Netflix and Marvel TV are moving into the homestretch in the lead up to releasing their next collaboration, Luke Cage. Viewers of Jessica Jones have already been introduced to Mike Colter as the hero, but now he gets the chance to shine as the main focus of his own show. Early reviews for the first seven episodes of the series have pointed towards another hit. Outside of the series being the first Black-led superhero show in the MCU, the influence of music has shown another way that the tone will vary from other Marvel Netflix properties.
Series showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker is one of the main people to thank for making the series feel different than Jessica Jones or Daredevil. While the sub-genres of both of the previous shows have been clearcut, the genre that Luke Cage falls into may be different than what people may expect. That is, unless they were hoping for a hip-hop western.
During a recent interview with SciFiNow (via MCUExchange), Coker was asked about how the show is different from previous Netflix/Marvel series and, outside of the superhero genre, they are fairly different. Daredevil was ultimately a crime drama and Jessica Jones was a psychological thriller, but thanks to Coker’s unique vision and the story at hand, a hip-hop western with a superhero in the lead is what the show turned out to be:
“Luke Cage is a hip-hop western because it’s about a man with a mysterious past who would rather stay hidden; a man who moves to a new section of town, which has deteriorated over time. Instead of a saloon, we have a club named Harlem’s Paradise. And inside this ‘saloon’ there is another strong man who is controlling vice and – to some extent – has an amount of control in law enforcement [this would be Mahershala Ali’s crime lord Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes], so he gets away with everything.”
Oftentimes in westerns, the story at hand is a cowboy going up against a sheriff. In this case, Luke is the cowboy of Harlem and Cottonmouth would be that sheriff. This is an interesting approach to take with the series, but also makes a lot of sense once you think about it. Plus, the infusion of music, specifically hip-hop, will make this far different than any western that has been put to screen before.
Even though the songs may suggest an upbeat and fun show, the series will also delve into more pressing and serious issues. There will certainly be moments of fun, but they plan to address such things as the Black Lives Matter movement and the Trayvon Martin story. There had been a sense that Luke Cage could fall more into the political category with Alfre Woodard playing a local politician, plus Mahershala Ali is certainly no stranger to political dramas, but a western approach could shift the mindset of viewers heading in.
Daredevil season 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. The Defenders and Iron Fist arrive in 2017. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, The Punisher and Daredevil season 3 have not yet been announced.