Now that we’re more than five years into the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the shared superhero universe has grown to include many moving parts. The film side of the franchise is gearing up to launch Phase 3 with Captain America: Civil War while ABC and Marvel TV are building out their slate of shows and Netflix is continuing to move forward with the streaming service’s New York City-based Defenders universe. Already, two seasons of Daredevil and one of Jessica Jones have premiered, and Luke Cage will debut later this year – to be followed by Iron Fist and The Defenders team-up.
As evidenced by the differing, but still complementary, tones of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Netflix and Marvel TV have allowed these series to carve out their respective corners of the Defenders universe while working together as parts of a larger story. According to showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and star Simone Missick, who will bring the Marvel Comics character Misty Knight to life in the series, Luke Cage will also set itself apart from its fellow Marvel Netflix shows.
In an interview with CBR, Coker and Missick were asked about how Luke Cage is different from Daredevil and Jessica Jones; Missick answered simply, “It’s completely different,” before both went into further detail about how the show’s location in Harlem will affect the tone:
Missick: The colors, the feel, the sounds — everything about this show is its own thing. Harlem is a character in this show. All the other shows took place in Hell’s Kitchen; this is the first one that’s taking place in Harlem, and you definitely feel that. You feel that in the music, in the conversation, in the characters, everything. It’s its own thing. “Luke Cage” is something completely new
Coker: … That’s really the vibe of the show — on one hand, we’re dealing with Harlem in ways that really haven’t been dealt with. But at the same time, it’s a superhero show. At the same time, you get to meet Luke Cage. You get to meet Misty Knight. You get to meet all these other characters. It’s these comics come to life with a hip-hop vibe. It’s incredibly fun.
Coker previously spoke about the show’s ’90s hip-hop influences and called Luke Cage “The Wire of Marvel television.” As for the character himself, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) first appeared on Jessica Jones season 1, and the actor previously spoke about melding the two versions of his character together while reiterating that the superhero’s solo series would be “different and unique.” We’ve seen some of these differences in the first teaser for Luke Cage, but it will likely be clearer once more footage from the series is released.
As for the other characters populating the world of Luke Cage, Missick was first cast as Misty Knight late last year, and joined fellow cast members Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy), Frank Whaley (Ray Donovan), and Rosario Dawson (Daredevil, Jessica Jones). While speaking to CBR, Missick explained what it was like to step into the role:
Misty Knight is so iconic and so important to so many people; you don’t realize until you join the project. Then people are like, “Oh, my God, you’re Misty Knight!” It makes you even more excited. To be the first person to say these words, to give her a voice, it’s like stepping into your own ocean, and it’s yours.
First introduced in the 1970s, Misty Knight’s stories have been intertwined with both Luke Cage and fellow Defender Danny Rand a.k.a. Iron Fist in the comics. But, Missick’s portrayal of Misty on Luke Cage will be the first live-action iteration of the character on either television or in film. For her part, Missick seems excited about the challenge of bringing Misty Knight to life, but whether the character resonates with viewers – both comic book fans and casual audiences alike – remains to be seen when Luke Cage season 1 premieres in September.
Daredevil season 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, Iron Fist, and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced.