Marvel's Jeph Loeb Talks Luke Cage's Character and Real World Connections

Luke Cage
(Photo: Netflix, Marvel Entertainment)

Marvel Television is set to debut its third Netflix television series, Marvel's Luke Cage, at the end of September. Like Marvel's Daredevil and Marvel's Jessica Jones before it, Luke Cage will explore the darker, grittier side of the Marvel cinematic universe's New York City, but from a new perspective.

"I think, very much, as not just the Head of Marvel Television, but also as one of the executive producers of all of the shows, it really is our responsibility -- not just to Netflix, but to the audience -- to be able to see how rich the Marvel characters are," Head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb told CBR at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2016. "It really is incumbent on us to make sure each show has a different feeling to it. when we brought in [showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker], one of the things that we talked about was what makes Luke different. there are some obvious differences in the sense that we're talking about really the first African-American superhero that comes from the street and lives in that world. when we started there, we said, 'What is that physically going to look like?'"

Cage is a character who was created in the 1970s, during a time of great racial tension. It isn't hard to see parallels between that era and the racial issues of today, and that's something that Marvel's Luke Cage will tap into.

"You can't set out to do Luke Cage and not deal with the reality of what's going on in this country, and what's going on in general," Loeb says. "It's not what the show's about, but if we can get our message out, which is, 'This is all one planet, and we're going to have figure it out' -- you just can't put up walls and try to figure it out that way. We made a show which has great fun, great action, all the things that you want out of Luke Cage.

"Marvel always works best when it lives in the real world, but then has the Marvel touch around it," Loeb continued. "There are people with superpowers, there is that little magic icing of humor, the people are aware of how unusual this is. It's one of the things that's very different about Marvel -- if someone is suddenly bulletproof or able to lift up a car or tear off a car door, there are people there going, 'How did that happen?'' as opposed to, 'Oh, I guess it's just yet another person with superpowers.' By making it real and grounded and feel like it is of our world, then if we happen to be able to get a message in along the way, great -- but if you just want to watch the show and enjoy the show, enjoy the show."

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Marvel's Luke Cage starts streaming on Netflix on Sept. 30.