Luke Cage is one of the fan-favorite characters with an elaborate backstory and a strong social-comment presence that would be an epic addition to the larger MCU. Seeing that the Marvel Netflix characters are slowly getting their introductions in the bigger scheme of things, many fans wonder; when will Luke Cage be in the MCU?
Luke Cage is a character that could work in any storyline, be it as a street-level vigilante or a member of a big superhero group like the Avengers. He’ll most likely appear in Captain America 4 or Black Panther 2, but a few comic references could link Cage to She-Hulk, too.
The possibilities for such a strong, diverse character are endless. Seeing that Mike Colters had done a great job playing Cage and that the fans loved the Power Man, one can only assume he’d become a part of the larger MCU sooner rather than later, just like Daredevil and Kingpin. Here are all the possibilities for a Luke Cage introduction in the MCU.
Who Is Luke Cage?
Before I continue with my take on Luke Cage within the MCU, I want to clarify who Luke Cage is for those who don’t know. Even if you know who the character is, his origins differ between the comics and the TV shows, so let’s quickly go through Cage’s backstory.
In the comics, Luke Cage’s real name was Carl Lucas. He was the son of an NYPD detective living in Harlem, New York. Living in a crime-riddled neighborhood, it didn’t take young Carl long to fall into the life of crime himself, along with his best friend, Stryker.
Lucas wound up in jail after getting involved with gangs and a series of petty thefts and crimes. While in jail, a racist guard targeted Carl, which led to the guard’s demotion – and an even stronger hatred towards him.
Fast forward a while, and Dr. Burstein comes with an experimental cell regeneration treatment based on the Super-soldier serum, looking for volunteer test subjects.
Lucas ends up being the subject, and Dr. Burstein connects him to a machine that ought to deliver the treatment. However, while Burstein is out of the room, the sadistic racist guard tampers with the controls on the machine, hoping to kill Lucas.
Instead, Carl’s cells supercharge, giving him superhuman strength and durability, making his skin virtually indestructible and impenetrable. Using his newfound powers, Carl escapes the prison, returns to Harlem, and hides his identity using the alias Luke Cage. He decides to make a living from his powers, working as a Hero for Hire.
In the TV show, his origin story is quite similar – the difference is, Carl wasn’t a petty criminal but a police officer who was framed and wrongfully accused. After his escape, he married Dr. Reva Connors, which ultimately put him on a collision course with Jessica Jones – the superwoman who killed Connors while under Kilgrave’s mind control.
Cage ends up returning to Harlem to clean its streets of crime as much as possible. However, that leads to Luke becoming the new crime boss in Harlem, looking to rid the hood of crime by controlling it from the top.
Is Luke Cage A Part Of The MCU?
Marvel Studios and Marvel TV weren’t the same back when the Marvel Netflix TV shows came out. However, Marvel Studios has recently gained back the rights to use all those characters in the larger MCU, so they are all “fair game” now, according to Kevin Feige, and could potentially get introduced in the larger MCU at any moment.
However, many fans are unaware that Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and other Marvel Netflix shows are indeed a part of the MCU. To be precise, they happen within the same universe but on a smaller scale.
They are usually contained in New York, but there have been numerous occasions where they mention the Avengers, the Battle of New York, or other events that transpired in the larger MCU.
Therefore, Luke Cage IS already a part of the MCU, existing in the same universe – he was just never involved in anything happening in the movies or MCU shows so far. Whether he’ll get introduced in one of the movies or shows in Phase 4 or Phase 5 of the MCU is unknown.
When Will Luke Cage Be In The MCU?
So, if Luke Cage ever gets an introduction to the MCU, when might that happen? Well, if we consider the context of the character and his comic book background, we can narrow down the possibilities of Luke’s big MCU debut.
The movie that most fans consider the best option for a Luke Cage introduction is Captain America 4. It’ll be the first stand-alone movie featuring the new Captain America, Sam Wilson, formerly known as the Falcon.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV show already tackled the social issues about racism and the perception of African-Americans within American society. It opened questions about a Black man carrying the mantle of Captain America and the societal perception of the African-American community in general.
Luke Cage is a character born and raised in Harlem, and throughout his comics and the Netflix show, similar questions are asked, and similar issues are tackled. It seems like a match made in heaven to pair new Cap and Luke Cage, fighting together not only against supervillains, but prejudice, racism, and misconceptions about the African-American community.
If you move away from the social issues, Captain America 4 could further explore other projects revolving around the Super-soldier program, especially after Sam learned that Steve Rogers wasn’t the only guy who received a version of the serum.
Luke Cage got his powers from experiments based on the Super-soldier program, which might connect him and Cap in the film.
Another movie I’ve seen fans around forums root for regarding a potential Luke Cage introduction is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Wakanda is righteous, advanced, and strong, and the social issues that the Black Panther movie addressed in the first place fit right into what Luke Cage represented in the TV show.
It would be a nice match in that regard, although I’m not sure how the two stories would connect, especially because we don’t really know yet what the plot of the new Black Panther movie will be about.
The possibility of Luke Cage appearing in the She-Hulk series is also quite possible. In the comics, Luke was the Heros for Hire team leader, which She-Hulk worked for on several occasions – mostly as Jennifer Walters, the lawyer. Plus, Luke and Jennifer had a brief relationship in the comics, so that might be translated into the TV show, too.
To add to it, Luke Cage has been tightly connected with Jessica Jones in their respective series. In fact, Cage appeared as a guest character in the Jessica Jones TV show before getting his own Netflix series. They had a brief relationship and worked together a lot.
So, if Jessica Jones appears as a private investigator, helping Jennifer Walters with a court case, she might ask Luke Cage for help like she did before and introduce him into the show that way.
Some fans aren’t excluding a potential Luke Cage appearance in the upcoming Moon Knight series, too. You see, Marc Spector usually operates as a street-level vigilante, just like Luke Cage, so they might end up crossing paths somewhere in New York, either as allies or enemies.
Finally, we can’t exclude Luke Cage’s comic book background as a member of the Heroes for Hire. Some fans suggested that their story could be adapted into a great MCU series, which would again connect Luke with She-Hulk, Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist), and other superheroes that haven’t been a part of the MCU yet.
It could also lead Cage to become the leader of the New Avengers team, just like he was the leader of that particular team in the comics for a while.
The possibilities are endless, but my money is on either She-Hulk or Captain America 4. The connections would be seamless, and Luke could be the right fit in either of those two MCU projects. Only time will tell if I’m right, though. We just have to sit back, and answers will present themselves eventually.