In a few days, the world will be introduced to Luke Cage in his own television show. The Netflix series stars Mike Colter as the invulnerable vigilante who oversees the streets of Harlem, and fans are already stoked to see Luke Cage come into his own. After all, audiences met the character in Jessica Jones last year and fell hard for the hero - perhaps too hard. Apparently, the overwhelming fan response prompted Marvel Television to push up the release of Luke Cage and delay that of Iron Fist.
In a recent interview, showrunner Cheo Coker revealed that Luke Cage had been slated to premiere after Iron Fist but that those plans changed once Jessica Jones aired. The new show was an instant darling to fans and critics, and many viewers fawned over Luke Cage's inclusion.
“Marvel went from, ‘We’re gonna take our time’ to ‘Let’s flip it and do Luke Cage first,’” Coker said. “‘We’ve got this great concept and this guy is leaping off the screen, let’s follow the momentum.’”
While fans are definitely grateful for the push, Coker did say that Colter was taken back by the schedule shift. “I called Mike and he’s freaking out: ‘We’re having a baby, my wife’s going to leave me!’ I had to calm him down,” Coker explained.
Fans will remember Luke Cage from Jessica Jones as one of the heroine’s close comrades. The escaped convict kept his life low-key and tended to a bar, trying to ignore his unwanted powers. The hero held on to much of his past, leaving him to mourn the untimely death of his wife, and Coker said he was a fan of that characterization. However, when it came to Luke Cage, the showrunner said he wanted to expand that emotional turmoil even more so.
“I didn’t want to eradicate [Jessica Jones showrunner] Melissa Rosenberg’s conception of Luke Cage, I wanted to expand it,” he stressed. To do so, Coker took Luke Cage out of Hell’s Kitchen and back home where criminal underbellies ruled the streets. His take on the show turned into a homage to hip-hop culture and contemporary social issues about police brutality and racial supremacy. Of course, Luke Cage also comments on the on-going Black Lives Matter movements, something which Coker has spoken about in the past.
“We’re just trying to tell the best story we can,” Coker says. “The same rules still apply to black men. We’re just touching on things that have been in the black community for fifty years that society is just awakening to.”
“This is a cultural moment. It’s the first time you've seen television from a black perspective on black terms. Shows like Luke Cage, Queen Sugar, Atlanta, Insecure—we're all making black-themed entertainment on our terms, backed by major white companies who see the merits of saying, ‘Let’s see it unadulterated.’ That’s why with Luke Cage, we’re going for broke in everything we do.”
Of course, there are some who wish that Iron Fist overtook Luke Cage in their race to release. Fans of the martial arts hero may bemoan the series’ delay, but most seem to understand the schedule change. After all, there are more similarities between Iron Fist and Daredevil than with Luke Cage - and it seems like Netflix was eager for a change of pace.0comments
Iron Fist will hit Netflix soon enough as production on the series has already started. Finn Jones will play Danny Rand, and fans will see the hero crossover with Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones later on when Defenders premieres.