When Mike Colter first appeared as Luke Cage on Marvel's Jessica Jones Netflix series, fans already knew that they had not yet seen the last of the superhero. After all, Netflix has already planned an entire series around that character, a show that finally makes its premiere this fall.
At this weekend's Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con, Colter fielded questions from fans about his time on Jessica Jones, as well as what fans can expect from the Luke Cage series, which Colter promises will make comic book fans extremely happy.
"He's going to do a lot of badass stuff! Prepare for badassery," said the actor. "Yeah, I'm going to say Sweet Christmas a lot."
One thing that sets Luke apart from his fellow Netflix Marvel superheroes is the way he handles fighting the bad guys, and a lot of that has to do with Luke's powers and origin story.
"Daredevil has his own fight style, but Luke Cage is more of a brawler, he's more street savvy, with a military background, so he takes guys down a lot differently," Colter said. "He's really efficient because he's really strong so he doesn't have to do a lot of intricate fight moves. He can just punch you in the face and that's pretty much it."
But that doesn't mean that Luke isn't aware of his powers. This means that he consciously has to think about each punch that he lands.
"With that being said, he also knows that he can kill people if he hits them too hard, so again, he's going to be careful so he makes sure that he's not going to kill anybody," Colter said. "So if you'll notice, he slaps people sometimes, instead of punches them."
Like the other Marvel Netflix series, Luke Cage will have its own sort of tone and mood. Colter said that this is deliberate and that it goes into who the character is and where he comes from.
"It's a completely different tone," he said. "It's as if you saw Luke Cage in the Jessica Jones series and it's like he went uptown and he's got a whole new group of friends and whole new associates, and he's trying to find his way there. And if you guys have ever been to New York and you've ever been in Hell's Kitchen, Hell's Kitchen and Harlem are two completely different areas, even though they're located in the same city.
"It's way different, but in a good way. I think you can watch Jessica Jones, which is Luke Cage from Jessica Jones' point of view. So when you're watching, it's all from her eyes, and basically the way that she interprets Luke Cage and you saw him through her eyes. Well, imagine now that we've taken the point of view and put it in Luke Cage's corner, so you see his perspective, and his world will change a lot, so it's a completely different show."
The Luke Cage series will pick up just a few months after Jessica Jones. Since then, a lot has changed for the character.
"So there is still that feeling that he's just come out of Jessica Jones' world, and he's kind of trying to pick up the pieces and starting to try and figure out what to do next because his bar has been blown up," Colter said. "So he's got a new job, and you'll see that. When he starts the series, he's got a - well, it's not really a job because Luke is a wanted man, so he can't really have a job - he's kind of got a thing where people pay him off the books under the table. So he's doing that kind of work at the start of it. That's kind of where the story begins."
But that doesn't mean that the show won't feature some flashbacks to introduce Luke in a way that will please comic book fans and explain him to those who aren't already familiar with the character. Colter promises that the series will delve into Luke's backstory, including explaining how he got his powers.
"We definitely will pay a lot of attention to detail on giving people that storyline," he said. "So if you didn't read Luke Cage growing up or you don't know the comic book history, you can just watch Luke Cage and we'll give it all to you. You'll see that it will be done, I think, in a very cool way and I think they really paid attention to the fans' desires to see Luke Cage in certain situations, and I think everybody who is a Luke Cage fan will be happy because we really pay attention to detail and put in a lot of good stuff in it for you guys."
Comic book fans know Luke Cage best as one of Marvel's Heroes for Hire, a team of superheroes who create a business that offers investigation and protection services to anyone willing to pay. Colter discussed how that might eventually play into the Luke Cage series.
"I think the concept for Heroes for Hire has always been kind of growing since Daredevil," he said. "Daredevil is a lawyer and if you watch his interaction with what he's trying to do, he's working, but he's not working for money. He's working for Hell's Kitchen, so a lot of times, he's doing pro bono work."
Colter also joked that he had no idea how Daredevil paid the bills that way, but fans who recently watched that show's second season now know that this is a huge issue at the beginning: Nelson and Murdock are barely staying afloat with their business.
"So he's doing that, and Jessica, she's gets a case here and there," Colter continued. "But essentially, she's doing it because she has this desire, a burning need, to help someone, because she, herself, is so damaged and I think she just needs the work of a detective to put her focus and energy someplace. Because she's running from herself, from demons in her closet.
"You know, Luke Cage, he's got the same issues. He's hiding from something, and when he does start to help people, I think he's helping them because he wants to help: he doesn't want anything for it. But he does need to pay bills, so all the stuff that we're doing now are laying the seeds for Heroes for Hire."
Luke Cage premieres on Netflix on Sept. 30.