It was hard not to fall in love with Luke Cage when the character was introduced in Jessica Jones. Luke was strong, compassionate, and funny in his own wry way. He was dealing with serious emotional trauma, but that made him the perfect companion for Jessica, who was struggling with her own pain. Now, Luke Cage is set to headline his own Netflix series premiering Sept. 30 on Netflix, and it'll completely upend everything you thought you knew about superhero shows.
Luke Cage is the hero the world needs right now. As a television show, Luke Cage's first job is to entertain, but like the very best series, it is also going to reflect the current times. Situated in Harlem, Luke's journey will be a personal one. He is returning to his home after having lost his wife, formed a complicated relationship with Jessica, and been used as a weapon by Kilgrave. Now, he is going to find that even his home is not safe. In Season 1, Luke will be a hero whose primary focus is protecting Harlem, and the importance of a superhero show telling a story about a black man protecting his predominantly black neighborhood cannot be overstated.
Jessica Jones changed the superhero game once, and now Luke Cage is going to change it all over again. Here are 11 reasons why Luke Cage is the hero the world needs right now, whether audiences realize it yet or not.
1. There Aren't Enough Positive On-Screen Representations Of Black Men
The otherization of black men in pop culture is all too common. Luke, though, is a hero who stands up for himself and fights for those who cannot protect themselves. In a sea of white male heroes with black sidekick friends, Luke stands out as the star of his own story. The show will be seen entirely from his perspective, allowing him to be flawed, courageous, and deeply human at a time when TV features very few black male characters in strong, positive leading roles.
2. Luke Takes On Injustice
This past year has been full of devastating stories of police brutality against black Americans. Asking a TV show to change how the world works is not fair, but in his drive for justice, Luke will offer catharsis to many people who are frustrated with real life right now. The character may even inspire some viewers to search for peaceful ways to enact change.
3. Luke Offers Hope
When you look at the current political rhetoric in this election year, frustration is inevitable. At times, the future just looks bleak. Giving up is not an option, though, as Luke makes clear. He has been through more trauma and pain than most people experience in a lifetime, but he keeps picking himself up. If he can deal with so much loss, and still find a reason to fight, then so can everyone else.
4. Exploration Of Cultures Only Makes The World Better
Harlem is a character unto itself in Luke Cage. Grounding the series in such a unique and vivid place will allow viewers who know the culture of Harlem to see themselves reflected back, while also teaching other viewers about a part of New York they may not know much about. Exploring cultures in an era when the world seems to be closing more doors than it is opening can only lead to good things.
5. Luke Has A Sense Of Humor
Look, there is a place for dour superheroes, but it is always refreshing to see characters like Luke who deal with the darkness everyday and still find reasons to smile.
6. He Will Distract You From All The Things That Suck Right Now
As much as Luke Cage is reflecting the current political climate, the series will also provide an escape from it. Forget all your election worries and fears about the state of the universe, and bask in the joy of Luke kicking butt and generally making the world a better place.
7. Luke Reminds People Why They Need Communities
The big hook for Luke Cage is Luke returning home to Harlem and realizing his community needs a hero. Communities are so powerful — they provide love, support, and a safe place to land when you need one. The show is going to serve as a wonderful reminder of why you should value your community, whether it is your family, friends, or neighborhood.
8. It Is Past Time For Hollywood To Tell Diverse Superhero Stories
The superhero genre has been devoted almost exclusively to telling the stories of straight white men on the big and small screen for way too long. Characters like Luke and Jessica can change the world just by getting a positive response from audiences. They open the door for other non-traditional superheroes to make their way on-screen so eventually every person, no matter their race, religion, gender, or size, can see themselves reflected back.
9. Luke Is A Normal Guy, Aside From The Whole Superpowers Thing
Luke's skin is unbreakable, but other than that, he is a normal person. He says things like "sweet Christmas," sometimes he tends bar, and he is kind because he wants to be, not because he has to be. Luke would be heroic with or without his powers, which is a nice reminder when you feel like there's nothing you can offer to others because you feel like you're not special.
10. He's A Hero, Not An Antihero
Reluctant good guys or bad guys who sometimes do good things have taken over the superhero genre. You know what the world could use right now, though? An actual good guy like Luke.
11. Luke Cage Is Something Completely New
A black superhero is cleaning up the streets of Harlem to make it safe for the people who live there — yeah, that is not something you see on TV every day. Luke Cage will challenge people to move out of their comfort zones and see the world from a new perspective. That is something worth getting excited about.
Dear world, please appreciate the gift of Luke Cage. He is arriving at the exact moment when he is needed the most.
Images: Netflix; Giphy (11)