It's a fascinating time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as we're currently occupying the interim space between Phases. Additionally, the inception of Disney+ put an end to Netflix's Marvel shows, including Luke Cage. The comic book adaptation following the man with bulletproof skin ran for two season on the streaming service, before Netflix promptly cancelled all of its Marvel shows. This was especially painful given the cliffhanger ending of Luke Cage Season 2, although showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker had big plans for the show's third season.
Season 2 of Luke Cage ended in a very unexpected fashion. With Black Mariah killed by her daughter, Harlem's Paradise was given to Cage in her will. The hero for hire ends his sophomore season essentially rising as a potential crime boss, with fans puzzled and eager for answers in Season 3. Unfortunately that never happened. Cheo Hodari Coker recently spoke to this mysterious plans for another season, saying:
It was crazy because we were hitting all these things that are happening in the press right now. I can't on the record talk about what we had planned because, contractually, you know, I still don't want any Marvel assassins coming out of the woodwork to try to take me out. [Laughs] But what I can say is that we had a very good season planned, and it was one that I think would have brought Luke Cage as a character full circle.
Well, this is certainly intriguing. It looks like Cheo Hodari Coker knew exactly how controversial Luke Cage's Season 2 finale would be. He had plans to go full circle with the title character, as well as plot points that would resonate with the public zeitgeist. Unfortunately, those plans never came to fruition at Netflix and Marvel's partnership came to a divisive end.
Both Luke Cage and Iron Fist ended with major cliffhangers that would have forever changed their respective shows. Unfortunately, the plot points for both will likely never be revealed. As Cheo Hodari Coker mentioned, he's contractually not allowed to share the intended vision for his show's third season. But there was a clear plan for how the story was going to go, especially with Luke officially reigning as the sheriff of Harlem.
Later in Cheo Hodari Coker's conversation with TV Guide, he directly responded to some of the critics who weren't happy with Luke Cage's series finale. Because some folks were pissed about Luke becoming a potential gangster, especially since the issue was never resolved. As Coker put it,
You see people online that were like, ‘Oh my god, I turned Luke into a gangster.’ They wouldn't be [saying that] if they had the opportunity to see all three seasons and see the directions Luke would have gone. I was always a Luke Cage fan, but I was probably, ultimately, a Chris Claremont, Frank Miller, Wolverine, X-Men Golden Era comic book fan, you know? And it wasn't until Brian Michael Bendis rebooted Luke Cage within Jessica Jones -- that [I felt liberated to] approach established characters within the Luke Cage universe from a different perspective.
Well, that certainly makes sense. Because while Luke Cage never got to see the character's arc be completed through a third season, his story was mapped out. We definitely have gotten some answers regarding Luke's future in Harlem, possibly with more interesting changes to the character. Cheo Hodari Coker was excited to be doing his own interpretation of Power Man, including plot points that didn't come directly from the comics.
Alas, Luke Cage was cancelled on Netflix alongside Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and The Punisher. We'll just have to wait for Disney+ to begin releasing its own Marvel content in order to see any comic book adventures on the small screen. It's just too bad that we won't see any of the same actors from Netflix's shows.
All of Luke Cage is currently streaming on Netflix. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch.