'Luke Cage' Will Be Different For Marvel

by Courtney Lindley

If you watched Netflix and Marvel's Jessica Jones, then you're already familiar with Mike Colter's interpretation of the character Luke Cage. What you might not be prepared for, however, is how that will translate to his eponymous series. As in, will the Luke Cage we saw in Jessica Jones be the same Luke Cage in Luke Cage? Well, ostensibly, yes. He's played by the same actor, he operates in the same comic world, etc. But, tonally? Not so much. At least, our perspective of him will change, because the lens with which we are viewing him through will alter as well. This Luke Cage is in the hands of showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, and he, along with Simone Missick — who will play Misty Knight — have claimed, according to Screenrant, that Luke Cage will be different than both Jessica Jones and Daredevil.

As Daredevil and Jessica Jones are different for obvious reasons — one centers around Matt Murdock, a male superhero, and the other a female, the anti-hero aspect is more realized in Jessica Jones than in Daredevil, and that shifts the whole voice of the series — slightly, but noticeably. Apparently showrunner Coker will be taking this a step-forward, by differentiating Luke Cage from both it's Netflix predecessors. With tone, setting, and even the influence of hip-hop.

Marvel and Netflix are moving forward with their plan to build out four separate shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and most recently, Iron Fist) that will eventually come together to form the basis The Defenders. But, in order for that to work, all four of the solo series that predate The Defenders have to be nuanced — because we have to care about them individually. Having stakes in each of the characters and their respective shows is the best way to ensure The Defenders thrives. The sum will only be as great as its parts, but here's the catch: In order for these parts to each individually succeed, they have to be simultaneously congruous, yet different in their own right. In that case, Luke Cage's divergence will only serve to propel the larger picture forward.

In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Missick said Luke Cage is "completely different" and both Missick and Coker spoke up about how this is so. Missick said, "The colors, the feel, the sounds — everything about this show is its own thing. Harlem is a character in this show [...] And you definitely feel that. You feel that in the music, in the conversation, in the characters, everything. It's its own thing. Luke Cage is something completely new."

Coker echoed those sentiments with a follow up. "We’re dealing with Harlem in ways that really haven’t been dealt with. But at the same time, it’s a superhero show. [...] It’s these comics come to life with a hip-hop vibe. It's incredibly fun." Though don't mistake Coker's insistence that the show is "fun" for lightness. It will still be adult, it will still be serious. (We know this because earlier this month, Coker likened the show to HBO's crime drama, The Wire.)

For the sake of consistency, this seems on par with where this specific niche of Marvel and Netflix helmed series has found themselves. Dark, gritty, and adult. But Luke Cage ups the ante. Not only will Luke Cage be all these things, it will — like The Wire and even the source material for Luke Cage — deal with real social and political issues.

But not to worry, as outlandish as The Wire comparison might feel at the moment, Coker doesn't have any false hopes about what Luke Cage is and is not. He said of the show's serious side, "It's grounded, but at the same time, the fantasy element of it also, I think, will attract people. We have something that's very dramatic, but at the same time, we don't run away from our comic book roots. We embrace them."

Look out for the "completely new" Luke Cage embracing those roots in September of this year.

Images: Netflix; Giphy (2)