Will Marvel's New Short Film Set Up Luke Cage?

'All Hail the King,' the Ben Kingsley-starring short included on the 'Thor: The Dark World' Blu-ray, has close ties to Marvel's future Netflix star.

Next year, Marvel will make good on its groundbreaking Netflix deal, rolling out four original shows designed to intersect in a miniseries event called "The Defenders." But will we see some of the Netflix heroes sooner than 2015?

There's reason to believe that Luke "Power Man" Cage could make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut sooner than his Netflix series, based on information revealed about Marvel's new short film, "All Hail the King." The upcoming One-Shot sees Sir Ben Kingsley reprising his "Iron Man 3" role of Trevor Slattery, the washed-up actor who posed as the Mandarin on Aldrich Killian's orders. In "All Hail the King," Trevor heads to prison and learns that his performance as the Mandarin has yielded unintended consequences.

But Trevor's new home isn't just any ordinary prison. A photo from "All Hail the King" reveals that Trevor's prison is called Seagate — the very same prison that plays a central role in Luke Cage's origin story.

In the comics, before he becomes a super-powered Hero for Hire, Cage finds himself framed for drug possession and subsequently incarcerated in Georgia's Seagate Prison. It's at this very facility that Cage volunteers for an experiment that imbues him with super-strength and unbreakable skin, powers he uses to break out of prison and eventually become a true hero.

It's not likely that the full extent of Cage's origin will play out in "All Hail the King," for a variety of reasons. For one, the short is Kingsley- and Mandarin-focused. For another, Cage's origin story will and should be mostly withheld for the coming Netflix series. But the use of Seagate in "All Hail the King" is impossible to ignore. Could this be the first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance of Cage, if only as a cameo, or as a name on a list of prisoners?

If nothing else, consider the Seagate Easter egg just the latest possible bridge between Cage and the MCU. Earlier in the week, "Ant-Man" director Edgar Wright dropped an enigmatic clue that could tie hirable heroes Luke Cage and Iron Fist (another of Marvel's Netflix Defenders) to his film. Trevor's incarceration at Seagate similarly suggests Marvel has plans to introduce or at least pave the way for Luke Cage earlier than his planned Netflix arrival.

Even if Cage doesn't factor into "All Hail the King," even if he goes completely unmentioned, the very existence of Seagate is a compelling first step on the way toward the full "Luke Cage" Netflix series. We'll find out if there's more to the story when "All Hail the King" debuts on the "Thor: The Dark World" Blu-ray, arriving on February 25.