[Potential SPOILERS for Luke Cage season 1 ahead.]
Marvel and Netflix are continuing their journey towards the hero team-up mini-series The Defenders with the upcoming series, Luke Cage. First introduced in Jessica Jones season 1 this year, we learned about Cage (Mike Colter) through his complicated friendship and romance with the lead character. He'll take center stage in his own series in 2016.
Luke Cage follows its namesake - a man who possesses super-strength and unbreakable skin thanks to an experimental treatment - as he tries to quietly rebuild his life in Harlem. It's not long before Cage is drawn into a gritty battle against crime and violence in the city, however. Previously-leaked set photos from the show's production have largely focused on Colter, but new images feature other stars of the series too.
The latest pictures from NYC, courtesy of PopSuger and Daily Mail (via CBM), show Colter interacting with Rosario Dawson (as Claire Temple, first introduced in Daredevil earlier this year). We also get a look at Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard, as well as some revealing interaction between Temple, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, and Frank Whaley's Detective Scarfe.
It wasn't originally clear if Scarfe was going to be friend or foe to Cage in the new series, but from the emotional reactions of the characters it looks more like friendship. The comic version of Scarfe was first introduced to Cage through Knight, his partner in the NYPD. Scarfe worked with both Cage and Iron Fist, who is also slated to get his own Netflix series in the future. The dramatic nature of the set photos puts Scarfe's appearance in the fourth series seriously in doubt, though.
Woodard's Dillard is a powerful Harlem politician that has her goals for the city drastically interfered with by both her cousin Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and Cage. The set photos show some character interaction but don't reveal much about her ultimate role in the drama.
Marvel originally described Woodard's presence on screen as "intimidating," and we can see a hint of that in the images from New York, despite her deceptively cheery floral coat. Since Mariah collaborated with Cottonmouth in the drug trade in the comics, it wouldn't be surprising if the Netflix series sees the character ruthlessly leading both in politics and the criminal underworld.
Daredevil season 1 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 and Daredevil season 2 will debut on Netflix in 2016. Release dates for Iron Fist and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced.