It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Netflix’s new series, Luke Cage, mostly stands on its own, it does have a few important connections to the larger universe, including characters like Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and the Judas Bullet plot device. In fact, these little elements inject the Harlem-based series into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe far deeper than Daredevil or Jessica Jones.
In Luke Cage, the Judas Bullet is the only weapon to which our bulletproof hero (Mike Colter) is vulnerable. It’s sold by Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) but is manufactured by Hammer Industries, the rival arms corporation headed by Justin Hammer from 2010’s Iron Man 2.
In Iron Man 2, Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is a rival arms manufacturer whose company is a distant second to Stark Industries. Hammer hires the supervillain Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) to not only kill Tony Stark, but usurp his position as the world’s leader in defense technology. At the end of Iron Man 2, Hammer was sentenced to Seagate Prison, the same institution as Luke Cage.
Hammer and Cage never met in Seagate, but Hammer Industries continued operations even without its eccentric founder. The company salvaged Chitauri technology from “The Incident,” also known as “The Battle of New York” (as it’s been called in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), which took place in 2012’s The Avengers. The Incident continues to be a watershed moment for the MCU: It was the first time humans learned they were not alone in the universe, and — to quote Nick Fury from The Avengers — “hilariously outgunned.” Footage of the disaster is also sold on bootleg Blu-rays on Harlem street corners.
The Incident crushed Midtown Manhattan’s economy, allowing Wilson Fisk, Madame Gao, and the Hand to wield influence in Daredevil. But the Incident also allowed Hammer Industries to create the Judas Bullet, which was made specifically to target “Enhanced” individuals (“Enhanced” has been a known term for physically gifted heroes since Captain America uttered it in Avengers: Age of Ultron). When Cottonmouth learns about the Judas Bullet from Shades, he guesses correctly that it’s made from stuff not of this Earth.
Paranoia about aliens, green monsters, and mind control now regularly haunt the minds of citizens living in the increasingly dangerous Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has brought forth the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War and enabled Mariah (Alfre Woodard) to have her neighborhood hunt for Cage. But give it time: When Thanos comes knocking in Avengers: Infinity War, it will be heroes like Luke Cage who will save the day.
Marvel’s Luke Cage is now streaming on Netflix.