In just about two months, we will see Mike Colter once again grace our screens as Luke Cage in his own series, simply titled after his name. Those of you who saw Jessica Jones got their first taste of what Luke is like and a lot of us liked what we saw. The clamor for his solo series to hit is continually rising, and this weekend should only further increase the excitement. Luke Cage is set to have a big presence at San Diego Comic-Con with their panel later today, but interviews should continue to hit over the course of the weekend.
That said, the first of these has dropped with TIME Magazine posting a new interview with the leading man himself. Colter has previously talked about a variety of topics since his debut last year, but this weekend should be full of new information with the series just around the corner. One of the big questions for Luke is where he is at in his personal life following what unfolded with Jessica, and as Colter says, he is not in the best place.
I would say he’s probably somewhat emotionally spent. Up until that point of meeting Jessica [Krysten Ritter] he’d found a nice little groove for himself. He has his own bar, he’s his own boss. So it wasn’t too bad considering he was a fugitive on the run.
By the time the series ended, Jessica had brought on quite a bit of baggage, things he didn’t want to deal with. I think that there was promise in their relationship at first. Maybe he was hoping this would be someone to move on with in life. But it’s a drama, so it can’t be that easy. You can’t get to happily ever after in a season.
By the time we get to the beginning of Luke Cage, he’s had time to get himself back on his feet a little bit. But he’s weary of women. He’s weary of trusting people.
So far each individual Netflix series has had a distinct tone and focus. Daredevil was dark with themes of religion and morality taking center stage. Jessica Jones was arguably even more mature and dealt with rape, among much more. For Luke Cage expect a similar mature tone, but Colter says the Harlem nature will be felt in a very personal story.
Daredevil has Hell’s Kitchen. Luke Cage has Harlem, and that has a totally different feel to it. The people who live there are different; the history is different. Harlem has this relationship with music that’s special—The Apollo Theater, The Cotton Club. For decades, artists lived in Harlem because they felt like it was a place they could thrive and live on their own terms.
The neighborhood went through a tough time in the late 70s and early 80s because of the influx of drugs and violence. So it took a bit of a rebuilding. Now, Harlem has gone through this whole gentrification process. And in this show past meets present.
But it’s very intimate. Jessica had a very personal story, dealing with one specific villain. Luke Cage is intimate in terms of the sense of community and a neighborhood. The people who live in the neighborhood connect with Luke Cage and want leadership.
What exactly this intimate and personal story is about is being kept close to the chest, but a political nature seems to be infused to the series. We know that Alfre Woodard is a politician in the series, and Mahershala Ali clearly has background with politics on House of Cards, but that is only the beginning really. Colter said, “There is a political angle to our series. You have criminals functioning alongside politicians,” and this can create some differentiating views for those living in Harlem.
Cops and criminals aren’t that different. They just play by different sets of rules. And the lines get blurred. There’s no such thing as “right” and “wrong.” There’s always a grey area. There are always hypocrisies.
Luke too sees the hypocrisies of the justice system, and he gets frustrated. But he was instilled with a certain set of values and wants to do things the right way. That allows him to not play judge, jury and executioner. He understands people have to make choices for themselves, and that’s difficult, but it’s what puts him on the side of good.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited for Luke Cage and a political nature sounds perfect for this group. The ability to address very real and sensitive topics that are ongoing in America could give the series an extra punch that makes it premiere television. The crew understands just how influential this series can be, but Colter also understands the pressure that comes with playing such an iconic character.
Expectations about what the character is and should be by the mass audience who have been waiting for this character for 40-odd years. You’re not going to satisfy everyone. You can’t allow everyone’s voice to be in your head about how it should be done. The difficulty is staying true to the creator’s version of the character, why he’s relevant now that society has changed, Harlem has changed, crime has changed.
This interview gets me really excited for the story that this series should be tackling and gives me some high hopes. If it can feature the politics of House of Cards with an extra dose of super powers, this should maintain the notion of excellence for the Marvel and Netflix partnership. Let us know your thoughts on this interview in the comments below!
Luke Cage will debut exclusively on Netflix at 12:01 a.m. PST on September 30th.