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Luke Cage Cast Talking About Diversity

Luke Cage Is a Groundbreaking Piece of Modern TV, and the Whole Cast Knows It

On Sept. 30, Marvel's Luke Cage will drop on Netflix. While it's exciting to see another addition to the ever-growing comic book universe, this particular venture is so much more than just a superhero show. It features a predominantly black cast, with stars like Mike Colter, Alfre Woodard, Mahershala Ali, and Simone Missick at the helm. It's the first time we're seeing a black superhero (and also a female black superhero, for that matter) as the central focus. On Thursday, many members of the Luke Cage cast showed up at Comic-Con in San Diego to discuss the show, and they couldn't help but gush about this special piece of television history. Keep reading to find out why it's so important in terms of inclusion, equal opportunities, and representation.

Cheo Hodari Coker (Creator)

  • "If there's any pressure, it's just that we want to see more people get these opportunities. So, the pressure just comes from trying to make the best show possible. So, people will say, 'Well, hey! Maybe if we do open up these opportunities, maybe if we do tell different stories, then hey, that's cool!' So, it's like, this is part of a renaissance."
  • "I'm the father of three. Ten-year-old twins and a 4-year-old daughter. And I go to the movies with them all the time. I remember when I took the twins to see Captain America: Winter Soldier. And when they saw Falcon get on the scene, the excitement in their eyes. And just the fact that it was a hero that looked like them. I really, for the first time, saw the power of that. It made me really excited to do the show."

Alfre Woodard (Mariah Dillard)

  • "One of the exciting things about this, besides the fact that he's bulletproof and all that . . . is that it's Harlem, baby. And Harlem has been so many things for African-Americans for so long. And I love that fact. Cheo knows Harlem, knows the history, knows the culture. And so this piece — you know, all of these Marvel superheroes — the neighborhood is a character . . . We came to Harlem because it was Harlem. You don't want to come to Harlem, buy in, and then want to get rid of the drum circle."
  • "[Harlem is] everybody together. It was the scribing of the African-American. And you know, at an African-American table, everyone is welcome. But when you come, you gotta say, 'This is home,' not like, 'I'm bringing my home into your house.' It's a way to do that."
  • "[The show] acknowledges what's happening present day, and it complicates it. The relationship between law enforcement, superheroes, and people that bend the law. Which, most successful business people do bend the law . . . That's one thing I love about Cornell Stokes, is that he's a man that has used everything at his disposal to be successful. And that's what black men used to have to use."
  • "The motherf*cker is bulletproof!"

Simone Missick (Misty Knight)

  • "Misty Knight is one of the first African-American female superheroes. We've never seen a show of color for superheroes. So, when we read these things, it's not a limitation, it's more like, 'Aw, yes! I get to do this? Yes, I will do this! You want me to . . . yes, I will do that!'"
  • "I think specifically, speaking to playing Misty Knight, it was great to play a character who we've never seen before. We've never heard anyone speak her words. So there was no pressure in that sense, of going, 'Oh, but Halle Berry did it,' you know? And, 'How can I fit into those shoes?' It's like, these are your own shoes. So, it feels the same way with the show. There's a responsibility to the story, and to tell it accurately. And to be fair and honest to the people that you're representing."
  • "I think, a lot of times, as a woman, you are either a wife, or a girlfriend, or a best friend. And in this opportunity, you get to see . . . Misty as a person who has a very strong moral compass, who is absolutely dedicated to protecting her community. And that, you don't see a lot of on TV. And so that was, I think the proudest moment, was to be a person who believes in the system. Even though, if you look in our current times, it's difficult to believe in the system."

Mike Colter (Luke Cage)

  • "I tend to deflect because luckily, I didn't read a lot of Luke Cage growing up, so I wasn't overwhelmed by the opportunity . . . So, I look at history, and I look at what Luke Cage is, and how he's becoming the first black superhero that's brought to television. I look at it as a guy who's literally, you know, he's unaware of it in the sense that I'm unaware of it."
  • "I would say, ultimately, the older generation, the people that are older than I, they walk up to me and say, 'Man, I've been waiting for so long for this character to be brought to life.' And, 'Great job, I can't wait for the series.'"
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