'Luke Cage' Showrunner on the Success of 'Black Panther' and 'Black Lightning'

Ryan Coogler's Black Panther exceeded expectations by absolutely crushing the domestic box office. At nearly $700 million, Black Panther is the highest-grossing movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For that matter, it's the third highest grossing movie to ever hit the box office in the United States.

On the small screen, Black Lightning took The CW by storm in it's first season on the network. It quickly rose to top of the review-aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes with a 97% rating and it garnered over 30 million viewers.

Cheo Hodari Coker — the showrunner behind Marvel's Luke Cage — recently sat down with /FILM to talk about the increasing popularity of superhero properties with African-American leads.

"It's just honestly just pure joy and adulation. I'm just rejoicing the fact that film and television finally has the diversity of thought that hip hop music has always had," Coker said. "What I mean by that is that back in the day, you could be a fan of Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest, UGK, Hieroglyphics, The Dogg Pound without any of them cutting each other off. You could be a fan of east and west coast hip hop simultaneously because as a fan of hip hop, you'd want to listen to anything that was featured in Vibe or Source magazine."

"For film and television there were so few opportunities for any of us to shine, that it was always like isolated. And so here it is on one hand, you have this moment where there are so many different black superheroes but really at the same time, you've just got a global audience for everything."

Coker then went on to compare Luke Cage and Black Lightning to other shows currently airing.

"At the same time you've got Luke Cage and Black Lightning, even though they're not superhero shows, you've got Atlanta, Insecure, Dear White People, Queen Sugar, The Chi, Power," Coker explained. "All of these shows existing with all these different viewpoints and everybody's celebrating everybody else because we're fully appreciative of the opportunity that we all have in our own way to contribute to black culture at large."

When asked about the possibility of future black superheroes appearing in live-action, Coker guaranteed there would be more.

"I think the thing is that there's a lot of white superheroes but at the same time you still have tentpoles. When the smoke clears, it's still Captain America, Batman and Iron Man," said Coker. "Everything else, you have stuff that's out there but the big three are the ones that cut through everything else. I think the fact that Black Lightning, Luke Cage and Black Panther have each made noise in their own way will only lead to different superheroes and different genres."

"Hopefully, I personally want to see Idris [Elba] take on James Bond. Or at the very least for Ryan Coogler, who's a huge fan of James Bond, to be one of those directors that's considered very seriously for a Bond movie. The global success of Black Panther would at the very least get him a meeting. On one hand you can say a brother has to have the ninth best selling movie of all time in order to get that meeting and that being a problem. At the same time, I'm happy he has the ninth biggest movie of all time."


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The second season of Luke Cage is now streaming on Netflix.