Marvel Studios has had a number of successes since the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2008, and their run of Netflix shows is no exception. It began with them launching the best live-action interpretation of Daredevil we've seen, and then critical acclaim for the first adaptation of Jessica Jones. The streak very much continued with Luke Cage in Fall 2016, and we couldn't be more excited to see the bulletproof hero back in action for a second season.
Luke Cage Season 2 is admittedly one of many balls that Marvel Studios is currently juggling, but, like many of you, we're hungry for details. What can we expect in terms of story? How will it fit into the world post-Defenders? What characters can we expect to return, and who will be introduced? To keep track of all the answers to those questions and more, we've put together this handy What We Know So Far guide. Read on and learn a bit about the sophomore season of Luke Cage!
Luke Cage (Mike Colter)
Even after his introduction to audiences in the first season of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage remained mostly a mystery as he entered his own solo series -- and a whole lot of interesting information was revealed about his history in those 13 episodes. We not only saw his superhero origin story play itself out -- with Carl Lucas undergoing experiments in prison that would make his skin impenetrable -- but we even learned about his upbringing in Atlanta and some uncovered dark secrets about his reverend father and family.
Of course, that doesn't mean that the lid has been fully pulled off on Luke Cage, and there is plenty more for us to learn about the character and where he's been (for example, we still don't know anything about the frame-up that landed him in prison in the first place). We can't say much more about where the hero will be heading at this point because we don't know what will be going on with him in the aftermath of The Defenders, but he presumably won't still be in prison following the events in the Season 1 finale.
Returning to the part of Luke Cage will be Mike Colter, who has become a favorite amongst devotees. Prior to joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he had significant roles on shows like The Following and The Good Wife, but he has now become fully associated with his superhero role, and fans are excited to see him back in the part.
Taking the reins of Luke Cage, television veteran Cheo Hodari Coker was given the opportunity to leave a very individualistic stamp on what a superhero show could be -- and he very much did that. The music used in each episode is as influential as the work that James Gunn did on Guardians of the Galaxy, and the stories explore new and different avenues that we've not seen before in the genre. It gives us every hope that Coker will be back for Season 2, but that detail has not yet been confirmed.
When Marvel and Netflix announced that we would be getting a Luke Cage Season 2, it came as a video that merely noted that another set of episodes would be "coming soon." Truth be told, we don't even officially know that Mike Colter will be back... but given the reception to Season 1, it's hard to imagine the studios messing with anything from the creative or cast standpoint. Long story short, we full expect that Cheo Hodari Coker will be back running the show for Luke Cage Season 2 -- and would be incredibly surprised if that didn't happen.
In Season 1 of Luke Cage, audiences watched as the titular hero set up roots in Harlem, tried to stop the corruption taking it over, and had an epic personal spat with his half-brother. As for what we'll see in Season 2... we really don't know. We certainly have not seen the last of Mariah Dillard, who was able to turn some of New York's most influential people against the bulletproof hero; and Diamondback is in custody instead of dead, so it's entirely possible that he could make a comeback. We don't know what kind of ground The Defenders is going to cover, so at this point we can't really even say where we'll find the character at the start of Season 2.
While we'll get more into it later in this feature, one presence who could certainly shake things up post-Defenders is Danny Rand a.k.a. Iron Fist. In the comics, Luke Cage and the Kung Fu hero are not only best friends, but co-owners of a Heroes For Hire business -- which is something that is hinted at by Bobby Fish (Ron Cephas Jones) in Luke Cage Season 1. After the two men meet in Defenders, it's not outside the realm of possibility that they continue to hang out in Luke Cage Season 2.
Misty Knight (Simone Missick)
Misty Knight has persisted as one of the most badass heroes in the Marvel universe, and that tradition was continued by Simone Missick in the making of Luke Cage Season 1. Portrayed as a hard-working detective in Harlem, she proved herself a key asset for the show's titular character and for justice in her district of New York. Barring tragedy in The Defenders, we full expect her back in Luke Cage Season 2.
So what will Misty Knight be up to in the second season of the superhero show? This may sound kind of mean, but there are a whole lot of people who would love to see her lose her right arm. In the comics, the character is famously outfitted with a bionic limb courtesy of Tony Stark after she loses her arm in the line of duty. This was teased in a big way during Season 1, with Misty's arm getting severely injured in late episodes, but she wound up healing nicely. We don't necessarily need a Robert Downey Jr. cameo in Luke Cage Season 2, but it would be nice for the show to reclassify Misty Knight as a superhero.
Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard)
Luke Cage faced down three very different kinds of villains in the first season of his own show. Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (Mahershala Ali) was a crime lord -- using his connections in politics and crime to flood the streets of Harlem with drugs and weapons. Then there was Diamondback -- a psychotic killer with a personal vendetta. The third was Alfre Woodard's Mariah Dillard -- who used her influence and power to turn the world against the eponymous hero. While Luke was able to outlive Cottonmouth and defeat Diamondback, it was Dillard who wound up claiming victory by the time the 13th episode was over, not only getting away with murder, but watching as Luke was taken back to prison.
Without knowing how The Defenders will change things, we can't say for certain where we will find Mariah Dillard in Luke Cage Season 2, but we're going to make a leap and all but guarantee that she will have a role to play. Given her big win in Season 1, it's not hard to imagine Luke Cage returning to Harlem and doing everything he can to make sure she is taken down and thrown in prison. Of course, we expect that this narrative will be combined with some fresh threads that will be pulled over the course of the season, but it would be a shame to not see more of Alfre Woodard's awesome antagonist.
Shades Alvarez (Theo Rossi)
Mariah Dillard most notably carved a path towards victory in Luke Cage Season 1, but a lot of credit is due to Theo Rossi's Shades Alvarez for successfully reading the tea leaves. While he initially was just an agent for Diamondback sent to keep an eye on Cottonmouth, he got a very strong whiff of the way the tide was turning after Mariah killed her cousin, and established his real alliances. Expect Shades to still be attached to her at the hip during Season 2.
Shades is definitely a character who we want to see more from in the second season of Luke Cage. Throughout the first 13 episodes, he played a Littlefinger-esque role in manipulating the various chess pieces on the board, but we never really got to see him really go for the brass ring. He hit a low point when he got his ass kicked by Claire Temple and Misty Knight before being carted off to jail, but he's back on the streets at the end of Season 1, and it will be interesting to see what damage he can do with Mariah Dillard backing his every move.
Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey)
Erik LaRay Harvey's Willis Stryker a.k.a. Diamondback caused quite a bit of chaos in Luke Cage Season 1, not only introducing a weapon that can legitimately kill the hero, but also executing a plan for vengeance that he had been planning for years. Unfortunately for him, his specially-designed armor wasn't enough to defeat the bulletproof hero, and he was taken away by the police to be thrown in prison.
Diamondback may be locked up, but there's every chance that he could still wind up having a massive influence and presence in Luke Cage Season 2 (just look at what Daredevil did with Kingpin). We still want to know the details of how he managed to get Luke Cage thrown into prison in the first place. He probably won't be front and center in Luke Cage Season 2, but we still fully expect Diamondback to make some kind of appearance in an episode or two.
Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson)
To date, Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple has been the glue that has kept all of the Marvel Netflix shows together, and her role in Luke Cage Season 1 was her biggest since Daredevil Season 1. On the 2016 show, Temple not only saved Cage's life, but the two of them also started a romantic relationship. This should make things very interesting when the two characters meet Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones once again in The Defenders... but what should we expect from her in Luke Cage Season 2?
Once again, this is merely speculation, as neither Marvel nor Netflix have provided any clues regarding the individuals involved with Luke Cage Season 2, but it's hard to imagine that Rosario Dawson isn't given a primary role on the next season of the show. Regardless of what happens on the romantic side, it's always a good thing to have a medic around when Luke Cage is doing his hero business.
In case you haven't figured it out by this point, The Defenders is a sizable roadblock as far as information about Luke Cage Season 2 goes. Along with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, Cage will have a monumental presence on the team-up show, and if the series does its job, that means that it's very likely the hero will walk away from the whole thing a different person than who he was going in. That's obviously going to have an effect on the way things start in the 14th episode of Luke Cage, and therefore could completely change the game for the whole run.
One also can't forget about the increased potential for cameos from Defenders co-stars in new Luke Cage episodes. As of right now, Luke Cage has no direct connections to Daredevil or Iron Fist, but that will no longer be the case after they save the city together. As a result, we could wind up seeing one or two episodes in Luke Cage Season 2 that feature appearances from major characters of the other shows. This is obviously where the discussion about Heroes For Hire comes back in, and bringing Jessica Jones into the mix would make sense for a whole lot of reasons as well. It is possible that the creatives behind the Marvel/Netflix shows put a limit on cameos just to make future Defenders possibilities more special, but we have to hope that they give us at least a little crossover action.