Happy holidays to one and all! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I must congratulate actor Mike Colter on being cast as one of Marvel's most iconic and socially significant superheroes, Luke Cage. Although the character has existed in Marvel comics for decades, this will be his first appearance in the mainstream media as far as I know of. I think Mike Colter's casting speaks volumes of how important the casting was to get this character right; not only the physical resemblance, but the performance as well. Of course many felt other actors were perhaps best suited for the role, but ultimately Marvel went with whom they felt best personifies what they were seeking in bringing this amazing character to three dimensional life. Mike Colter encompasses both the tremendous talent as well as the physical aspects of [Luke Cage](movie:586393), which very much assures us fans that the character will be portrayed with the utmost respect and quality it deserves.
I don't think the timing could've been anymore interesting than it is right now for this character to make his debut, with the country currently dealing with a slew of violent incidents involving the police, their unfortunate and deadly interactions with ethnic inner city citizens and the truly sad sentiments of protesters marching in unison, yelling anti police slogans, borne as a result of alleged police brutality. Here in New York City, tensions are indeed running high as protests rage on for Eric Garner, a man allegedly killed by police in an apparent choke hold (which was evidenced/captured on video), as well as the sensless murder of two dutiful New York City Police Officers in Brooklyn (Rafeal Ramos and Wenjian Liu), both of whom are being mourned by a city in turmoil gripped in anger and fear. And in Missouri, the death of teenager Michael brown by police has also sparked outrage in that community, leading to viloent protests, arrests and further calls for justice. You can't escape it, as where ever you go, people are talking about it, the news is broadcasting it and elsewhere in the country, more and more incidents continue to occur, involving violent interactions between citizens and police, creating a further divide between the nation's law enforcement and it's citizens.
While all of this goes on, many people look to television not only for the news, but to relax their minds, be entertained, seeking solace from the daily grind of world events, viewing various movies, etc. And sometimes, fortunately or unfortunately, what we see on television can actually mirror what goes on in the real world. At the same time, it might also offer solutions as well as entertain us.
In the case of television, Netflix will be introducing a slew of new Marvel shows, including Daredevil, "A/K/A Jessica Jones", "Iron Fist", "Luke Cage" and perhaps a few others in 2015. They of course will culminate in a series where they all team up to form "The Defenders" and will also be interconnected with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and probably eventually with "Marvel's [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](series:722469)" as well (which I feel will eventually crossover with the Netflix shows somewhere down the line); As Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel television stated at NYCC 2014, "It's all connected." I am very much interested in seeing the Luke Cage Iron Fist team do it's thing! I'm also fairly certain that the cast of the Netflix shows will be prominently featured in Marvel's "Civil War" movie storyline. Just a hunch.
I must also commend Marvel for adding a number of African American characters into the Marvel television and cinematic universes, including our very own Luke Cage, The Falcon, War Machine/Iron Patriot and more I'm certain to come. While all the Netflix shows will of course be tremendously entertaining, "Luke Cage" sticks out a bit more for a number of reasons, one at least being primarily socially significant in nature due to the climate of what's happening in America's inner cities and a few others as well.
First of all, here we have Luke Cage, a black man, huge in stature/size, with titanium hard bulletproof skin and superhuman strength to match. He has options as to how he could use such power, and decides to use it for good. With such a character, the ramifications of how the he is featured can and will be of great interest. Could you imagine how many people would enjoy watching such a character on television, some of whom may consider him "one of their own", combating crime, being able to do so in a non-malicious way, without the risk of being injured or killed by knife or gun? Imagine if they were to feature an episode where Cage has to go up against rogue cops, and he handily & successfully defeats them all, tossing cars around, with bullets bouncing harmlessly off of his skin...what impact would such a scene/episode have on the audience of the show? Would it be socially accepted or frowned upon? [Note: I have not a single clue what any of the episodes will feature, so this is simply a "what if" scenario on my part]; Many might be amazed and overwhelmed with reverence & respect for the character, similarly as to how fans reacted with the introduction of "ROCKY" in the movies back in the mid 70's. And some might feel disdain for the character of Luke Cage, possibly feeling unnerved by the concept in their minds of what they perceive he represents, namely an invulnerable inner city superman able to perform feats of strength no single human could hope to achieve. But wait--this is only a television show, something we watch to be entertained...and yet, with the current climate between inner city citizens and police, the ever widening gap between the the lower and upper class, these are issues which might, at least to some extent be showcased during the run of the show. Basically, Luke Cage being a black super powered hero will most definitely provoke some deep discussions among folks who'll admire him as well as those who'll scoff and resent the idea of him. Perhaps some will fear that such a character could make some groups feel overly confident and empowered, while others may feel it's about time that such a character, with such an outspoken moral streak, made his debut. Seeing as how the character is a superhero obviously on the side of right, I'd like to believe that people from both/all sides would be able to relate and understand why coming together and realizing our differences actually make us all more alike than ever before. But depending upon the viewing audience, will they socially and mentally relegate it to simply being entertainment, or will the show also allow them to feel some kind of mental or social" victory" (or "defeat", if it applies), of sorts? Or would it have any social implications at all?
Secondly, Mr. Cage has other social issues and (skills) which makes him a truly unique individual. He speaks several languages (according to Marvel wiki), and his love interest is none other than Jessica Jones, a former superhero (Spider-woman), in her own right...and a caucasian female. They're actually in love and if the comic book source material is actually followed, they fall in love, get married, have a baby, etc. (Not necessarily in that order...LOL!) Not that that's such a "WOW" major issue or anything, but it might catch some folks who aren't fully familiar with the comicbook source material off guard. Then again, it just my begin trending! LOL! I think it's beautiful. Interracial relationships are currently quite socially acceptable, although there are some who still frown upon it. I've always felt that it brings us all closer together. And to be quite honest, there's actually only ONE race among humans...and that's the HUMAN race. We're ALL the same. Skin colors and hair textures are of no importance. But I'm digressing here...
The point is that this show will offer a tremendous amount of thought provoking conversation in terms of people questioning how THEY themselves think and feel about certain ethnic groups and certain social topics including race relations and how it affects daily life, the community at large and even love. And that last part, "Love", is what can have such a truly overwhelming impact on everything else. While I haven't even an iota of what the episodes will be about, I know that both Luke and Jessica will eventually (if not early on), have to deal with at least some slight "race" issues, and it'll showcase how they deal with them and everything in between I'm sure.
Finally, I truly feel that this show will at the very least simply make you think, realize a few things and hopefully you'll come out wiser for it. With all the current social issues going on here in New York City and the rest of the country, I, as a law enforcement official in my own right, as well as a "part-time" actor, have had the opportunity to explore a birds eye view of what's going on, what our dialogue should/could be as citizens and what eventually could happen as opposed to what eventually should happen in this climate of ours we currently face. I'd like to think that although no simply television should could turn the tide of things, I think it just might be a good start, even if it is a small one. To the show, I think it'll be at the very least thought provoking, and at most, perhaps somewhat of a social media catalyst for possibly helping to usher in change. Let's see where it takes us! I for one can't wait for things to start. I'm looking forward to the awesome Mike Colter and the rest of the amazing cast to truly entertain us and blow our minds!