If you haven’t already binged the hell out of Netflix’s latest Marvel series, “Sweet Christmas!” what are you waiting for? After losing his wife and home in the first season of Jessica Jones, the Netflix series finds the broken hero (played by Mike Colter), in Harlem, trying to heal. Of course, evil is always lurking and soon enough Luke Cage finds himself in the thick of it with Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes played by Mahershala Ali. Here are a few lesser known facts about Luke Cage (as a comic hero) and the new Netflix series.
Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, the childhood fan
Coker (pictured above, far right), a former music journalist and writer on SouthLAnd, was one of those kids who’d spend his Wednesdays in a comic book store. According to him, reading Marvel was a “like a doorway to another world”. Marvel’s head of television Jeph Loeb admits Coker was a great candidate to lead this series because he is a young African American writer writing about a young African American hero. “From the first day he came in, he brought his first issue of Luke Cage and he told us the story of what this character meant to him as a kid growing up and the impact of having a black superhero when you’re growing up in a black world”
Nicolas Cage? More like Nicolas Kim Coppola
It is not a secret that Nicolas Cage, known for his various movie roles and internet memes, is a huge comic book geek. He is often seen at comic conventions and has a considerable collection. His copy of Action Comics No.1 (first appearance of Superman) was the first comic to sell for more than $2 million at an auction. What many don’t know, however, is that the 52-year-old’s stage name “Nicolas Cage” was inspired in part by none other than the Power Man himself, Luke Cage. The American actor was born Nicolas Kim Coppola. Doesn’t quite say superstar, does it?
Surviving the cut
Comic heroes tend to have a posse they hang out and kick butt with, and for Luke Cage, that pal was Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist. Armed with a mystical ability to summon the power of his chi, this martial artist started off with a series of his own but eventually faced a decline in sales, much like Luke Cage. In an effort to save both series the superheroes were paired up. Iron Fist will be the next Marvel superhero to get his own Netflix series. Check out the enigmatic teaser here:
The essence of Harlem
Coker worked hard to capture the true essence of Harlem in Luke Cage. To him, it was important to capture the rich and complex history of the neighbourhood. “If you’re on Adam Clayton Boulevard or if you’re on Malcolm X Boulevard or Martin Luther King Boulevard, the actual people that these places were named after have walked down those streets. This is recent history and so to a certain extent, you still feel that pulse when you’re uptown”. Mike Colter was perfect for the role because he had spent several years in the early part of his career living in Harlem. Coker even used many local Harlemites, whether famous or just regular folk, in the filming of this show. “We’re portraying the heart and soul of a neighbourhood and paying homage to Harlem”, he says.