5:07pm PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
'Luke Cage's' Mike Colter: "I Hope the Black Community Can Feel Good About It"
Marvel's next Netflix series could not be more timely. Luke Cage follows a bulletproof African-American superhero (Mike Colter) living in Harlem, and the cast and creator understood the responsibility they had in bringing the series to life.
"It's important in the landscape of television and globally as far as symbols," series star Mike Colter told reporters Wednesday at the television critics association summer press tour. "When you look at black culture, it's important to have positive images. It's an overwhelming task to carry this on your shoulders. We have no agenda, but I hope that the black community can feel good about it as well."
Since the Luke Cage comic book came out in 1972, "the year I was born," executive producer Cheo Coker said, he had to update the look of the iconic superhero to make it fit into the Marvel Netflix universe.
"The yellow shirt and the tiara aren't immediately present," Coker said of Luke's costume in the comics. "Luke Cage came out in the era of Shaft and Superfly. It was Marvel Universe's reaction to blaxspoitation. But blaxspoitation ... it's no different from anything else except we get to have swag and the chance to have compelling heroes and compelling villains. It's the opportunity to address a lot of issues and at the same time, have fun, and that's going to surprise some people."
Because of some of the issues that the series addresses, Coker argues that it's not just for comic book fans.
"People underestimate the complexity of comic books," Coker said. "Translating that to this universe, what makes Marvel characters different from other characters, is that Marvel characters live in the real world. You can come in as a comic book geek, you can come in as a hip-hop geek, a lover of mysteries, sports, anything. It really rewards repeated, complex viewing. That's what I love about doing it with Netflix. Without commercial interruption, you can really go in so many different directions."
While viewers met Luke in Jessica Jones, the second of four of Marvel's Netflix slate, Luke Cage is going to dive deeper into who this superstrong, bulletproof man really is.
"[Jessica Jones executive producer] Melissa Rosenberg provided such a great introduction to the character," Coker said. "In our show, this is from Luke's POV. This is like, when Luke was off camera, what was Luke doing? We're following that character and as a result, expanding it. We're getting into a different world."
Netflix boss Ted Sarandos revealed earlier in the day that the current plan is to release Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders before rolling out additional seasons of Jessica Jones and Daredevil. But as for additional seasons of Luke Cage, Marvel boss Jeph Loeb said that it's too early to tell.
"I'd like to tell you there's a plan but the plan changes all the time," Loeb said. "Luke Cage is our latest effort. We know that we are going to do another season of Jessica Jones and another season of Daredevil. It's certainly our hope that Luke Cage continues to tell stories but that's really Netflix's call."
Once the Avengers-style superhero team up series The Defenders debuts, will the lead characters show up in each others' shows more often than they have been so far?
"The short answer is we're already doing it," Loeb said. "The longer answer is, as things go by, as the story dictates it, we're always big fans of providing easter eggs but it has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage getting into a cab and Foggy Nelson [Eldon Henson] and Matt Murdock [Charlie Cox] are getting out of the cab."
Luke Cage season one will stream in its entirety beginning Friday, Sept. 30 on Netflix.