th I will be looking forward to binge watching Luke Cage.

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