Luke Cage season 2 may not be out until 2018, but we have an inkling of what may happen thanks to Marvel’s The Defenders. Netflix’s hero team-up saw Cage join forces with Daredevil, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones to save New York from the Hand, but while Luke Cage show runner Cheo Hodari Coker says it won’t dictate his second season, there was a lot more to glean from the eight-episode series than just where the criminal organization came from.

Luke begins the season getting out of jail early, thanks to a little help from his lawyer Foggy Nelson (who now works for Jeri Hogarth’s firm). Upon returning to New York he heads to Claire Temple’s apartment – their relationship still being intact – and makes clear that he wants to continue to help the people of Harlem. Misty Knight approaches Luke to help with an investigation into the death’s of young people in the community – most recently Sean Miller, the brother of Candace Miller, who was murdered by Mariah Dillard so she wouldn’t give witness testimony about the councilwoman killing her cousin Cottonmouth.

It’s through the last Miller child, Cole, that Luke is made first aware of the Hand and one of its five fingers, the White Hat, who turns out to be African war lord Sowande. The Hand founder had swooped in to take claim to Harlem, after the disappearance of Dillard and Shades at the end of Luke Cage season 1, and has been using the young people of the area to help clean up murders conducted by the Hand.

Alfre Woodard and Theo Rossi have both been confirmed to return in the second season of Luke Cage, so we can definitely expect Black Mariah to be back with a vengeance after being in hiding for several months while Cage was incarcerated. His absence from the area would have been a perfect opportunity to retake Harlem, but the fact that she hasn’t returned yet seems to imply she has planned something big for her attempted return to power – though she might not just have Luke to contend with.

Mustafa Shakir has been cast as John McIver, a.k.a. Bushmaster, a Caribbean crime boss who wants to conquer Harlem and reap his own brand of vengeance. Just who has wronged McIver is unknown, but in the comics he was a common adversary of Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing and Iron Fist. The Defenders certainly hints at a potential Heroes for Hire team-up right out of the comic books and with Bushmaster being a villain to both Luke and Danny it would be a good opportunity to see them wok together again.

The Daughters of the Dragon (Misty and Colleen) supported the Heroes for Hire in specific runs, and also appeared in their own series too. Simone Minnick is confirmed to appear in Iron Fist season 2, but Finn Jones has yet to be announced to appear in Luke Cage’s second season. This doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t pop up, however; Netflix may want to keep it under wraps, but as we see more crossovers in Netflix’s Marvel Universe we could also see the villain narrative of Luke Cage season 2 continue into Iron Fist season 2. Precedence has already been set for this as we saw the Hand’s antagonist storyline stretch across Daredevil, Iron Fist and The Defenders, so it wouldn’t be a push to expect the Marvel showrunners to continue this trend in Luke Cage, Iron Fist or even Jessica Jones.

Jessica is another hero who may influence the narrative of Luke Cage’s second season, as we saw her and her former lover grow closer once more. By the end of The Defenders, the pair were seen having a drink and he told her in no uncertain terms how glad he was that she had survived. Luke invites her to visit Harlem some time and she says they should grab a coffee, which could mean that Krysten Ritter will make a guest appearance and potentially cause a rift in Luke’s relationship with Claire. Rosario Dawson is definitely back in Luke Cage season 2 (is there a Netflix Marvel series she hasn’t been in?) and it looks as though Luke has moved into her place, but while she has played an integral supporting role in each series, she doesn’t have super powers so she doesn’t share that connection with Luke that Jessica does. Season 2 will definitely explore their relationship and potentially his returning feelings for Jessica, but it will also look at his identity in Harlem and in what way he can protect the community.

At the end of The Defenders, Foggy tells Luke and Claire that they won’t be prosecuted for their involvement in the Midland Financial Circle building coming down but that doesn’t mean they have a good relationship with the police. Misty’s boss was not happy with the Defenders’ vigilante actions so will no doubt be keeping an eye on all of them in future seasons. This will obviously make it difficult for Luke to take justice into his own hands as he doesn’t have a superhero mask to hide behind, which also makes him and his loved ones an easy target for enemies. As Mike Colter pointed out earlier this year:

“It’s something that we’ll explore in the Defenders and hopefully in season two of [Luke Cage] which I start very soon. It’s very different. He’s out. People know what he looks like. He’s not in any kind of disguise. People know where he lives. They know where to find him so it’s something he has to deal with. Most superheroes don’t have to deal with that and can kind of keep it separate.”

However, it looks like Misty will be by his side when the tough gets going as new pictures show her with her bionic arm and marching into action next to Luke. In the comic books Knight sets up her own detective agency, so if these pics are anything to go by Jessica Jones won’t be the only special P.I. roaming the streets of New York.

With Luke Cage season 2 expected to continue filming all the way until March 2018 we have a long time to wait before seeing him back in action, but we have The Punisher and Jessica Jones season 2 to keep up us entertained in the meantime and hopefully they’ll hint at what’s to come for Power Man.