A ‘Bulletproof Black Man’ Is Introduced to Marvel’s Netflix Arsenal, in Times of Civil Unrest

In the Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” ex-con Luke Cage (Mike Colter), ran a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, making sure that his customers didn’t fall victim to fatal alcohol-impaired accidents, and served as Jones’ on-and-off love interest. This fall, however, he will get his own show.

When “Jessica Jones” left off, Cage is under mind control, which Jones saves him from, though the two are no longer friends. They experienced a distressful falling out after Cage learned that Jones was responsible for the death of his wife. He then moves to Harlem, where his series will pick up.

After an experiment gone wrong, Cage has developed impenetrable skin, as well as a cynical outlook. He then uses this to his advantage, reluctantly taking on organized crime violence in his new neighborhood.

“Luke Cage,” along with continuing Netflix’s collection of Marvel series, continues the widespread conversation about systemic inequality in America.

The emergence of Superman and Captain America following World War II gave the public feelings of empowerment, which was desperately needed at the time. Today, with strong tensions between blacks and the police, after countless killings of unarmed black men, executive producer Cheo Coker believes that, “the world is ready for a bulletproof black man.”

By watching Luke Cage use his powers to make a difference in his community, Coker hopes that audiences will be inspired, and gain hope regarding the current state of the minority rights movements, including “Black Lives Matter.”

Though the development of “Luke Cage” preceded these acts of civil unrest, the producers became increasingly aware of the show’s timeliness and potential for change.

“We all feel vulnerable, and as much as Cage would not like to have these powers that he has, he has been imbued with these powers and abilities and he has to own them, said Coker. “Whether he wants to deal with this or not, the time has come to not only use his powers to help the community and society and everyone, but also use it to speak out because he has that ability. He doesn’t have to fear ramifications like other people who fear for their life. He is vulnerable, yes, there are things that can hurt him, but not bullets.”

Season one of “Luke Cage” will premiere on Netflix on Sept. 30, 2016.

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