Luke Cage cast reveal behind the scenes of the Netflix Marvel series

We meet the crew behind Netflix’s latest Marvel series Luke Cage

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He’s the former convict with superhuman strength that fights crime on the streets of Harlem, New York, and he’s back, bigger and burlier than ever.

We’re talking about Luke Cage and the second season of Netflix’s Marvel machine that just keeps chugging along – but this time, we’re not complaining.

In this series, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) has become a celebrity on the streets of Harlem with a reputation as bulletproof as his skin.

But his new-found notoriety isn’t without its problems and the pressure he feels to protect the community is completely off the charts – and that’s before the villains get involved.

In this series we’re introduced to a whole string of new baddies and with the rise of a formidable new foe, Luke is forced to confront the fine line separating superhero and villain.

Writer and producer Cheo Hodari Coker says, “It was really important in season two to put Luke Cage at the centre of things from a standpoint of who is he? How’s he dealing with being exposed as being a hero?

“He was so reluctant in season one to be a hero and now that the cat’s out of the bag and everyone knows his name, and knows where to find him, how does he react to that? What happens to his ego, what happens to his relationships? There was a quote Mike Tyson had about boxing that was ‘Everybody’s got a plan until they get hit in the face’ and that was really one of the themes for this season.”

Returning cast includes Rosario Dawson as love interest Claire Temple, Simone Missick as cop Misty Knight, Alfre Woodard as relentless councilwoman Mariah Dillard and Theo Rossi as criminal supervillain Shades.

New cast members include Mustafa Shakir and Gabrielle Dennis, among others.

The first episode in season two was directed by actress and director Lucy Liu who was a massive fan of season one.

Liu says, “This was a wonderful opportunity, because Cheo and I worked together on (TV series) Southland. That was a very specific show that was off the cuff. We shot with three cameras, we had a very small crew and I learned a lot from that.

“Having the opportunity to work with Cheo again was so special and he also said to me ‘I really want you to bring your own creative essence to this’. As a director that’s what you want, you don’t want to feel like you don’t have the ability to have your own eye.

“You’re not coming in and trying to change the show but you want to add to it. You want to add an element of style that you can bring that’s not going to shift and make it seem like a different show.”

Although the show is based on a fantasy world where heroes and villains run amok, the makers insist that the content has never been more relevant in the real-world – especially when it comes to inclusion in society and authentic representation.

Coker says, “We don’t water down culture at all, it’s done in such a way that even if you’re not from hip-hop or African American culture; there’s a window into the show.

“The thing I love about the worldwide reception is that a lot of people who aren’t from an African American background resonate with the show.

“It proves people around the world just want a good show, and while culture is certainly a part of the show, at the same time it’s inclusive in that people just get into it. That’s always been the goal.”

This season also has a stronger female influence, with several women directors.

Coker says, “Gender has nothing to do with where you place the camera. That’s all about passion and vision. In the past there were always questions on what African American writers can do and accomplish and female sensibility. It’s not about that. It’s about your vision for the characters on the show. That’s number one criteria.”

Liu adds, “As a woman it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to be a part of this culture that I now am. I didn’t grow up in television and film, so this really is a dream come true.

“To take all of these experiences and to apply it as a director is incredibly special. I think it’s time for women to have the opportunity.”
Luke Cage is on Netflix now.

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