Marvel unveiled the first episode of Jessica Jones – featuring Krysten Ritter as its namesake and Mike Colter (The Good Wife) as Luke Cage – at New York Comic-Con 2015, generating loads of positive buzz for the upcoming Netflix series ahead of its November debut. Colter’s Luke Cage will later headline his own Marvel/Netflix series in 2016, with production on the show currently ongoing under the supervision of the series’ creator and showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker (Southland, Ray Donovan).
Jessica Jones will include other characters who may play a role in the Luke Cage narrative proceedings – in particular, Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeryn Hogarth, the attorney and manager for the Heroes for Hire business that Cage eventually sets up with Iron Fist (whose own Netflix series is expected to premiere later in 2016). However, that might not happen until closer to end of Luke Cage season 1, as Colter has confirmed that the title character will be “laying low” when the series begins.
Colter, when he spoke to ComicBook at NYCC 205, revealed the following about the timeline for Luke Cage:
“I can tell you what they’ve allowed me to, which is basically, Luke Cage will take place a few months after Jessica Jones. So in real time, if you watch Jessica Jones, you’ll find [at the end] Luke Cage uptown in Harlem, working, trying to make ends meet. Luke Cage really hasn’t figured out what he’s doing. He’s tending bar, he’s bouncing around. And for good reason, he’s a fugitive, he has some skeletons in his closet.”
Cage isn’t able to maintain a low profile for long though, as Colter confirmed he soon hears the call to be a superhero:
“He’s trying to basically stay off the radar. The people he hangs around with, though, are in need. Ultimately, he’d rather be alone, but with the way he’s equipped he does step up. That’s what it’s about, it’s about finding that inner feeling to make you want to take action. Sometimes we just sit around, and sit on our hands and don’t do anything because it’s like ‘hey, that’s not my problem.’ You can’t do that when you’re a superhero. You have these gifts, now use them.”
It appears as though Jessica Jones season 1, like Daredevil before it, will jump right into the main plot of the series; later using flashbacks (and other storytelling devices) to fill in viewers on its protagonist’s backstory along the way. Luke Cage will have the advantage of the Cage character having already been established after Jessica Jones. However, it sounds like Coker’s show will be structured so newcomers can also jump right onboard – showing Cage in his current predicament (trying to not attract attention) and then later exploring other key details (how Cage got his super-powers, his troubled past, and so forth).
Previously-relased official Luke Cage character descriptions indicated the show will take place primarily in the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Harlem – something that Coulter briefly touched on during his CB interview:
“So I can say you’ll find him uptown in Harlem, and in a completely different world from Hell’s Kitchen.”
The MCU’s Harlem, you may recall, suffered a good deal of damage from the Hulk/Abomination fight that happened there in The Incredible Hulk. It’s plausible that event will be referenced in some fashion during the Luke Cage TV series. Much like how the Battle of New York was said to have affected Hell’s Kitchen’s real estate market in Daredevil, perhaps the events of Incredible Hulk contributed to criminal mastermind Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) having gained even more power in Harlem during the aftermath. There might also be lingering anti-superhero sentiment in Harlem, fanned by the local politicians (Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Dillard, perhaps?).
It could be that Harlem, unlike Hell’s Kitchen, has a decidedly more anti-hero atmosphere in general; that, in turn, could be another reason why Cage is so cautious about stepping out as a crime-fighter to begin with. Still, Cage won’t be alone once he does decide to take up the fight, what with characters like Rosario Dawson’s nurse Claire Temple due to make an appearance on Luke Cage season 1 (after her roles on Daredevil and Jessica Jones season 1).
Daredevil Season 1 is currently available on Netflix. Jessica Jones will be made available starting November 20th, 2015, followed by Luke Cage Season 1 and Daredevil Season 2 (a.k.a. Daredevil V Punisher) in 2016. Iron Fist and The Defenders will arrive sometime thereafter.