On June 22, Luke Cage — the indestructible Defender of Harlem — returns to Netflix for a second season, and we're mostly hyped. Not only do the trailers suggest that the new episodes will revitalize the often dreary and depressing Marvel Netflix universe, but it also appears like one of our favorite characters will get even more interesting.
That being said, there's an elephant in the room, and a very rich, boring one at that. Still, there's so much we're looking forward to about the second season of Luke Cage.
Luke is free and having fun
Thank god Luke's out of jail. Footage from the new season — featuring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill from SportsCenter — show us a side of Luke Cage we haven't seen: relaxed and having a good time. Chucking gargantuan tires across city parks, and jumping 24 feet in a single bound, Mr. Cage seems comfortable with the public's eye being transfixed on his feats of strength.
He even dusts non-existent dirt off his shoulders, while fans cheer and film him with their cell phones. These moments — however fleeting they turn out to be, as drama's coming for Luke — are a pleasant change of pace from the typical guilt and misery of the Marvel Netflix shows.
Yet, he's also met his match
The official trailer for Season 2 shows off a new nemesis for Luke Cage, who matches his iconic strength, and kicks his butt in broad daylight. This is Mustafa Shakir, who is reportedly portraying the Luke Cage nemesis Bushmaster.
The fight sequence is intriguing because Bushmaster doesn't appear to have any tricks or doing anything to sap Luke's powers. He's just that damn good. Why is this so exciting? It sets Luke up to figure out a solution that isn't based around regaining his powers, but likely outsmarting Bushmaster.
Establishing the universe around Luke Cage
I don't often find myself excited to see Stephen A. Smith on TV, but using the well-known sports-bloviator to show how the national news media is aware of Luke Cage felt like a savvy touch.
Too often, superhero movies and shows shy away from real-world personalities, and use fake news networks and anchors to stand in for others. This move looks to make the series feel more like it happens in our world.
Heroes for Hire, Finally?
Trailers for the new season have teased that Luke's also shooting promotional videos wherein he shows off his super strength. This teases the potential of the Heroes for Hire group, which has featured notable characters as Misty Knight and The Hulk.
While we wouldn't bet on Dr. Banner coming to Harlem any time soon, the team could provide a welcome, new change of pace, and give Luke some super-strong allies.
Misty Knight gets harder, better, faster, stronger
And speaking of Ms. Knight, photos published by Entertainment Weekly show that she's replaced that arm she lost in the The Defenders. This could prove reason for her to leave the force, as who knows if the NYPD allows for detectives with super strength, and it follows her character arc from the comics.
This bionic accessory may require some training, but we bet it helps Misty team up with Luke to stop Mariah Dillard and whomever she hires next. Diamondback may be in custody, but that can only last for so long.
Oh, no: more Iron Fist
The only problem with Heroes for Hire is that it might mean a lot more of the lamest Defender, The Iron Fist Danny Rand. Not only is he confirmed to appear in the new season of Luke Cage, but he's supposed to provide Misty Knight with her bionic arm, which she may have gotten during her stay in a Danny Rand-owned hospital at the end of Defenders.
Hopefully he's there on a get-in, get-out basis, or else he could be one of the reasons why this season slows to a drag in that way Marvel's Netflix shows tend to.