The Future of the MCU

Tessa Thompson has been championing greater diversity in the MCU. It will be interesting to see how the MCU’s future, which will be more diverse, will achieve the kind of representation that advocates want. My thinking is the answer is no. It cannot, the MCU is designed to balance fan and non-fan understanding. Yet, the strength of the brand means they can provide greater diversity. Captain Marvel is a clear example of this reality. It is not the best superhero film, it is good, but its connection to the MCU was crucial wedge for success. We live in a media franchise age.

The Meaning of Luke Cage

The media campaign for Luke Cage Season 2 on Netflix is in full effect.  If I was to rate the success of the Marvel Netflix universe, I would say that Daredevil is the most impressive interpretation of the original comic and Luke Cage is the most effective adaptation the original comic. Why do I parse my words so? Well, I think Daredevil does the best job saying, "This is Daredevil" for the audience. I think Luke Cage does the best job of capturing what the character can mean for the audience. The truth of the matter is that the original Luke Cage from the comic book reflected the white misreading of black power politics and culture in the late 1960s.  Inspired by the success of Shaft, the comic book Luke Cage captures the emphasis redeeming black masculinity, suspicion of the police, and community-centric narrative associated with that era, without fully explaining why black people had those feelings. Mired in a white framework of "black anger" that refuses to acknowledge systemic discrimination, the comic book Luke Cage fights 'street level' villains and problems.  You can make the argument he is similar to Daredevil in this regard. Matt Murdock's obsession with protecting Hell's Kitchen is legendary. Yet, the comic book narrative about community linked to the two character has not always been equally lauded. Daredevil (and Spider-Man) are well regarded as loving their hoods. For years, this aspect of Cage's character has only gained traction since Brian Micheal Bendis used the character in Alias, his Jessica Jone title. Bendis' version of Luke Cage is the template for the Netflix. As a guiding light at Marvel, Bendis was able to use Luke Cage in the flagship The New Avengers title. As a result, Luke Cage moved from the edge to the center of Marvel fictional universe.