After watching Luke Cage on Netflix, we feel as though this is the TV show that we truly needed. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably feel the same way. At least, you inevitably would feel that way if you watched the first episode of the show. And if you watched the first episode, you would inevitably have already watched the second. There’s just something so damn cool about this wonderful piece of online television that you can’t finish an episode and not let that 15-second Netflix autoplay timer do its thing. Luke Cage is not a zeitgeist-defining piece of work or anything, but it’s just so damn… cool. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to go ahead and do that right now.
If you have seen it and can’t at least acknowledge its inherent chillness, you are not welcome in our article. If you’ve seen the show, love it, and want to learn more about this fascinating character, well hop right on board, partners! It’s going to be a long, lovely ride, filled with sweet Christmases, sweet betrayal, and sweet babies. And you’ll be totally safe here — this list is bulletproof. Just like Luke Cage, get it?
15. His Alter Ego Was Power Man
If there are two things we know about Luke Cage, we know that he is completely bulletproof, and that he is very, very strong. So strong, apparently, that he chose to give himself the mind-bogglingly simple name of Power Man. Granted, it was a moniker that he took on semi-ironically — the only reason he gave himself a superhero name at all was to fit in with the rest of the superheroes, thus adding some credibility to this ultra cool business venture he’s on — but still, Power Man? Superman is already a lame name, but Superman is the OG superhero, so he gets an infinite pass for that. Iron Man, though not quite as bad as Superman, is pretty on-the-nose as well with his moniker. But Power Man takes on a whole new level of lame superhero name simplicity. We’re glad that he’s plain old Luke Cage in the show.
14. Nicolas Cage Took His Last Name From Luke
If there’s one thing we love as much as we love the new Luke Cage series on Netflix, that would be sir Nicolas Cage, god of lords, king of the utterly, bizarrely beautiful. Nicolas Cage is an anomaly on earth, and everything about him screams total lunacy. Even on those rare occasions when he’s acting like a normal human being, Nicolas Cage is still gorgeously, complexly weird, simply because he’s acting like a normal human being. We won’t go into the plethora of abnormalities that make Nicolas Cage Nicolas Cage, but we will inform our readers that Nicolas Cage would have surely been Nicolas something else if he’d have never picked up the original Luke Cage comic books. Cage (Nicolas), being a big comic book junkie (among many other things), loved the character so much, he took his last name. Now you know something else about Nicolas Cage, and may the gods help you if you seek to learn the rest.
13. “Sweet Christmas!” Is His Comic Book Catchphrase
Judging by the stoic, solemn Luke Cage we see on the show, we don’t picture him ever uttering any sort of catch phrase at all. If he did, we’re sure that it would be far from anything as jolly and whimsical as “Sweet Christmas!” In the original comic books, however, he did indeed go around town spilling out the sweetness of Christmas whenever he was shocked or amazed by something. In House of M, Luke Cage gave us some illumination on that incomprehensibly strange and unfitting catchphrase, explaining that he promised his mother on her deathbed that he would never swear again. Hence, cage adopted “Sweet Christmas!,” and it doesn’t take too much mental unpacking to realize that it’s a substitute for the pseudo curse term “Sweet Jesus!” Sweet strangeness, is all we have to say to that, and we’d probably die laughing if ever we heard him say it on Netflix.
12. Quentin Tarantino Really Wanted To Make A Luke Cage Film
This one is truly painful to think about. As awesome as the Luke Cage Netflix series is, we drool at the thought of how the character and his story could have been portrayed if left in the godlike directorial hands of Quentin Tarantino. Even if you never watched or heard any of the man’s interviews, all you’d have to do is watch some of his films for a few minutes to realize that the man is highly inspired by the blaxploitation sub-genre, which of course is the ideological origin of Luke Cage. Oh man, what we would give to have seen Tarantino put out a Luke Cage movie instead of Jackie Brown. It was just not meant to be, and we can’t complain too loudly about it, since we did end up getting a fantastic series for the character. As it turns out, Tarantino wasn’t the only one to almost bring Luke Cage onto the big screen.
