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Luke Cage (TV series)

Luke Cage
Based on Luke Cage 
by Archie Goodwin
John Romita Sr.
Developed by Cheo Hodari Coker
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s)
Cinematography Manuel Billeter[1]
Production company(s)
Distributor Netflix
Original channel Netflix
Preceded by Marvel's Jessica Jones
Related shows Marvel Cinematic Universe television series

Marvel's Luke Cage, or simply Luke Cage, is an upcoming American web television series developed for Netflix by Cheo Hodari Coker, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise and is the third in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Coker serving as showrunner.

Mike Colter stars as Luke Cage, an ex-con with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin who now fights crime. Mahershala Ali, Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, and Frank Whaley also star. Development of the series began in late 2013 and in December 2014, Colter was cast as Cage, to appear first in a recurring role in Marvel's Jessica Jones. In March 2015, Coker was hired as the showrunner. Filming began in New York City in September 2015.

All episodes are set to premiere in 2016.


  • Premise 1
  • Episodes 2
  • Cast and characters 3
    • Main 3.1
    • Guest 3.2
  • Production 4
    • Development 4.1
    • Writing 4.2
    • Casting 4.3
    • Filming 4.4
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-ins 4.5
  • Release 5
    • Marketing 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7


When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem, and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.[3]


Cheo Hodari Coker will write the first two episodes of the series.[4]

Cast and characters


An ex-con with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin who now fights crime.[5][6][7] Colter read the comics and was familiar with the "very detailed, gritty" stories about Luke Cage,[8] but was reluctant to sign on due to some of the comics' depiction of the character, saying "when I saw the tiara, all the 1970s blackspoitation stuff, I was like, 'oh my God...' But they assured me, 'that's not what we're doing, we're doing a modern day version.'"[9] Colter ultimately signed on for Marvel's Jessica Jones, with the contingent of appearing in a solo series, without reading any scripts.[10] Colter noted that the character's catch phrase 'Sweet Christmas' would be used in the series, saying "I was afraid of that phrase, but it actually fits so well, I don't know why, I don't know why it fits so well into Luke's mouth."[9]
On playing the character as well as factoring in race, Colter said, "The approach with the character for me is more about the human qualities and the things that make Luke Cage tick... It feels good to get a character that has such a story, background, and history... And the writers have to then decide to bring in the race of the character, if there’s an angle there. But I don’t look at it as something I have to prep differently for... It's more of an aside, rather than something I take on by the horns. It doesn't really factor for me at all."[8] Describing Cage, Colter said, "He's a neighborhood hero, very much linked to New York and Jessica Jones. It's all part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but Luke Cage is a darker, grittier, more tangible character than Iron Man or Thor. He likes to keep things close to his chest, operate on the hush-hush. He has these abilities but he’s not sure how and when to use them. He's a very nuanced character.[7]
A local politician looking to bring change to Harlem and Stokes' cousin, whose life is "thrown into turmoil" by the actions of Cage and Stokes.[3] The character was originally referred to as "Minetta".[13]
A Harlem police detective with a strong sense of justice, who is determined to learn about Cage and is the partner of Rafael Scarfe.[14][15] The character was originally referred to as "Missy".[14]
  • Theo Rossi as Shades: A relentless, menacing, smooth and manipulative, street smart criminal, with ties to Cage's past.[15][16] The character was originally referred to as "Sonny".[16]
  • Frank Whaley as Rafael Scarfe: A hard-nosed police detective and partner of Misty Knight.[15][17]




In May 2013, Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to Luke Cage from Sony Pictures Entertainment / Columbia Pictures,[19] after a feature film had been in development at Columbia since 2003,[20] to no avail. By October 2013, Marvel was preparing four drama series and a miniseries, totaling 60 episodes, to present to video on demand services and cable providers, with Netflix, Amazon, and WGN America expressing interest.[21] A few weeks later, Marvel and Disney announced that they would provide Netflix with live action series centered around Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, leading up to a miniseries based on the Defenders.[2] In late March 2015, Netflix and Marvel Television announced Cheo Hodari Coker as the show's executive producer and showrunner, and revealed the title to be Marvel's Luke Cage.[4]

In January 2015, Netflix COO Ted Sarandos stated the series was "eligible to go into multiple seasons for sure" and Netflix would look at "how well [they] are addressing both the Marvel fanbase but also the broader fanbase" in terms of determining if additional seasons would be appropriate.[22] In July 2015, Sarandos said some of the Defenders series would "selectively have multiple seasons as they come out of the gate."[23]


The series picks up "a few months" after Jessica Jones and is set in Harlem, rather than Hell's Kitchen as with Marvel's Daredevil and Jessica Jones, which Mike Colter described as "a completely different world". Colter also explained that by the end of Jessica Jones Luke Cage is "uptown in Harlem, working, trying to make ends meet. Luke Cage really hasn’t figured out what he’s doing. He’s tending bar[s], he’s bouncing around. And for good reason, he’s a fugitive, he has some skeletons in his closet. He’s trying to basically stay off the radar. The people he hangs around with, though, are in need. Ultimately, he’d rather be alone, can’t do that when you’re a superhero. You have these gifts, now use them."[24]

