If the killer ComicCon trailer is any indication, Mike Colter is about to make waves as the titular lead in Marvel and Netflix’s upcoming Luke Cage series. He already made quite the impression when he debuted in last year’s smash hit Jessica Jones and this fall he’ll be playing the character in the lead role of his own TV show (which will eventually lead up to the team-up series featuring all of Marvel and Netflix’s heroes, The Defenders.
It’s a first for Marvel Entertainment who, since the premiere of Iron Man in 2008, has never had a film or TV show lead with black character. Black Panther will hit theaters soon enough, but that all changes presently with the debut of Luke Cage, and nobody understands the significance of that better than Colter himself. He spoke about handling that responsibility and what it means to him according to Variety:
“It’s important in the landscape of television and also globally as far as symbols, When you look at black culture, it’s important that you have symbols.”
Colter went on to say that he was glad people enjoyed Cage as a character and that he thinks, “the black community has a lot to be proud of.” Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, who has already talked about the standard to which he wants this show to be held, also discussed the character’s roots — largely coming from ‘blaxploitation’ cinema of the 70’s. He specifically cites parallels between that genre, the Western, and other archetypical hero stories, adding that “It’s no different from anything else, except we get to have swagger.”
The fact that Marvel is finally making a property that focuses solely on a black lead is awesome enough. Knowing that the people creating it seem to be doing their best to produce the most unapologetic, black version of that story is even cooler. Luke Cage premieres on Netflix on September 30th.