The Netflix Luke Cage series seems to be firming up over the past few weeks. I, for one, am looking forward to it. I just hope they don’t harm it the way they harmed Ben Urich in the Daredevil series.
As a black man, I’m very happy to see that there’s some color coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s leading men. Granted, the Black Panther is coming, but it isn’t going to be his movie. He’s going to be crammed in with the other heroes during the Civil War. I’m happy to see him, but he’s not a leading man. Not yet.
I’ll even go so far as to say that Luke Cage isn’t a leading man. He’s not strong enough of a character to helm his own movie, which is a strange way to look at the fact that he’s a strong enough character to have his own television series. Granted, the budget isn’t anywhere near as big on television as it is for films, but you still get more “face time” with the character on television than you do with a film.
As for the leading man status, there’s that perception of difference between film and television. Film is seen to be the end-all, be-all when it comes to entertainment, despite the fact that there are fewer moviegoers year after year, which means a steadily declining box office in the face of ballooning ticket prices due to inflation.
When it comes to original content, Netflix and other video-on-demand providers may be the saviors of television. They can do things that networks can’t (or won’t) do. (Really, have you seen Daredevil? One of the most violent shows I can recall seeing. You can shoot at people, have explosions, intimate sex, and say a few naughty words on television, but you can’t show the level of brutality that was on Daredevil. Not without censors coming out of the woodwork.)
What to do?
For Marvel, I’d love to see more series show up on Netflix. I don’t want them to abandon their film efforts, but I’d love to see more series show up on Netflix, simply for the fact that you get more time with the characters. You can get deeper into the mythology, which means more opportunities to branch out and make the connections that is happening in the films.
This would mean that Luke Cage could be an Avenger on television and in film, just as he is in the comics. Then he’d be a true leading man.