11. A Luke Cage Film Was In Development Hell For 10 Years Before The Netflix Series
That’s right; for a long time, Columbia Pictures owned the rights to a Luke Cage feature film, but they could never manage to get the project out of the rusty old drawer and into production. Development hell is an unfortunate purgatory that plenty of potentially great films have fallen into, and it’s pretty sad that a Luke Cage film was stuck in it, too. It’s especially annoying when you see the names of the stars who were in talks to play the titular role. Jamie Foxx is among them, along with Idris Elba, Tyrese Gibson, and even Isaiah Mustafa, the beloved Old Spice man. Terrence Howard would also have potentially starred as the main antagonist of the film, which makes us even more teary-eyed at what could have been. Thankfully, of course, the silver lining to the dead film project is that we got the awesome Luke Cage Netflix series.
10. He Was In A Simpsons Episode (Sort Of)
The Simpsons must have their writing room occupied exclusively by omniscient sages who know everything there is to know about the universe, and funnel it all slowly into their show. Omniscience among human beings is a far-fetched thing to think about, but not much else could explain how the show has lampooned so many facets of pop culture. They have a lot of content left to cover, but at least they got a pseudo Luke Cage appearance out of the way. Oh yes, Luke Cage was sort of, kind of on The Simpsons. Except it wasn’t really Luke Cage; it was Carl Carlson playing a version of him called Nuclear Power Man, which is a name that plays on Luke Cage’s superhero name of Power Man. The superhero Nuclear Power Man was a part of the Heroes for Rent, once again a parody of another one of Luke Cage’s handle, Hero for Hire.
9. He Was Inspired By Blaxploitation Films
One look at the cover image of the very first of our hero’s comics, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, makes it extremely clear that this series was inspired by the subgenre of blaxploitation films, which was immensely popular back in the 1970s. Indeed, the first issue of the Luke Cage comic books was released in 1972, at the height of the blaxploitation era. In fact, the creators of Luke Cage (misters Archie Goodwin and John Romita, Sr.) were under specific orders from the big cheeses at Marvel Studio to create a series inspired by blaxploitation in order to capitalize on the huge popularity of the subgenre at the time. Really, the Marvel executives had just reason to give out such orders; blaxploitation films like Blacula, Shaft, and Super Fly were absolutely killing it back then, and it’s in part thanks to their success that Luke Cage ever came to be.
8. Mike Colter Beefed Up Big Time For The Role
In preparing for a role, several actors go to great lengths to get their minds and bodies ready for the screen. Everyone understands the concept of a method actor, one who spent a good deal of time before shooting going about their daily lives as the character they’re about to portray. Some of these extremists of the craft rarely break character on or off screen until the shooting is done. Other times, an actor will significantly alter their diet and workout regime to either gain or lose a good amount of weight to better fit their character. We don’t exactly peg Mike Colter as the method acting type (he just seems to us like a naturally cool and silently heroic dude whether he tries to be or not), but he did go through the process of altering his body shape before filming. Colter gained 30 pounds of sheer, protein-backed mass in order to better portray Luke Cage. It definitely shows, and we commend him for it. We would ask him for his workout regime if we were friends with the guy. Or if we worked out, like, ever.
7. He’s Made Appearances In Several Video Games
Admittedly, Luke Cage is on the weaker end of the spectrum when it comes to the popularity of comic book characters. Marvel has like a million super heroes and super villains, and pretty much half of them are cultural phenomenons, so there’s a lot of competition for Luke Cage in the field. However, that hasn’t stopped the character from edging his way in to several video games. In all, Luke Cage has been featured in twelve Marvel video games, among them: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and Marvel: Contest of Champions. As fun as it is to watch our hero take bullets to the chest and frown them off on the Netflix show, picture what a grand old time you would have if you got the chance to actually control a pixellated Luke Cage. It’s an option available to you, friends. Just be sure you’re not sitting too close to the TV when you play.
