The Marvel Cinematic Universe may be bringing Luke Cage back in certain upcoming films and series in Phase 5 or Phase 6. The character, who was portrayed by Mike Colter first in Jessica Jones and later in his own spinoff series, Luke Cage, is one of several of Netflix’s character who has yet to return in the MCU following the cancelation of the Defenders Saga. However, as more and more characters from Netflix’s series return in various MCU projects, it seems highly likely that Colter’s superhero will also appear in an upcoming film or series, some of which seem absolutely perfect for his long-awaited return.
The MCU is embracing the Defenders Saga, bringing back certain iconic characters. Already, Charlie Cox’s Daredevil has appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, with future appearances set for Echo and Daredevil: Born Again. Cox is joined by Vincent D’Onofrio, who portrays Kingpin, and Jon Bernthal, who was recently announced to be returning as the Punisher. The sudden and rather speedy reemergence of Netflix’s Defenders characters hints at other heroes also returning, with recent social media posts from Mike Colter and Krysten Ritter, who portrayed Jessica Jones, implying that they will also reprise their roles in forthcoming Marvel projects.
Luke Cage is perfect for a surprise role in Marvel’s forthcoming Disney+ project, Secret Invasion. The series is set to explore various corners of the MCU as it is revealed that the shapeshifting alien species known as the Skrulls have secretly invaded the earth over the span of several decades. Because of the show’s wide-reaching effect on the MCU, it makes sense for characters from all corners of the franchise to appear, widening the scope of the Skrulls’ invasion. Furthermore, the show appears to be taking on a spy thriller tone akin to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, paving the way for more terrestrial heroes like Luke Cage to appear.
A few months shy of its premiere, Secret Invasion is already teasing major cameos, which could potentially include Chloe Bennet’s Quake from Agents of SHIELD. If Secret Invasion does intend to fold certain television characters into the MCU, Luke Cage is another perfect choice to join its cast. In fact, both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones play pivotal roles in the comic book event of the same name, with the former actually serving as a leading member of the New Avengers at the time. While Luke Cage likely wouldn’t be as integral to the MCU’s Secret Invasion, including him in the series would be a nice allusion to the comics.
Currently slated for Phase 5, Echo is another Disney+ series that could easily include Luke Cage in its first season, which will follow Alaqua Cox’s character, Maya Lopez, from Hawkeye. The series is already slated to include Charlie Cox’s Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin in major roles and is believed to play directly into the events of Daredevil: Born Again, making it incredibly easy for Echo to include other Defenders Saga characters as well. The events of the series have been kept quite secret, keeping in line with other major Marvel projects, but could be hiding a massive cameo from Luke Cage therein.
Because Echo will be a street-level MCU show, less powerful Marvel characters like Luke Cage fit perfectly into the series. Including an additional Defenders Saga character would also further connect Maya Lopez with the street-level heroes of the MCU, who seem to be becoming increasingly important despite the franchise’s more cosmic turn in recent years. The two characters could even find themselves becoming founding members of a new Defenders lineup in the MCU. Furthermore, given Maya’s connection to New York City, where she was last seen in Hawkeye, she isn’t far from Luke Cage’s home in Harlem, suggesting that the two superheroes could easily cross paths in the upcoming series.
Daredevil: Born Again
Luke Cage seems quite likely for an appearance in the MCU’s upcoming Daredevil: Born Again. Out of everything that the MCU currently has in the works, Born Again is the project most closely associated with Netflix’s Defenders Saga. Although the eighteen-episode series is quite possibly ditching certain supporting characters, including Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson and Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page, certain heroes in Daredevil’s proximity stand a better chance of appearing therein. As the series begins filming, Jon Bernthal’s Punisher has been confirmed to appear in at least one episode of the upcoming season, signaling that other heroes like Luke Cage could make a similar cameo as well.
Although Charlie Cox has expressed interest in Daredevil: Born Again focusing on MCU cameos, it isn’t out of the question to expect certain allusions to the Defenders Saga, if not surprise appearances from the characters therein. Daredevil has been imagined as the MCU’s entry into the street-level crimefighting scene, of which Luke Cage is a frequent contributor. If Daredevil really is being used to set up yet another MCU team of street-level heroes, it would make perfect sense for his old crimefighting companions from the Defenders, including Luke Cage himself, to appear in the upcoming Born Again series. The series has ample space for such characters in its eighteen-episode first season.
Captain America: New World Order
The prospect of Luke Cage meeting Sam Wilson in Captain America: New World Order isn’t as impossible as it might initially seem. With the exception of Charlie Cox’s brief cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home, there is little precedent for Marvel’s Netflix characters to appear in MCU movies. However, as the franchise continues to strive for complete continuity between its films and series, it is reasonable to expect that characters will fluctuate between the big and small screen with increasing regularity. And, although Luke Cage has yet to be fully integrated into the larger MCU after his series was canceled, he may fit perfectly into New World Order‘s rumored plot.
Marvel has strongly implied that New World Order will revolve around super soldiers and the many Captain America imitators that have emerged in the MCU as a result of Dr. Abraham Erskine’s super soldier serum. Sam Wilson is becoming increasingly isolated as the only Captain America successor in the MCU without physical enhancements of any kind. In Luke Cage, it is revealed that the titular character’s powers are derived from a super soldier serum imitation, a plotline that could easily play into his appearance in New World Order, as Sam struggles with his place in the superhero world as yet another super soldier appears with greater powers than his own.
Very little is yet known about the MCU’s fourth Spider-Man film other than that it is currently in pre-production with Tom Holland set to return. Despite the sparse facts regarding the first installment of Spider-Man’s next MCU trilogy, the upcoming sequel is the perfect project to include even more cameos from Marvel’s street-level heroes, including Luke Cage. Already, Spider-Man was used to introduce the first returning Defender in Charlie Cox’s No Way Home cameo. It would make sense for Spider-Man 4 to offer yet another surprise appearance from yet another Defender in Luke Cage, who even lives just a few subway stops away from Peter Parker’s Manhattan apartment.