Luke Cage star Mike Colter has offered some insight into how Harlem's hero will cope with his newfound power in season 3. By the end of season 2 all of Harlem's existing kingpins had either been killed off or removed from power, and Mariah Dillard had left Harlem's Paradise to Luke in her will - effectively crowning him the new king of organized crime in the neighborhood.
At first Luke tries to resist the pull of power, but by the end of the finale he had embraced his ownership of Harlem's Paradise, sincerely believing that by taking charge of Harlem's gangs he can maintain the peace. Misty Knight tried to discourage him, warning him about the path he was headed down, but Luke didn't heed the warning. He also cut ties with Claire Temple, refusing to allow her entry to the club, while surrounding himself with a new circle of criminal allies.
None of this bodes well for Luke in season 3, and Colter says that "Power Man" is going to have his moral code put to the test. Speaking at Baltimore Comic-Con, the actor revealed that showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker is currently writing the third season of the show, and that it will explore how Luke copes with life at the top:
"I think the plan for season 3 is to explore Luke's ability to govern and be fair. At the end, we talk about there being a new sheriff in town, a new king in Harlem," Colter said. "We're going to see how he deals with this power, because we know absolute power can corrupt absolutely. And sometimes when you don't have someone checking you, someone to put you in place, someone to tell you 'you can't do that,' we sometimes get out of control. We see that everywhere."
Interestingly, Iron Fist season 2 set up a potential showdown between two of New York's superheroes. Near the end of the season, Misty Knight told the Iron Fist that she may need to call upon them to stop Luke, explaining, "you've got one of the few weapons that might make a dent in that man." Although Luke might be confident that he can run Harlem's crime kingdom without becoming corrupted by it, his arrogance could be his downfall. Colter continued:
"Luke is in Harlem, and so Harlem is going to be his place that he's going to have to control. And I think he's decided to use organized crime in a very, not practical way.I think he thinks he can be a part of it but not be in it. I think he thinks he can control it but not get his hands dirty. We're going to find out."
Luke may have Harlem's wellbeing in mind, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and trying to clean up the neighborhood via organized crime seems very likely to end up making things much worse. Without his friends and allies around to warn him when he's going too far, could Luke risk becoming just another Cottonmouth Stokes?
Luke Cage season 3 is expected to premiere in 2019.