SPOILERS FOLLOW for Luke Cage Season 1. If you haven't seen it yet, stop reading now!
To viewers around the world, Netflix's original series mean quality, and Netflix's latest standout comes in the form of Luke Cage, Season 1 of which was released earlier this weekend. It's also laying the foundation for another Marvel Netflix series set to premiere sometime in 2017, The Defenders, but we're still a ways off from that; Danny Rand's story in Iron Fist has to play out before considering how the The Defenders will revisit the plot threads introduced during Season 1 of Luke Cage.
For now, The Defenders is still a total mystery with the limited information available. However, the season finale of Luke Cage left with us a cliffhanger that'll most likely lead up to a subplot developed for The Defenders.
'Luke Cage' Season Finale, Brief Recap:
During the season finale of Luke Cage, Carl Lucas (otherwise known as Luke Cage) reaches his final bout with Diamondback — recently learned to be Cage's half-brother, Willis Stryker. In the scene, Cage comes face-to-face with Diamondback and the two come to blows over who'll be the new king of Harlem. It turns out Luke Cage is.
In the end, Cage came out victorious over Diamondback and seemingly enough, Diamondback appeared to be half-dead. However, the ending sequence displayed Dr. Noah Burstein in Diamondback's hospital room, and that could only mean one thing for Diamondback: Burnstein intends to experiment on him. Now, you may be asking why Burstein would consider experimenting on Cage's half-brother, and there's a very good reason for that.
Recalling the events of episode nine, where Luke Cage returns to Dr. Burstein to be treated for the bullet wounds he received in Harlem, Burstein mentions a few particular details in regards to why Luke Cage was the only one to survive his experiments. Every other candidate failed, and Burstein explained that Cage's DNA was one of the factors that allowed him to survive the experiment. And considering that Diamondback a.k.a. Willis Strkyer is Cage's half-brother, their shared DNA makes it possible for them both to survive Burstein's experiments in the scenario of Diamondback undergoing a similar experiment.
What Does Dr. Noah Burstein Have Planned For Cage's Half-Brother?
There wasn't any context to the concluding scene of Luke Cage, where Burstein is seen standing beside Diamondback, but the scene in itself is hinting at Burstein taking him in for experimentation. An experiment that'll transform Diamondback into a powerhouse like Luke Cage.
Speculations aside, Diamondback's return is almost certain. Considering that Dr. Noah Burstein probably wouldn't be examining Diamondback without a purpose, it's very likely that Burstein intends to put him through the same experiments Luke Cage went through.
There's no comic-book basis for Diamondback having a future in the Marvel Universe past his first confrontation with Luke Cage — meaning Diamondback will likely fill the role of a different Marvel character if he is to return. He may even portray a villain who also underwent similar experiments conducted by Dr. Noah Burstein. There's a comic-book basis for that particular villain existing in the Marvel Universe, but he wasn't mentioned during season one of Luke Cage. The Marvel villain in question is that of Mitchell Tanner, otherwise known as Warhawk.
The Marvel Comics History Of Warhawk
Mitchell Tanner was actually the first test subject for Dr. Burstein's experiments, before Luke Cage was brought in. Burstein's initial experiment was intended to replicate the super-soldier serum which turned Steve Rogers into Captain America, although the results were completely different.
In the comics, when Burstein experimented on Mitchell Tanner, Burstein's variation of the super-soldier serum turned Mitchell Tanner into a very unsavory-looking character. Tanner was only experimented on to save his life, and the serum succeeded in that, but it also gave Tanner granite-strong skin and superhuman strength — similar to Luke Cage's abilities.
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Is Willis Stryker Becoming Warhawk?
Since Mitchell Tanner wasn't mentioned during Luke Cage and it doesn't look like he's going to show up anytime soon, someone else could be implanted in the role of Mitchell Tanner/Warhawk for the Marvel TV universe, namely Willis Stryker/Diamondback.
The last we saw of Diamondback was in the aforementioned scene where Burstein was visiting him. Considering that Burstein intends to experiment on him, the results could plausibly see Diamondback taking on the appearance, and even namesake, of Warhawk. As to when that might happen is up for debate. Burstein could be experimenting on Diamondback as early as Iron Fist, but it's reasonable to assume that Diamondback's potential transformation into Warkhawk will come during The Defenders.
Logically speaking, Luke Cage is going to need a worthy adversary to face off with in The Defenders, which makes Warhawk seem like an ideal antithesis for Luke Cage, despite Iron Fist having a comic history tied to Warhawk.
Regardless of what will presumably take place after Luke Cage, it's very likely the tease of Dr. Burstein standing next Diamondback's bedside will be explored during The Defenders series — ultimately resulting in the resurgence of Diamondback as a new iteration of Warhawk. At the same time, providing us with the superhuman matchup of the decade. The invincible Luke Cage versus the indestructible Warhark?
But Warhawk probably won't be the only adversary Luke Cage faces off against in The Defenders; the Hand will be the central antagonist in The Defenders series.
Before leaving, here are several burning questions still left unanswered after the season finale of Luke Cage.
Is Claire Temple Going To Connect All Of The Marvel Netflix Series?
Between her appearances in Daredevil and Luke Cage, it looks like Claire (Rosario Dawson) already has ties to both Matt Murdock and Luke Cage, but her connections don't stop there. During Luke Cage, she also picked up a number for a flyer that is for lessons given out by none other than Colleen Wing. The name may sound familiar since Wing is going to be a pivotal character in the upcoming Iron Fist series.
Does anyone else see the similarities between Claire and Agent Coulson before the Avengers assembled? Coulson made appearances in almost every MCU film leading up to The Avengers, and from the looks of it, Claire is set to fill a similar role in the Marvel TV universe.
Is Misty Night going to take on a vigilante role?
In the last minutes of the Luke Cage season finale, Misty can be seen in a Harlem nightclub once again. But this time, she's dressed in her iconic costume from Marvel Comics; sans the bionic arm.
In the comics, Misty loses her arm in an accident and has it replaced with a bionic arm. That event didn't come to pass on Luke Cage, which could potentially see Misty losing her arm in The Defenders.
Will Matt Murdock (A.K.A. Daredevil) Come To Luke Cage's Defense?
During the last few scenes, where it seems like Luke Cage is going to be pardoned for his crimes, the federal marshals show up and remand Cage back into custody. Cage's detainment isn't of much interest since we kind of expected that to happen. What's of interest is the tease provided by Claire in the same scene, where she mentions that she knows of a great lawyer downtown. To which she's referring to Matt Murdock. Will the beginning scenes of The Defenders depict Matt Murdock defending Luke Cage in a trial? It is titled "The Defenders" after all, but the title is unrelated.
What did you think of Luke Cage Season 1? Did it meet expectations or did it fail to meet the hype built up? And where do you think Cage's story will continue next, Iron Fist, The Defenders, or Season Two of Luke Cage? What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below.
Season One of Luke Cage is exclusively available for streaming on Netflix.