On how the writers are developing the character, Colter said, "when I look at the scripts, I’m really pleased with it because it’s a slow-burn; there’s nothing happening really fast that gets ahead of itself. I’m really with where [the writers are] taking it and how they’re developing the characters, because it’s really cool and it’s geared towards an adult audience, which is something that will be different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe you’ve seen before on the big screen. We have a more gritty, focused story on our heroes and characters that live in New York City... and I think that’s the thing about the [Netflix] series that will be different."[8] In July 2015, Loeb said the series was about Luke Cage's "story and where he came from and, most importantly, where he’s going" after "catching him not quite in the middle, but in the early part of the middle" of his story on Jessica Jones.[25] When asked whether the series would feel as "adult" as Jessica Jones, Colter replied, "if you think Jessica is adult then we’re still keeping up with that pace. It’s adult and we’ll continue along those lines of PG-16+ that kind of stuff."[26]


By November 2014, Lance Gross, Colter and Cleo Anthony were in contention for the role of Luke Cage, which was envisioned as a recurring role on Jessica Jones before headlining Luke Cage.[27] In December 2014, Colter was confirmed as Luke Cage.[5] In August 2015, Alfre Woodard was in talks to join the cast,[13] and the following month, she was confirmed as a series regular as Mariah Dillard along with Theo Rossi, Simone Missick, Mahershala Ali, and Frank Whaley, who were cast in the roles of Shades, Misty Knight, Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, and Rafael Scarfe, respectively.[3][11][14][15][16][17]

Rosario Dawson reprises her role of Claire Temple from Daredevil.[15][16]


Marvel announced in February 2014 that the series would be filmed in New York City,[28] with Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief Joe Quesada stating that April that the show would be filming in areas of Brooklyn and Long Island City that still look like the old Hell’s Kitchen, in addition to sound stage work.[29] In July 2015, Marvel Television head and executive producer Jeph Loeb stated that the series was prepping to begin filming,[30] and by September 2015, production had begun with the working title Tiara.[31][32]

Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-ins

Luke Cage is the third of the ordered Netflix series, after Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and will be followed by Marvel's Iron Fist, before leading into the miniseries, Marvel's The Defenders.[33][34] In November 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that, if the characters prove popular on Netflix, “It’s quite possible that they could become feature films,"[35] which was echoed by Sarandos in July 2015.[23] In August 2014, Vincent D'Onofrio, Wilson Fisk in Daredevil, stated that after the "series stuff with Netflix", Marvel has "a bigger plan to branch out".[36] In March 2015, Loeb spoke on the ability for the series to crossover with the MCU films and the ABC television series, saying, "It all exists in the same universe. As it is now, in the same way that our films started out as self-contained and then by the time we got to The Avengers, it became more practical for Captain America to do a little crossover into Thor 2 and for Bruce Banner to appear at the end of Iron Man 3. We have to earn that. The audience needs to understand who all of these characters are and what the world is before you then start co-mingling in terms of where it's going."[37]


Luke Cage is scheduled to be released in 2016 on the streaming service Netflix, in all territories where it is available.[4] The 13 hour-long episodes will be released simultaneously, as opposed to a serialized format, to encourage binge-watching, a format which has been successful for other Netflix series.[28][29] In January 2015, Sarandos said Netflix planned to release a Marvel series approximately a year apart from each other after Daredevil‍ '​s April 2015 release.[38]


Disney Consumer Products created a small line of products to cater to a more adult audience, given the show’s edgier tone. Paul Gitter, senior VP of Marvel Licensing for Disney Consumer Products explained that the focus would be more on teens and adults than very young people, with products at outlets like Hot Topic. Additionally, a Marvel Knights merchandise program was created to support the series, which creates new opportunities for individual product lines and collector focused products. Licensing partners wanted to pair up with Marvel, despite this not being a film project, given its previous successes.[39]


