The arrival of Marvel’s first black superhero project, the Netflix series Luke Cage, it’s been said, comes at just the right time. The man responsible for bringing the show to life is first-time showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, with a wealth of background on gritty crime shows like Southland or Ray Donovan. Speaking with Vulture, he explained what his pitch was to Marvel when he met for the job.
“I said ‘I want the show to be Belly meets City of God as written by the staff of The Wire.’ I’ve known Hype Williams (director of Belly) forever so when I say Belly, that movie is just so bombastic in terms of the visuals, in terms of what he did and in terms of how it communicated heightened aspects of our culture and hip hop. And City of God is one of my favorite movies of all time because of the fact it deals so specifically with the history of a certain section of Rio. It’s interconnected with the music and all the different stories.”
A sign of great artists is the inspirations they draw from and Coker’s words line up perfectly with his previously-described vision of bringing hip hop to the forefront (aka the “Wu Tang-ification of the MCU”) and making Luke Cage’s Harlem as elemental as Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen.
Like The Wire creator David Simon (and many other TV writers), Coker began his career as a journalist and is a hip hop expert, having wrote” Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of The Notorious B.I.G.” He watches The Wire – all 60 episodes – each year and is inspired by how Simon managed. to capture an “aspect” and “create a world.” Put all these influences in a pot, and we should be in for a treat in about 29 days.
Luke Cage premieres all 13 episodes on September 30, only on Netflix.