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Over the weekend, Los Angeles was host for Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic Con, a convention formerly know as Stan Lee’s Comikaze. One of the biggest guests for the show was Mike Colter, star of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix. Since Colter’s show has only been out for about a month, his popularity is pretty huge right now. During Colter’s half-hour on stage, he talked about his feelings on the character, homages to the source material and his future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Colter took the stage wearing a T-shirt with the comic version of Luke Cage: Hero for Hire on it. He admitted that while he was a Marvel fan growing up, he did not read many Luke Cage stories as a kid because his family lived in a small town and he basically read whichever comics he could get from his cousins. He thought being not overly familiar with the comics of Cage actually helped because otherwise it might have been too difficult to form his own version.
Colter talked a great deal about his feelings on the version of Cage he played in both Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. He made an interesting point that Cage is different from characters like Jones and Daredevil/Matt Murdock, who got their abilities as children and then spent years growing up with them. Luke Cage, on the other hand, was a full-grown man who had already had experiences when he received his powers. So he felt differently about having powers and took it a little slower and more seriously.
Colter felt it was a great decision to debut in Jessica Jones because fans could get a small taste of Cage before he was forced to carry the whole story in his own show. He said that the Jessica Jones series gave a version of Cage that was caring and there for Jessica. He was also confident in his masculinity in spite of Jessica’s power. Colter said, “You’ve got to be really secure in yourself when your woman is strong enough to lift a car.”
Of course, Jones is only one of Cage’s main team-ups that we will see. Power Man and Iron Fist was a long-running Marvel comic book (which was relaunched early this year). So fans are wondering if Luke Cage and Danny Rand (Iron Fist) will be buddies in the Netflix shows. Colter hinted that we might see the two become friends sooner rather than later. He said that he had been hanging out with Finn Jones, the actor who is playing Rand. He said with a wink, “We’re getting ready to do ‘Heroes for Hires’ eventually. C’mon, we’re going to do it.” He also said that he was looking forward to forming a bromance with Iron Fist.
Colter had some thoughts on the characters’ roots. He said that he enjoyed Blaxploitation movies (he cited many of his favorites, including Uptown Saturday Night, Black Caesar and Shaft) mainly because it was a chance for black actors to get to be the hero. He said that the genre had its place and time in culture, but that we are now in a different time. So the creators of Luke Cage on Netflix wanted to do something a little different. Colter said he realizes the importance of being the first black superhero to have his own TV show. He commented, “I’m also reminded when I go places, when I’m out in public, how important it is to these guys. I feel the love.” At the same time, Colter said, “Luke Cage doesn’t look at himself as a black superhero. He looks a superhero who happens to be black.”
In a surprise, Stan Lee came onto the stage early during Colter’s discussion and briefly talked to Colter, congratulating him for the success of the series. “You crashed the Internet with it!” Lee said, with typical Stan gusto. Colter actually said meeting Lee was one of the main reasons he was at L.A. Comic Con. He had never met Lee and said, “It has been an honor to be a part of this fabric that he started as a comic book aficionado, grand-master. He’s the Godfather of comic books.”
In his relatively short screen time, Cage has had a number of romantic/sexual relationships – Jessica Jones, Misty Knight and Claire Temple. Colter discussed why he thought Cage worked well with women. “He is a ladies’ man not because he is trying to be but just because he is.” On Luke’s hook-up with Misty Knight, Colter said he thought it was a good idea in order to surprise fans (they do not have a romantic background in the comics). When asked about the possibility of a season two, Colter mentioned that he hopes it happens because they have only scratched the surface of whom Cage is, and he thinks there is a lot of directions and story possibilities for him in the future.
Colter also mentioned that the homage to Cage’s original 70’s outfit — with the yellow shirt, bracelets and tiara — was done smartly, by gradually adding elements. “I knew the fans wanted to see it. We just needed to find a clever way to do it… I also think the fans will agree that we couldn’t keep that costume on the entire series! Can you imagine running around town with that chain belt? People would hear me coming from a mile away!” About The Defenders, Colter said that it would be cool to see how the characters interact. “What’s so cool is that none of these characters really know each other [well]… I’m looking forward to the personal connections.”