WHAT: The first full-length trailer previewing the third show to emerge from the fruitful Marvel/Netflix partnership, Luke Cage, which premieres on September 30.
WHO: Mike Colter stars as the titular hero, while Rosario Dawson’s nurse Claire Temple–the glue that binds Marvel’s Netflix shows together–is featured prominently in the trailer. House of Cards and Hunger Games vet Mahershala Ali and newcomer Simone Missick also get a bit of screentime, and the entire production is helmed by Cheo Hodari Coker.
WHY WE CARE: Marvel’s Netflix shows have been defined by a surprising blend of exciting action and social consciousness. The first season of Daredevil was about gentrification as much as it was about superheroics, while the themes of abuse and trauma in Jessica Jones launched a thousand thinkpieces. Cheo Hodari Coker spoke at Comic-Con about how “the world is ready for a bulletproof black man” when discussing Luke Cage, and the question of how Cage is going to fit into the current cultural climate of #BlackLivesMatter and increasing police/African-American tensions starts to get teased out in the three minutes of the trailer. There are shots of bullet holes in a hoodie, with the man wearing it still walking around, and that’s imagery that isn’t accidental in 2016.
At the same time, the trailer is also selling a thrilling comic book adventure about a man who learns to become the hero that his community needs, the allies he encounters, and the villains he punches along the way. The ties into other Marvel/Netflix adventures here help that along–we already met Cage in Jessica Jones, so the trailer sets up that he’s in Harlem now. We already met Claire Temple in Daredevil, so the trailer sets up that she’s encouraging him to consider operating like Hell’s Kitchen’s masked hero. We don’t get many of the details of Cage’s journey–although the shot of Cage emerging from an experimental submersion tank wearing a version of the tiara that he famously wore in his early adventures suggests that they’ll be dropping his comic book origins in as easter eggs, if nothing else–but there’ll be 13 episodes to get all of that. Right now, it’s enough to know that Luke Cage looks like a moody, relevant, thrilling, action-heavy adventure about a Marvel hero whose journey is pretty different from that of his counterparts.