Luke Cage season 2 makes multiple references to Donald Trump and his presidential campaign - but does that mean that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a President Trump as well? Luke Cage caused us some confusion in season 1 with its references to President Barack Obama, which we explained away by suggesting that Obama only served one term in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But with this new season comes a new hint as to the political landscape of the MCU - and it's just as confusing as the last one.
The MCU has introduced us to one president so far: President Matthew Ellis, who was played by William Sadler in Iron Man 3 and Agents of SHIELD. It was implied in Iron Man 3 that Ellis was elected in 2012 and used the alien attack on New York in The Avengers as the springboard for his campaign. However, the MCU has kept pace with the real world (occasional timeline continuity issues notwithstanding), and Avengers: Infinity War was set in the year 2018, meaning that there's been a presidential election since we last saw Ellis - and apparently Trump won.
Related: Luke Cage Season 2 Final Trailer
Trump gets a couple of mentions in Luke Cage season 2, most notably in the season finale, when Luke declares his intention to "Make Harlem Great Again." His friend and social media manager, D.W., isn't happy with Luke's plans for cleaning up Harlem by getting his hands a little dirty, and scathingly refers to him as "Luke Trump." The exchange is, of course, a reference to Trump campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," confirming that, at the very least, Trump ran for president in the MCU.
Despite the mantra of "it's all connected," the movie and TV sides of the MCU have been operating more or less independently of one another for the past few years - connected only via references to "The Incident" in Marvel's Netflix shows, and the occasional weak attempt at bridging the gap in Agents of SHIELD. Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg recently told Screen Rant that planning a season of one of the TV shows requires "very little" planning around the events of the movies, and in turn the movies have never referenced any of the events of the TV shows. As fans often point out, Avengers Tower is conspicuously missing from any shots of the New York City skyline in the Defenders shows.
Assuming that Donald Trump's MCU presidential campaign was a success, and that he beat out President Matthew Ellis in 2016, that means that MCU-Trump now has to deal with the fallout from Avengers: Infinity War - that is, if he wasn't reduced to dust by Thanos' finger-snap.
Luke Cage season 2 is available now on Netflix.