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Massive spoilers ahead for Luke Cage Season 2. If you haven't finished yet, look away.
After last summer brought Netflix's Marvel heroes together for The Defenders, the time has come for each of New York's protectors to once again star in their own solo shows. This process began with the highly anticipated second season of Jessica Jones, and now Luke Cage has returned to bring Netflix subscribers back to MCU's Harlem and the bulletproof man. While Luke attempted to protect his neighborhood and deal with his newfound celebrity, the show's sophomore season really changed things up. Luke became the new King of Harlem, presumably putting the hero deeper into a world of corruption and crime. Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker recently opened up about this plot twist, saying:
But one of the reasons that we did what we did was, if this is the last Luke Cage, we're leaving in a very interesting place. If we get to move on beyond this, it also leads us into an interesting, unpredictable place. . . . You've got these mirrors to gangster politics, you've got these mirrors to presidential politics, because people always think that if they have the juice, if they're in power, they can do things differently, and they begin to realize that all systems, in their own way, corrupt the people at the top of those systems. And so what it does is, the power defines who you really are, and it brings out both impulses, so I don't care if it's the perch at Harlem's Paradise, I don't care if it's ruling the galaxy in Star Wars, I don't care if it's the presidency, that kind of power can corrupt you awfully, in really bad ways, if you're not prepared for it.
While the fate of Luke Cage as a series is still up in the air on Netflix, it seems Cheo Hodari Coker wanted to give the title character a major transformation in Season 2. Rather than once again being the moral compass of Harlem, Luke was able to be tempted by the dark side. And while he claims to be protecting the borough, he'll have a far more morally grey position now that he's got Harlem's Paradise and all it stands for.
Luke Cage struggled with his newfound celebrity throughout the course of his sophomore season, with the denizens of Harlem selling merch, taking photos, and even tracking his whereabouts. While the hero pretended it was an inconvenience, you could see his cocky swagger coming out. And when Mariah offered him a literal throne to sit on after her death, Luke just couldn't resist. Does this mean he's becoming a villain? Will the other Defenders like Iron Fist need to give him a reality check? It's unclear, but it's exciting that there are so many new questions for Luke Cage after Season 2.
Although Cheo Hodari Coker's comments to Syfy seem to indicate the future of Luke Cage is unclear, smart money says Netflix will grant the series a third season. Jessica Jones was recently renewed for Season 3, so Netflix appears to be continuing its Marvel content, despite the lackluster reception for The Defenders.