Summary

  • Luke Cage’s introduction to MCU Phase 5 would likely tie him to Kingpin, creating new crime boss dynamics in New York City’s streets.
  • Spider-Man’s potential street-level pivot will see him face the iconic villain Kingpin and connect with Luke Cage.
  • By incorporating Luke Cage and other Defenders Saga characters, Marvel is expanding its MCU roster and exploring more grounded storytelling.



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The huge reveal that Marvel’s Netflix shows are officially MCU canon may have given a pivotal role to one missing Marvel hero in Spider-Man and Daredevil’s Phase 5 story. Until recently, the MCU canonicity of the Marvel TV shows that preceded Disney Plus was up for debate. This was cleared up to a degree when the shows made their way to Disney Plus’ official MCU timeline, before The Defenders Saga was recently officially canonized by Marvel Studios’ Head of Streaming, Television, and Animation, Brad Winderbaum, making Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, The Punisher and Luke Cage MCU canon.


“The Defenders Saga” refers to the shows that surrounded and contributed to the crossover miniseries
The Defenders
, in addition to
The Punisher
.

Needless to say, this will have a wide-reaching effect on the MCU, which now has to contend with what the Defenders’ presence means for the wider narrative. Charlie Cox’s Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin, who appeared in the MCU long before their series were moved into the MCU timeline, have already been making waves in New York alongside MCU stalwarts like Peter Parker and Clint Barton. With Kingpin, in particular, poised to put himself in a pivotal MCU role of his own, there is one additional Defenders Saga character that it will be impossible for him to avoid.

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MCU’s Kingpin Story Is Inherently Tied To Luke Cage If The Defenders Is Canon

Marvel’s decision to officially declare The Defenders part of the MCU may have struck gold with regard to how it can incorporate Luke Cage. Following the events of Kingpin’s last MCU appearance in Echo, he appears destined to become the Mayor of New York City. This will certainly not preclude him from pulling the strings of his criminal empire at the same time, turning him into a far more terrifying threat to New York City than ever before. It will also put him square before another crime boss: Luke Cage.

Now that Luke Cage is canon, it means that Cage is operating as the new crime boss of Harlem in the MCU. This was established as the previous kingpin of Harlem, Mariah Dillard, bequeathed Cage with her nightclub, Harlem’s Paradise, and the dubious title it comes with. With New York’s overarching Kingpin poised to impose himself even further on the city, Cage and Fisk are fated to interact by virtue of this connection.


Details of Spider-Man 4 are yet to be confirmed, but reports suggest that Marvel Studios is gearing up to make it a street-level outing now that he has gained his anonymity and is striking out alone in New York City. If this is the case, he will no doubt come up against Kingpin, one of his most iconic villains from the comics, and the Defenders of New York City. This would be a stark departure from his recent outings, but will establish a new trajectory for Peter Parker in the MCU – and one that will necessarily collide with Cage.

Why Luke Cage Being Re-Introduced In MCU Phase 5 & 6 Makes Sense


If Spider-Man is poised to make a street-level pivot, then he will find plenty of company in Phases 5 and 6. The refocus on the streets of New York City as opposed to its skyline necessitates the arrival of Luke Cage, who is inexorably tied to Harlem. Both characters will then join an ever-growing roster of street-level heroes in the MCU that are being established in Phases 5 and 6 as the MCU treads new ground in the wake of its heroes’ preoccupation with all things cosmic in the Infinity Saga.

Street-Level Heroes Established in the Multiverse Saga

Where They Were/Will Be Introduced

Daredevil

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Kate Bishop

Hawkeye (2021)

Moon Knight

Moon Knight (2022)

She-Hulk

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law (2022)

Echo

Echo (2024)

Blade

Blade (2025)


It also makes sense that Daredevil: Born Again, which is set to release in 2025, will revisit the Defenders now that they are MCU canon. Kingpin will no doubt have a large part to play in MCU Phases 5 and 6, and with New York being his base of operations, there is no better time for Luke Cage and his fellow Defenders to stand up to him. It also means that Marvel can capitalize on Luke Cage’s popularity in the wake of a disappointing start to MCU Phase 5.

How Bringing Luke Cage Into The MCU Properly Would Be Good For The Franchise

Mike Colter's Luke Cage in his new suit at the end of Luke Cage season 2

MCU TV Show

Critics Consensus

Audience Score

Ms. Marvel

98%

80%

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

94%

81%

Daredevil

92%

89%

WandaVision

92%

88%

Hawkeye

92%

88%

What If…?

91%

80%

Werewolf by Night

89%

88%

I Am Groot

88%

79%

Loki

87%

86%

Luke Cage

87%

71%


Now that it is canon, Luke Cage is among the top ten highest-rated MCU shows and is the second highest-rated of the Defenders Saga. Part of what makes it so highly rated is its depiction of real lives in Harlem in a decidedly supernatural environment and the social commentary that comes with it. Marvel can also stand to break away from its typical formula and start exploring more hard-hitting stories typified by the shows of The Defenders Saga.

Alongside other upcoming street-level MCU shows, this will help to make the looming multiversal cataclysm of the Multiverse Saga even more potent when it arrives in either of the next Avengers movies. The recent focus on the terrestrial lives of superheroes and Regular Joes alike acts as a stark contrast to the likes of Loki, who was last seen holding entire timelines together as he embodies multiversal free will. Focusing on these grounded stories helps make the mind-bending consequences of cosmic entities’ whims more real, which Phase 4’s focus on the effects of the Snap helped to establish.


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