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Who is Luke Cage, and how is he connected to the Marvel Universe?

You don’t have to be a comic book fan to know Luke Cage. The superstrong Marvel hero originated in the comics, yes, but he also recently made his on-screen debut in Netflix’s widely acclaimed Jessica Jones. And now Luke Cage is getting his own television show, premiering on Netflix on Sept. 30. So whether or not you’ve read the comics or seen Jessica Jones, you’re gonna want to know who Luke Cage is.

More: Supergirl vs. Jessica Jones: Why one superhero is way better than the other

First off, what makes Luke Cage so great?

Luke Cage (Mike Colter), also known as Power Man in the comics, is an indestructible superhero — think Superman, but without the ability to fly. His skin is bulletproof, his limbs stronger than steel, and he can beat any human opponent that comes his way. When we meet him in Jessica Jones, he’s living under the radar, hiding his powers behind his bar — Luke’s. A widower, his wife had been killed years ago when he first met Jessica (Krysten Ritter) on Jessica Jones. After they sleep together, Jessica, who also has superstrength, realizes that she killed Luke’s wife while under Kilgrave’s control.

He was mind-controlled

Jessica and Luke soon discover that they both are in possession of superhuman strength — which made for quite possibly the best sex scene on television last year — but it’s not long before their relationship deteriorates. After Jessica confesses to Luke that she killed his wife, he breaks off their relationship and ends up being mind-controlled by Kilgrave. Under Kilgrave’s control, he blows up his own bar and starts a huge, blowout fight with Jessica that, thankfully, they both survive. Jessica manages to knock Luke out before either one of them gets killed, and she takes him to the hospital, where Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) — aka Daredevil’s secret nurse in Netflix’s Daredevil — helps nurse him back to health.

More: Jessica Jones: 8 times Krysten Ritter was a total badass

He’s embracing his powers
Needless to say, Luke Cage has been through his fair share of trauma. And that’s where we’ll meet him again in Luke Cage. Months after the events of Jessica Jones, Luke is now embracing his powers, though not enough to become a spandex-wearing superhero. He does, however, have a sense of duty to his community and family in Harlem, which prompts him to come out of the shadows, at least for now.

His next opponent: Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes — among others

Luke Cage will find our hero going head-to-head with local crime boss Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and dealing with his criminal past in the form of “Shades” Alvarez (Theo Rossi). And he’ll also cross paths with Harlem Detectives Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and Scarfe (Frank Whaley), as well as his cousin, politician Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard). However, though Claire Temple will appear on the show, Jessica Jones won’t be a regular part of the season — or, if she is, it’s being kept very secret.

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The show vs. the comics (specifically regarding Jessica Jones)

Jessica Jones’ absence from Luke Cage is bound to raise a few eyebrows for Marvel fans. In the comics, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones end up teaming up and fighting crime in New York City together as part of the Defenders, a group of superheroes that also includes Iron Fist, the next superhero to get a show on Netflix. Not only do Luke and Jessica fight together, but they also fall in love, get married and have a daughter together, so we’ll see whether or not the show will take that same route.

After watching Season 1 of Jessica Jones, I am desperately shipping Luke and Jessica, so I really hope these two superpowered kids get it together. If they do, it’s likely we won’t see their relationship come to fruition until Netflix brings them back together in The Defenders series, which will bring together Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Iron Fist in 2017.

DC or Marvel crossovers slideshow
Image: Darren Michaels/CBS

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