6. His BFF Is Iron Fist
As popular as Luke Cage was after his comic was released, sales began dwindling before long, and the series was at serious risk of cancellation. In a last-ditch attempt to save Luke Cage from sure doom, the head brains at Marvel decided to team our man up with another superhero who was also dwindling in popularity: Daniel “Danny” Rand, AKA Iron Fist. As it turned out, Marvel’s idea actually ended up working, and the pair managed to save each other’s super bums by teaming up together. They got off to a shaky relationship at first, but they worked out their differences to develop a bond that’s still going strong today. Power Man and Iron Fist, a superhero duo that spells out sheer strength and pure, ooey gooey cheesiness. Still, we love them both dearly, but surely not as dearly as they love each other. We have our fingers tightly crossed that mister Daniel Rand will make an appearance on the show.
5. His Favourite Jacket Is Also Bulletproof
By this point, we all know that Luke Cage is a bulletproof man, and we all know how annoyed he gets when his clothes don’t mirror the impenetrable properties of his skin. Having to buy new clothes every day is not fun, no matter what cool super powers you have as a fallback. What some people don’t know is that the Luke Cage in the comics has a certain go-to jacket— his very favourite jacket, actually, and it’s just as bulletproof as he is. In the original story, Luke’s jacket was put through the same Super Soldier treatment that Luke went through himself, granting the jacket the same indestructible properties that Luke has. Essentially, this means that the bulletproof man has another layer over him that is also bulletproof. If by some miracle the bullets happen to puncture the jacket, they would need another miracle in order to puncture Luke Cage’s skin. The odds are highly against the bullets here.
4. He Has Been A Part Of Several Superhero Teams
The Luke Cage that we know, love, and respect from the Netflix show is a towering obelisk who mostly chooses to tower alone. How many times have we heard him say that he just wants to be left alone? Enough times for us to believe him. That’s why it might come as a surprise to learn that the Luke Cage from the comic books joined forces with various groupings of super heroes over the years. The written and drawn version of the character was also a stoic loner, but unfortunately, his comics didn’t tend to sell as well as his peers’ did, and his series was subject to multiple early cancellations. Because the good folks at Marvel had such a soft spot for Luke Cage, they made him an integral part of such groups as The Thunderbolts, The Defenders, and The New Avengers. Any Luke Cage is good Luke Cage to us, so we’re happy about the inclusions.
3. He Used To Be In The Bloods
A lot of super heroes — though they glow in pure altruism as we follow them through their storylines — have a troubled, sometimes shady or even criminal past. Luke Cage (or Carl Lucas, as he was known then) is definitely one of those super heroes. Though his criminal past was mentioned sparsely in the first season of Netflix’s Luke Cage, the extent of his past criminal activity was never truly unpacked. It is made clear in the comics, however; Luke Cage was actually a member of the Bloods. It’s uncertain whether the street gang in the comic is a direct mirror of the actual Bloods of the real world, but we’ll go ahead and assume that Luke Cage’s writers had at least some knowledge of the gang before writing their comic. Luke Cage actually went pretty high up the young blood ladder, earning the spot of gang leader along with his (former) best friend, Willis Stryker.
2. His Former Best Friend Screwed Him Over
There are two things that this entry can teach you: never let a woman come between you and your best friend, and never trust anyone, ever, not even your best friend. It’s a hard life we’re living here, but we welcome you to the real world by telling you a little bit about the fictional one. Luke Cage was once best friends with a criminal named Willis Stryker, who was in love with a woman named Reva Connors. When Reva and Willis eventually ended their relationship, she went running over to Luke, and Luke didn’t exactly push her away, to say the very least. Willis didn’t like this one bit, so he planted heroine in Luke’s apartment and informed the cops about it, which led to Luke’s arrest.
1. He And Jessica Jones Made A Baby
We’re so used to our classic superheroes falling in love with plain Janes; like the plainest Jane of them all, Mary Jane, who stole Spider-Man’s heart. Then there’s Batman and Rachel Dawes, Superman and Lois Lane, Iron Man and Pepper Potts… the list goes on and on. Maybe it’s the whole damsel in distress thing (it’s definitely the whole damsel in distress thing), but super heroes don’t normally tend to court their own kind. Not that we’re eugenicists or anything (we are definitely not eugenicists!), but we have a creeping suspicion that a baby born from two super heroes would grow up to be super dope. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones seem to share our perspective, since they eventually ended up getting married and having a baby together. With that considered, it seems appropriate that Luke Cage made his debut in Jessica Jones’ own Netflix series before he started his own.