8 Things to Know About Marvel's "Luke Cage"

by IMDb-Contributing-Writers To those who watched Marvel’s "Jessica Jones" or are fans of Marvel comics, for that matter, Luke Ca...

by IMDb-Contributing-Writers
To those who watched Marvel’s "Jessica Jones" or are fans of Marvel comics, for that matter, Luke Cage is not a new acquaintance. This fall, the superhero with unbreakable skin returns to Netflix in his own TV show, and this time he is a fugitive, trying to rebuild his life in modern day Harlem, New York City. Here are a few hints about what to expect from the action-packed series when it premieres Friday, Sept. 30, on Netflix. — Carita Rizzo

It's not too serious.

Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker tells fans to expect a little bit of everything: humor, action, and social awareness. “I think [the show is] the opportunity to address a lot of issues but at the same time have fun,” says Coker. “The thing that I think is going to surprise people is that you’re going to come in thinking it’s serious, and it’s fun. You are going to come in thinking it’s fun, and it’s serious. We go back and forth, and there’s so much emotional depth to all of these characters. And these wonderful actors, I mean, they just they bring it so hard. I just can’t wait for the world to see it.”

Mike Colter, like his character Luka Cage, feels the weight of the world on his shoulders.

“It’s important in the landscape of television and for people, when they look at black culture, that we have positive images. I try not to think about it, because it’s an overwhelming task to think that you have to carry this thing on your shoulders.” says Colter. “We’re just trying to tell a story about a superhero who’s going through the same kind of changes that other superheroes, who are not black, go through. But because we are in small numbers, we’re kind of looked at differently. We’re just trying to tell a unique story. And I think we’ve done so. We have no agenda. But I’m proud that people do think he’s a good superhero. And I hope that the black community can feel good about him as well.”

Every villain is a hero.

“I have a hard time thinking of Cornell or ‘Cottonmouth’ as a villain,” Mahershala Ali says of his character. "I just think he is very concerned and essentially obsessed with keeping power, maintaining order, growing the family business, and dealing with the pressure of carrying on that legacy and not wanting to be the one that drops the ball. So, I think his idea of right and wrong is just different from my idea of right and wrong ... because you have to really look at how he was raised, who he comes from, and how they were brought up and what he was kind of forced into or led into."

Alfre Woodard is not reprising her role from Captain America: Civil War.

Though Alfre Woodard recently appeared in Captain America: Civil War as a grieving mother confronting Tony Stark, she won’t be the bridge between these two Marvel universes. On "Luke Cage," she plays a pivotal role as a powerful politician who considers the vigilante superhero her nemesis.

“Mariah Dillard is the cousin of Cornell Stokes,” explains Woodard. “Our grandmom, Mom Mabel, she was a successful businesswoman in Harlem, back when there were not the regular avenues to be successful for women or people of color. She built a very strong business that has been passed on to my cousin. He’s still doing business the way people of color and immigrants had to do back in the day. You operated a little bit inside the law, a little bit outside the law. I’m trying to say to Cornell, ‘The power now is in politics. Let’s do something different.’ We have a pretty good life going on … And then Luke Cage moved to Harlem.”

Detective Misty Knight isn’t down with vigilante justice.

“Scarfe and I are detectives in Harlem. And I think Misty is very comfortable operating within the system,” says Simone Missick, who plays future superhero Knight. “When Luke comes along, she can’t tell whether he is willing to be an ally in that or whether he is an opponent in that. So, that’s the main crux of their relationship. When you see them, it’s this fight because he is the reluctant hero. Scarfe is accepting of people with these abilities, and Misty is absolutely not. She’s very dead set on doing things the way that they should be done, according to the law.”

Each episode is named after a Gang Starr song.

“I liken binge-watching to what used to happen back in the day when a record would come out," says showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker. "For example, if Prince released 'Lovesexy' or 'Sign o’ the Times,' I would shut everything down and listen to the entire record. The only time that we do that nowadays is with these shows. So, the music gives this undercurrent rhythm, and it gives us a pulse for every single episode.”

Expect crossovers not distractions.

“We have seen some characters that have appeared and crossed over,” says Jeph Loeb. “Most notably, Rosario Dawson, who continues the character of Claire Temple. We’ve always been big fans of providing Easter eggs for our fans, but we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. You can’t just all of a sudden do: Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab. You actually get to see our characters interact with each other.”

There is a lot more Marvel in store on Netflix.

“The plan changes all the time,” says Jeph Loeb. “But the next show up will be 'Iron Fist' and then after that 'The Defenders.' We know that we are going to do another season of 'Jessica Jones,' and we’re going to do another season of 'Daredevil.' It’s certainly our hope that 'Luke Cage' gets to continue to tell stories. I would think everybody on this panel would be certainly happy to come back and have some more fun.”


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