EXCLUSIVE: Mike Colter Talks 'Luke Cage' Standalone Series and 'Defenders' Team Up: 'Luke Has a Lot of Skeleto
By Meredith B. Kile
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Mike Colter’s Luke Cage was a fan favorite in the first season of Netflix’s gritty Marvel series, Jessica Jones, but the actor is staying humble about his portrayal of the comic book hero.
“Luke Cage comes with his own fan base, I can’t take credit for it,” Colter told ET of his “awesome, diverse, complicated” character. “I feel like I slipped on a pair of really nice shoes and I’m rocking it really nice. Sometimes the suit makes the man, sometimes the man makes the suit. I think [for me] it’s equal at this point.”
Now, the actor is getting a chance to explore his character even further in the Luke Cage standalone series, which hits Netflix on Sept. 30.
“You’re definitely going to get a chance to see the backstory,” Colter teased. “A lot of the stuff you saw in Jessica Jones, the questions you have, the ambiguity, the vagueness [will be answered]… Luke has a lot of skeletons in his closet. He will unleash a lot of the information that people are dying to get to.”
Fans first met Cage in Jessica Jones as an impassive bar owner with impenetrable skin, but Colter says the series will give a deeper look into the origins of the reluctant hero.
“He’s a convict on the run, he’s a guy that basically wants to just be left alone to lick his wounds, to move on and find a way to get through life,” the actor explained. “But ultimately, he comes across people who need his help. That’s what happens. He’s a person with abilities and he’s a person with a conscience and eventually, he realizes that the community and the neighborhood needs him."
"I think people are going to be really surprised by how things develop," he added. "I think it’s surprising, I think it’s emotionally thrilling, I think it’s a drama first and foremost, and secondly it’s a superhero show.”
That reluctance to use his powers for good (or at all) is part of what attracts the character to Jessica Jones’ titular boozy P.I., played by Krysten Ritter. The pair’s undeniable chemistry didn’t hurt, either.
“It’s something you can’t put your finger on,” Colter said. “Either you have it or you don’t… We’re on the same page, in a sense, we know that our chemistry makes our relationship work and it's important, so we go with it.”
“They’re so different, but they both have something kind of broken inside and they identify with each other because of that. And then there’s just some magic that happens,” Ritter agreed. I love their relationship. I loved it in the original comic books, in [comic series] Alias, and Mike’s a joy to work with. We had a lot of fun."
While Colter stayed mum about the possibility that Jones will appear in the Luke Cage series, the two will have a chance to share the screen again in The Defenders, Netflix and Marvel’s culmination series which teams the Hell’s Kitchen heroes up with Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). Daredevil Season 2 showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez will also be heading up The Defenders.
“I am really excited about that, actually,” Colter said. “I want to see how it unfolds. I want to see how our relationships are set up. I mean, me and Jessica left in a situation [where] we’re kind of rocky. I haven’t met Iron Fist, Danny Rand, yet. I haven’t met Daredevil onscreen. It’s going to be nice to see how they unfold [everything]. I’m looking forward to it.”
“We’re very excited about The Defenders,” Marvel Television EVP Jeph Loeb agreed. “It’s a chance for us to see all four of our heroes come together. In some cases, they haven’t met, some of the actors, so that part’s super exciting for us. They all have a very different style about being a hero. When you’ve got Daredevil and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and Iron Fist all together, it’s really going to be an amazing, amazing show.”
And, while a group of unlikely superheroes coming together to save the world might sound familiar, Loeb cautions against the easy comparison to that other Marvel team up.
“The best news is that we can take a look at The Avengers and say, ‘OK, how do we do that and how do we do it different?’” he explained. “We saw how the Avengers came together. That was some of the best of times and some of the worst of times for them... Often times, when heroes get together, it doesn’t quite go as smoothly as you’d like it to go.”