As filming for the first of Marvel’s TV series for Netflix, “Daredevil”, is underway, the casting and production for subsequent ones is underway. Following up on a story first reported at the start of December, the Hollywood Reporter got word this afternoon (December 22nd) that the search for the actor who will play Luke Cage in live action TV is over. It is an confirmation of an earlier rumor which places Mike Colter as Marvel’s first “hero for hire”himself. He will make his debut in “A.K.A. Jessica Jones”, which will star Krysten Ritter, before going on to star in his own series, titled “Luke Cage”. Rumors had swirled upon him once it became known that he was taking part in “chemistry reads” in trying to pick our the star for “Jessica Jones”.
Mike Colter has been in a variety of TV and film roles since 2002, although most of them have been of the guest star or cameo variety. He’s has small roles in films such as “Million Dollar Baby”, “Salt”, and “Men in Black 3”, as well as reoccurring roles in TV shows such as “Ringer”, “The Following” and “The Good Wife”. The fact that he stands 6′ 3” and looks very much like the part also doesn’t help either, and with many Marvel Studios projects, the producers have attempted to cast an actor who may not be well known but is on the verge of stardom.
Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr. and first appeared in “Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1” in 1972. Much as Marvel Comics do today, he was perhaps the product of chasing trends. The 1970’s saw the rise of “blaxploitation” cinema, and Luke Cage embodied many of those tropes through and through. A young Harlem gang member, Carl Lucas winds up jailed for a crime he didn’t commit and locked up in a hellish prison with a racist warden. Chosen as the subject for yet another experiment to create a super soldier, he gains steel hard skin and muscles. Escaping prison and setting up shop in Manhattan as a “hero for hire”, Luke Cage ultimately clears his name and goes on to become one of the city’s staunchest defenders. He would soon be paired up with Iron Fist, another 1970’s creation intended to chase a fad (in that case, martial arts films). Luke Cage saw a rise in popularity once writer Brian M. Bendis made him the lead in 2004’s “New Avengers”, and the rest is history. In the decade since, he’s quickly risen to being one of Marvel’s most recognized heroes of color alongside Black Panther, Falcon, Storm, and Blade. All four of Marvel’s upcoming Netflix shows will be linking up urban New York heroes, and Luke Cage is a key part of that legacy.