EW got a chance to speak with Marvel’s Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker at the red carpet premiere of Captain America: Civil War last night and he teased the upcoming series is “sophisticated” with “a ’90s hip-hop vibe, but it’s really forward-thinking.” Elsewhere, Luke Cage himself Mike Colter said the series is “fugitive tale” and he was drawn to how Luke was a “work-in-progress.
Coker, who wrote the first two episodes (directed by Victor Frankenstein helmer Paul McGuigan) and executive produces Marvel’s first project led by a black hero, said it will be the first Netflix/Marvel drama to focus entirely on Harlem rather than Hell’s Kitchen.
“We have Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad doing the scoring for us. We have a lot of different musical appearances, but at the same time, we’ve got the Marvel action. We’ve got drama. I would like this to be, I mean, I know this is heavy but, The Wire of Marvel television, because we really deal with a lot of different issues.”
Issues of race relations are boiling in America lately and given set photos of Colter in a hoodie with his hands up, it’s clear the show will not shy away from timely material or ignore the politics of being a black man in America in 2016.
Colter added that the show seeks to transport people to Harlem in a similar way they’re transported to Asgard in Thor or the 1940s in Captain America: The First Avenger.
“I don’t know if there are a lot of people who have been to Harlem, who have actually stepped foot in New York City and gone uptown to 125th street and seen what the Apollo Theatre is like and the Cotton Club. We’re going to bring that world to them.
“First of all, Marvel’s Luke Cage is a fugitive tale about a man wrongly convicted and he’s then found his way to become a superhero. It’s a long journey. He’s a renaissance man and superhero all in one series and he’s a work in progress and that’s what makes me most excited for the character.”
As for his future relationship with Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Colter said.
“Well, since we last left off, I found some news that kind of hurt my feelings. No spoiler intended; I won’t get into details. But I still like her! I still care about her. It’s gonna take somthing to get over that. I’m in mourning so we’ll see what Luke Cage has to offer because Luke Cage is guy who likes to have fun and I’m gonna leave it at that.”
Series regular Simone Missick was also on hand to talk about her role of Det. Misty Knight.
“[Misty Knight] is so larger than life, and being able to put the voice to it for the first time is exciting. And then the writing was so rich. It was like, every day that you open the script, you’re like, “I really get to say this today? I get to do this today? I get to kick ass today?” So it was a lot of fun.”
Marvel’s Luke Cage stars Colter as the titular unbreakable hero, Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard, Mahershala Ali as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, Theo Rossi as Shades, Missick as Knight and Frank Whaley as Det. Rafael Scarfe. Rosario Dawson will also reprise her Nick Fury-esque role of Claire Temple from Daredevil and Jessica Jones, with Sonia Braga cast her mother Soledad.
Netflix premieres all 13 episodes of its first season on September 30.