[SPOILERS for season 1 of Luke Cage ahead.]
Christmas arrived early this year for Marvel fans with season one of Luke Cage finally being released over the weekend. Many have already made their way through the series at least once, and in doing so have seen the completed story told throughout thirteen hours on Netflix. Throughout the first seven episodes, Luke found himself up against Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), but the end of that episode brought about the end of one villain and the introduction of another. The episode ends with a mysterious shooter successfully using a Judas bullet to hit Cage, with the shooter later being revealed to be Willis Stryker aka Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey).
Even though this was the first chance to see Diamondback on the show, his presence was building throughout the previous episodes. It was quickly revealed that the connection between Diamondback and Cage was more than good vs evil, and Harvey talked about the motivations behind his complicated villain, and the future that he could have.
Harvey was recently interviewed by EW to talk about his role throughout the last half of the season. The reveal of him being the half-brother to Cage quickly complicated the relationship that the two opposing men had. Diamondback had thrust himself into the position of being Cage's number one enemy and was on a mission to take him down. However, this was not out of hate necessarily, but the result of Diamondback's shaky mental state:
Well, in a sense, this is a game to him. I think truly deep down, inside, he still loves Carl. That’s the funny thing about family, right? You hate ‘em but you love ‘em. You love ‘em but you hate ‘em. [Laughs] It’s one of those situations. He remembers a loving time they had before they had the mess, so [the thinking] is partly like, “I really need to hurt him but I don’t want to kill him.” So it becomes this game, and I think the smile is just the mask he wears with everyone. It’s not genuine. He’s not trying to be nice or to befriend anyone. It’s just his way of dealing with his pain. He smiles through his pain.
The majority of Harvey's appearances had him in regular clothes as he battled Cage, but the final confrontation brought a more comic accurate look to Diamondback. This is clearly a nod for fans of the comics, but the suit was given enhancements from H.A.M.M.E.R. to make the fight a bit more even:
They were trying to incorporate as much of the original character as they could, so the color scheme is the same. In the comics, it was just, like, his regular clothes. He went out every day in that green jacket, that was just his look! Lookin’ like a pimp daddy. [Laughs] But this suit he wears in the show is more armor. It allows him the ability to go into a fight with Luke and not get hurt. He can be punched, but he can hit as well, you know? Once he’s got that suit on, he gets on equal terms [with Luke], which is something he’s always wanted to be. He’s always wanted to be seen as an equal and he never had a chance. Anytime he does, he really enjoys it, and he’s a happy man.
The final fight does not end in the result that Diamondback had hoped for however, with him being the one left in critical condition. This does not appear to be the end of the character's story however with the doctor from Seagate prison sneaking his way into gaining access to Stryker. While this ending does make it seem likely that he could come back for Luke Cage season 2 or even The Defenders, if that is the plan, Harvey does not know just yet.
I do not. Marvel is secretive. They left it open-ended — I’m just so glad they didn’t kill me off! [Laughs] But I think it’s been a challenge to Marvel, because here we are talking about how this story is about family. What should Marvel do with the brother of Luke Cage? That’s a good question, and I don’t know [the answer], they haven’t told me. All I know is I’m in a hospital bed. What is [the doctor] going to do? What’s he there for? I’m really interested to see if any of those questions will be answered.
Diamondback is arguably the lead villain throughout season one, but only has half of the screen time that other Netflix/Marvel big baddies have had. Hopefully this is only the beginning of the character, as his inclusion not only further drives the history of Cage, but also continues a very strong connection between the movies and the series. H.A.M.M.E.R. tech is not something that should be taken lightly and Cage knows that for a fact now. Whether it is an as-of-yet unannounced season 2 or another series, fans who enjoyed Diamondback as a villain should get to see more of him in the future.
Daredevil season 1 & 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. 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.