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It’s almost September, and the new Netflix series Marvel’s Luke Cage will begin streaming on the last day of next month. We know the cast and characters for the first season, but I have my own ideas of who I would like to see Luke Cage battle in season two and beyond. Here are five super villains associated with Luke Cage I hope to see in the future, a bit about their backgrounds, and why I believe they would be a great fit for the series. So who would I like to see in future seasons? Marvel, take note!
Bengal (Duc No Tranh) is an interesting Marvel character in my view who has been portrayed as both a hero and a villain. He first appeared in Daredevil, when he traveled to America to seek vengeance as an adult on soldiers who were involved in the destruction of his village during the Vietnam War. Bengal could be an interesting Asian character for the show, and a tough challenge for Luke Cage. Daredevil has already had a strong Asian influence, and we can expect to see an even greater Asian influence within the Netflix Marvel universe when Iron Fist debuts next year. The Vietnam War aspect of Bengal’s backstory is also something that could be explored. Jessica Jones and Daredevil both had subplots that related to secret military programs and past war conflicts during their separate series – one involving Nuke (Officer Frank Simpson) on Jessica Jones and one involving The Punisher in Daredevil Season Two. Such a story could work for Luke Cage as well.
John Bushmaster (John McIver) would also be quite a match up for Luke Cage. Bushmaster, who is of Caribbean descent, started out as a low-level criminal who rose through the ranks to become a powerful crime boss. He has had clashes with Luke Cage in the comics, and even once kidnapped the nurse Claire Temple – who will be a supporting character on Luke Cage this season after previously appearing on Daredevil and Jessica Jones. What also makes him an interesting match for Cage is that Bushmaster was physically augmented in the same way as Luke Cage – that is something that could be addressed on the series. Are there others like Luke Cage out there? Bushmaster could be used to help answer that question. He also has a younger brother that took on the name Bushmaster at a later time.
Hardcore (real name unknown) is another super villain with a Caribbean background – he is from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hardcore is a mercenary and skilled combatant in Japanese weaponry. In addition to his formidable fighting ability and weapons skills, Hardcore also has some physical enhancements to his fingernails that allows him to slash through even the strongest metals. He is another character that I could see featured on Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Iron Fist. His island background would fit in well with the diversity of Harlem, and his comic book affiliation with one of the Bushmaster brothers and conflicts with Luke Cage would also make him a good fit for the series.
Glowworm (William Blake) is another Luke Cage villain who was experimented on – though in his case he actually volunteered. As a marine, he was involved in attempts to recreate the formula that produced Captain America in the Marvel Universe. Instead of creating another Steve Rogers, the experimentation led to him becoming a glowing white super villain with a self-hatred towards other African-Americans. This was due (in his words) to his growing up in the ‘Deep South’ and experiencing rampant racism first hand. He convinced himself of the belief that blacks were inferior. Glowworm is a bit of a bizarre yet interesting character to explore in the series for many reasons. One is due to the many definitions of what it means to be ‘black’ in 2016 – socially, culturally, and politically. Is being black color or culture? Another angle could explore the deeper meanings behind the character on Luke Cage. Blake was a black man who appeared ‘white’ when he attacked others of his race. It wasn’t until he was defeated by Cage that his true identity was discovered.
Moses Magnum (his real name) would be a very difficult challenge for Luke Cage. Magnum is an Ethiopian-American who emigrated from his home country and became the leader of an independent weapons manufacturing firm. In his comic book backstory, his family sided with Mussolini during Italy’s invasion of the country prior to World War II, which forced them to flee to the United States. That backstory could be easily updated to include modern day terrorist groups in Africa like Al-Shabab, ISIS, or Boko Haram – or he could be portrayed as a second or third generation immigrant and maintain the Mussolini-Ethiopia connection. Magnum would also be a great choice for a major villain for an entire series, with his interesting backstory and immense wealth as a corporate leader. He is very reminiscent of an evil version of Tony Stark, the alter ego of Iron Man. Magnum also later developed superhuman abilities through experimentation in the comics, so he could be portrayed several different ways on Luke Cage for added flexibility.
A Bonus Villain For the People – Coldfire
Coldfire (James Lucas, Jr.) is actually the older brother of Luke Cage, which is an interesting twist to explore. The brothers had a difficult upbringing in Harlem, and an intense sibling rivalry. James disapproved of his younger brother’s criminal ways during his younger years, and even blamed him for the death of their mother. When Cage went to prison – the location where he eventually gained his superhuman abilities – his family moved away, and he lost contact. When James later found out about his brother’s new superhuman abilities, he also underwent a similar process in order to exact revenge on his younger brother and possibly due to jealousy. The abilities James gained involved heat manipulation instead of the indestructible skin of Luke Cage.
A sibling conflict on Luke Cage could lead to some intense drama, and also be a way to delve more deeply into the main character’s past. If one of the subplots of the show is to slowly reveal the mystery of how Luke gained his abilities, bringing in Coldfire at some point may be an intriguing way to do it. Addressing the death of their mother and the estranged relationship with James Lucas, Sr. as well as Coldfire could also be winning story lines.
Are You Ready for Season One?
So those are the six characters I would like to see appear on Luke Cage in the future. We already know from media reports which characters from the first season, both heroes and villains – will make the transition from the comics to television. Supporting characters for the hero will include Simone Missick as comic book detective Misty Knight, and Rosario Dawson (Daredevil, Jessica Jones) reprising her role as Claire Temple. In addition to those characters, you can also expect to see Mahershala Ali as the main villain of the first season- Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, Alfre Woodard as Black Mariah Dillard, Theo Rossi as Shades Alvarez, and Erik LaRay Harvey as Willis Stryker – also known in the comics as Diamondback.
The title character of Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter) previously made his Netflix debut on hit series Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Showrunner Cheo Hadari Coker has said the show should have a “Hip Hop” feel, and Colter has said that he hopes the show is something the African-American community will be proud to see produced.
With the previous success of the Marvel’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix, much is expected of this series. Luke Cage is highly anticipated, so hopefully it will live up to the hype!