We’ve grown accustomed to superhero films dominating the spring and summer before largely fading away when it comes time for the autumn and winter season of, shall we say, more serious projects. But this year will be a little bit different. While we’ve already seen Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Suicide Squad, we’re not quite done yet. In the next few months, Marvel is set to unveil two new superheroes who will factor into future ensemble projects. Let’s take a look at what’s coming.
First, there’s Luke Cage, who as we’ve mentioned has cheek bones that can break a man’s hand. This is a character we’ve actually seen plenty of already because he played a fairly central role in Jessica Jones, which hit Netflix last year. Cage was presented as a somewhat-introverted bar owner with a haunted past and mysterious abilities and ultimately blossomed as a formidable ally/lover alongside Jones. It was a fun role made all the better by Mike Colter’s stoic but charming portrayal.
What remains, however, is Cage’s own origin story, and that’s what it seems we’ll be getting in his solo Netflix show, which will be available for streaming on Netflix starting September 30. There’s a little bit of confusion regarding the potential plot, however. We know that Luke Cage will take place in the time period a short time after the events of Jessica Jones, and yet synopses have seemed to indicate that the show will delve into how he got his powers and ended up where he is. In all likelihood, this means Cage will be off on his own when his past catches up to him, presenting opportunities for flashbacks that tell the origin story without focusing too heavily on a familiar coming-to-power narrative.
What will be interesting is to see where the series takes the character in terms of public interest. Daredevil and Elektra, both of whom were revived in Daredevil on Netflix, now seem to be very much a part of today’s Marvel empire. Both have appeared in a set of casino games based on popular entertainment, where many of the other characters stem from Marvel’s biggest films. Slot reels feature the likes of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, but Daredevil and Elektra both have their own games as well, signifying their sturdy places in Marvel lore. By contrast, Jessica Jones didn’t really gain much influence beyond her show. She has no such casino game and isn’t even a playable character on Marvel’s apps, in which dozens upon dozens of heroes and villains (including Luke Cage!) typically show up. In all likelihood, this autumn’s show will dictate whether Cage remains more of a fringe side character, like Jones, or whether he’s catapulted to higher levels of interest, like Daredevil.
Doctor Strange is a little bit different because he represents something entirely new for Marvel. At one point, there were rumours he might make a cameo in Captain America: Civil War, similar to the new Spider-Man, but we didn’t actually see any such appearance. So this odd and exciting character will be making his cinematic debut when Doctor Strange is released in November.
The synopsis leaves a great deal to the imagination, unless you happen to be deeply familiar with the comics, in which case you may have a clearer understanding of what’s coming. But here’s what Marvel has told the public: Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a neurosurgeon who loses the ability to operate when an accident affects his hands. When he sets out to try to fix them, he ends up on a bizarre quest that puts him in touch with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who informs him that he’s been chosen as the “Sorcerer Supreme” and must learn mystical arts to protect the world. If that sounds a little bit different, the trailer looks entirely bewildering. It’s a thrilling series of scenes involving the bending of reality and warping of dimensions.
But the most interesting thing with this character is the growing buzz that he’ll be placed in a scary scenario. Writer/director Scott Derrickson is known almost exclusively for horror films, and while this will certainly be a little bit of a departure for him, he’s expected to bring some of that experience into the superhero genre. That doesn’t mean Doctor Strange will be a dark film full of creaking doors, spooky little children and haunted mansions, but it could be a scarier film than we’re used to from Marvel.
That rounds up the rest of the year for Marvel. It will be a busier autumn and winter season than we’ve grown accustomed to. If things go well, these projects will introduce not just two new heroes, but two fan favourites to join the MCU.
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