Spoiler Alert: If you haven't finished watching Luke Cage yet, stop whatever very important thing it is you're doing and binge watch every episode in quick succession. All caught up? Fantastic.
Within five minutes of watching Luke Cage, Marvel's latest smash on Netflix, it's clear that the hero for hire's story is connected to a wider universe. References to 'The Incident' that tore NYC apart in the Avengers climax are a stark reminder that Cage's actions could have consequences later down the line, within either Luke's fellow TV shows or upcoming blockbusters such as Avengers: Infinity War.
What some viewers may not have noticed, though, is that the events of Luke Cage are more closely tied to Captain America: Civil War than they first seem. And no, we don't mean Alfre Woodard's respective roles as Mariah Dillard and Miriam Sharpe in each story.
The Public Turn Against Their Heroes In Both Luke Cage And Civil War
Public perception of Luke Cage changes dramatically throughout the first season's thirteen episodes; after initially working in the shadows, keen to avoid exposure, Cage's profile suddenly blows up when he begins to wage a personal war on Cottonmouth in the streets of Harlem. However, Luke's good reputation is soon tarnished when Mariah Dillard and Diamondback plot to frame Cage, pitting his adoring public in Harlem against him.
While Luke's name is eventually cleared, it's unlikely that everyone will suddenly welcome him back with open arms. Fear of the unknown is a primitive feeling that's hard to shake. Now that the public have seen what people like Cage can do, there's no getting around the fact that superheroes may no longer be universally adored, which is made even more clear when Luke Cage is watched in conjunction with Captain America: Civil War.
In order to adapt the fan favorite comic-book series Civil War, Marvel created a divide among its heroes by turning the public against them first. Following the aftermath of Hulk's rampage in South Africa and the devastation caused by Ultron, both the public and the government alike began to resent the heroes who were supposed to protect them. This animosity led to the formation of the Sokovia Accords, legislation that required active heroes to report directly to the government before waging war on crime.
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Why Weren't The Sokovia Accords Mentioned In Luke Cage?
Most of Marvel's projects are set in the same time period that they're released, which led eagle-eyed fans to wonder how Luke Cage could flaunt his powers so freely in Harlem without S.H.I.E.L.D. breathing down his neck.
While this may be partly due to the logistics of juggling these extra elements on the show, the main reason why the Sokovia Accords didn't feature in Luke Cage is because the story actually takes place a few months before Captain America: Civil War, running parallel to the events of Daredevil's second season.
This was revealed when Rosario Dawson's character, Claire Temple, discussed events from Daredevil's second season in Luke Cage. The Man Without Fear himself confirmed as much in an interview with CBR:
“One thing that I thought was really cool is that in the second season [of ‘Daredevil’], we had a scene together and in the storyline we hadn’t seen each other for a long time and it takes place at the hospital. Rosario had — Claire Temple has a cut in her eyebrow. So I was like, ‘What is that?’ Apparently it had nothing to do with our world but it’s part of ‘Luke Cage.’ The timeline had been thought through and worked out so that whatever’s going on in ‘Luke Cage,’ which we don’t know, I don’t know, somehow at some point during that show, the next day she’s in the hospital talking to me.”
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Why Does Marvel Want To Generate So Much Animosity Towards Their Heroes?
It's no coincidence that two of Marvel's biggest releases this year revolve around the public's hatred of superheroes. One could argue that this animosity already came to a head in Captain America: Civil War, but in truth, this was just the beginning.
You think this argument from Civil War was serious? You've seen nothing yet:
Captain America's third instalment ended with Steve Rogers on the run alongside some of his closest friends, and it's unlikely that they'll suddenly win back the public's trust overnight. Sure, we know that everyone will ultimately reunite to stop Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, probably winning back their adoring fans in the process, but that film's not out until 2018.
In the meantime, the public's fear of vigilantes abusing their abilities will come to the fore most prominently in the upcoming Netflix shows, as the prejudice that's formed in Luke Cage will develop further in Iron Fist and The Defenders. Future episodes are likely to show the newly-formed team working in the shadows to evade the government's attention.
Building this divide serves two story-telling purposes;
1) The dramatic tension derived from seeing our favorite heroes on the run.
2) The pay-off when the Avengers and possibly even the Defenders save the galaxy from Thanos will be that much sweeter.
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From Luke Cage's perspective, the first point is particularly intriguing, as his comic book counterpart once compared the Superhuman Registration Act to the Jim Crow laws, which were responsible for racial segregation in the United States. The controversy surrounding the current US Presidential election reminds us once again that the public aren't as eager to trust authority as they used to be. Are Marvel consciously making a political statement in their latest releases, reflecting our own disenchantment with authority within the MCU?
Luke Cage is a hero for the people:
It's heartening to see Marvel's TV and movie output working together to build a cohesive MCU on all fronts, especially after many have derided the two for not being explicitly linked enough. Time will tell exactly how far the similarities between Luke Cage and Captain America: Civil War will impact the future of the MCU. However, if the bulletproof hero does ever join the Avengers, he could help bridge the gap between the god-like Avengers and everyday people like his peers in Harlem.
Do you think it's a good idea to turn the public against their heroes in the MCU?
Source - CBR