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Five things you need to know about Netflix's 'Luke Cage'

Tom Huddleston

Netflix and Marvel have teamed up for 'Luke Cage', a new 13-episode series based on the not-exactly-a-household-name 1970s comic book hero. Here's what you need to know.

1. He is the man who would risk his neck for his brother man
The comic book ‘Luke Cage’ first hit shelves in 1972, inspired by Blaxploitation movies like the previous year’s smash hit ‘Shaft’. An ex-con (imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, of course) with powers of super-strength and invincibility, Luke’s mission was to protect Harlem from a motley array of crooks, bent politicians and supervillains.  

2. He lives in the same universe as ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’ and Tony Stark…
Played by TV veteran Mike Colter, Cage first hit the small screen last year as the moody heroine’s on-off squeeze in Netflix’s riveting ‘Jessica Jones’ series, and eagle-eyed viewers will spot references to that show, the earlier ‘Daredevil’, and even ‘The Avengers’ (there’s a great scene of a DVD pirate selling bootleg footage of the New York attacks). Still, don’t go expecting Thor to drop in for coffee or anything.

3. But he’s a bit more laid-back than those guys
Judging from the handful of episodes we watched, ‘Luke Cage’ is a little slower paced than the first two Marvel-Netflix collaborations, eschewing both the fierce chopsocky of ‘Daredevil’ and the bruising ultraviolence of ‘Jessica Jones’ in favour of something a little more considered and character-based. Which isn’t to say that there isn’t room for some (literally) bone-crunching dust-ups. It's just that they’re interspersed with discussions of black culture and musings on race, redemption, family, friendship and the cost of gentrification. Which is all well and good – if you've got the patience for it.

4. He’s Quentin Tarantino’s favourite Marvel character
Quentin Tarantino is a lifelong Blaxploitation aficionado, so it’s no surprise that he is a Cage fan. So much so that he seriously pondered the possibility of bringing the character to the big screen. ‘I had even considered, after “Reservoir Dogs”, doing a Luke Cage movie,’ he told Yahoo. ‘But I ended up doing “Pulp Fiction” instead. So I think I might have made the right choice.’ Well, Netflix are probably on the lookout for directors for Series 2…

5. He’s a future Defender
Marvel are all about the shared universes, so it’s no surprise that ‘Luke Cage’ isn’t the last new series they’re overseeing for Netflix. 2017 will see both a new series of ’Daredevil’ and the premiere of ‘Iron Fist’, about a billionaire Buddhist who does mystical kung-fu (yep, you read that right). Then all four characters – Daredevil, Jessica, Luke and, um, Iron – will team up in ‘The Defenders’. A grittier, gorier, sexier, grumpier ‘Avengers’? Yes please!

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