  1. ^ Sands, Steve (September 22, 2015). "Director of Photography Manuel Billeter filming Marvel / Netflix's 'Luke Cage:Hero For Hire' on September 22, 2015 in New York City.". Getty Images. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Lieberman, David (November 7, 2013). "Disney To Provide Netflix With Four Series Based On Marvel Characters".  
  3. ^ a b c Strom, Marc (September 15, 2015). "Alfre Woodard Joins 'Marvel's Luke Cage' for Netflix".  
  4. ^ a b c Spangler, Todd (March 31, 2015). "Netflix, Marvel Pick ‘Luke Cage’ Showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker".  
  5. ^ a b Strom, Marc (December 22, 2014). "Mike Colter to Star as Luke Cage in Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones".  
  6. ^ "Netflix Posts Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist & Defenders Info". Cosmic Book News. January 15, 2015. Archived from the original on January 16, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Northmore, Henry (March 6, 2015). "'"Interview: Mike Colter, ‘Luke Cage is a darker, grittier, more tangible hero.  
  8. ^ a b c Krupa, Daniel (March 3, 2015). """Netflix's Luke Cage IS "Geard Towards An Adult Audience.  
  9. ^ a b Siegel, Lucas (October 12, 2015). "First Audio of Marvel's Luke Cage Actor Mike Colter Saying Sweet Christmas". Archived from the original on October 13, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ White, Brett (October 10, 2015). "NYCC: "Jessica Jones" & "Daredevil" Collide at Marvel/Netflix Panel".  
  11. ^ a b Dornbush, Jonathon (September 3, 2015). "Luke Cage casts House of Cards actor Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth".  
  12. ^ Strom, Marc (September 3, 2015). "'"Mahershala Ali Joins the Cast of the Netflix Original Series 'Marvel's Luke Cage.  
  13. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (August 21, 2015). "Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’: Alfre Woodard Cast In Key Role On Netflix Series".  
  14. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (September 2, 2015). "Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’ Casts Simone Missick In Key Role".  
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Netflix Original Series 'Marvel's Luke Cage' Adds to the Cast".  
  16. ^ a b c d e Andreeva, Nellie (September 2, 2015). "Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’: Theo Rossi Cast, Rosario Dawson To Reprise ‘Daredevil’ Role".  
  17. ^ a b Han, Angie (September 10, 2015). Luke Cage' Adds Frank Whaley as Rafael Scarfe"'".  
  18. ^ Perry, Spencer (September 25, 2015). "Over 20 Luke Cage Set Photos, Plus Another Cast Member Confirmed!".  
  19. ^ Kit, Borys; Bond, Paul (May 7, 2013). "A Spago dinner sets the stage for Downey's epic contract talks that could lead to more "Avengers" and "Iron Man 4" -- or a new Tony Stark.". Archived from the original on May 17, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ Kit, Zorianna; Kit, Borys (June 5, 2003). "Col locks up 'Cage' rights: Marvel character screen-bound. (News).(Brief Article)".  
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 14, 2013). "Marvel Preps 60-Episode Package Of Four Series & A Mini For VOD & Cable Networks".  
  22. ^ Schwartz, Terri (January 7, 2015). "Netflix announces 'Daredevil,' 'Bloodline,' 'Kimmy Schmidt' premiere dates".  
  23. ^ a b Goldman, Eric (July 28, 2015). "Netflix On Marvel Series Release Plan And If Punisher Could Get A Spinoff".  
  24. ^ Siegel, Lucas (October 12, 2015). "Mike Colter Reveals Where And When Marvel's Luke Cage Will Take Place". Archived from the original on October 13, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  25. ^ Radish, Christina (July 29, 2015). "JESSICA JONES: Melissa Rosenberg and Jeph Loeb Talk Characters, Tone, Action and More". Collider. Archived from the original on July 30, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  26. ^ Goldberg, Matt (October 14, 2015). "Carrie-Anne Moss and Mike Colter Talk ‘Jessica Jones’ and ‘Luke Cage’ at NYCC".  
  27. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 19, 2014). "Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones’: Krysten Ritter, Alexandra Daddario, Teresa Palmer, Marin Ireland, Jessica De Gouw Testing For Lead".  
  28. ^ a b "Marvel's Netflix Series to Film in New York City".  
  29. ^ a b Blackmon, Joe (April 27, 2014). "Marvel Netflix Series Part Of Marvel Cinematic Universe, Available For Binge Watching According To Joe Quesada". Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ Boone, John (July 15, 2015). "We Asked Marvel's Head of Television About Everything From 'Agent Carter' to 'Iron Fist' — And He Answered".  
  31. ^ Siegel, Lucas (September 1, 2015). "Marvel's Luke Cage Production Title Is Tiara". Archived from the original on September 2, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015. 
  32. ^ Jayson, Jay (September 2, 2015). "Exclusive: Misty Knight To Appear In Neflix's Luke Cage". Archived from the original on September 3, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
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  34. ^ White, Brett (March 31, 2015). "Marvel Names "Southland" Producer Hodari Coker as "Luke Cage" Showrunner".  
  35. ^ Graser, Marc (November 7, 2013). "Why Disney Chose to Put Marvel's New TV Shows on Netflix".  
  36. ^ Romano, Nick. "Exclusive: ‘Daredevil’ Star Vincent D’Onofrio Talks Kingpin, Marvel Fans and ‘Defenders’ Crossover".  
  37. ^ Tanswell, Adam (March 4, 2015). "Marvel's Head of TV talks Agents of SHIELD, Inhumans and Netflix".  
  38. ^ Goldman, Eric (January 7, 2015). "Netflix Clarifies Release Plans For Marvel Series After Daredevil".  
  39. ^ Graser, Marc (March 11, 2015). "Marvel’s Merchandise Plan for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron:’ ‘Make the Big Bigger’".  

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