Just one day after Marvel confirmed that Alfre Woodard has signed on to play Hell's Kitchen politician Mariah Dillard in the new Netflix series Marvel's Luke Cage, we have our first look at the actress on set, alongside co-star Mahershala Ali, who is playing Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes. Production has just gotten under way, and we don't have any context for the scene. But don't be surprised if this isn't the last time we see these two characters together.
It was originally reported that the actress will play a character named Minetta, but yesterday's announcement revealed Woodard will play Mariah Dillard, a local Harlem politician--and cousin to recently announced Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (Mahershala Ali)--who is looking to bring a new era of change to the streets she grew up on. Her personal life and professional career are thrown into turmoil by both Harlem's newest hero Luke Cage as well as her cousin Cottonmouth's nefarious acts.
In the comics, there is a character named Black Mariah, but her last name was never revealed, so it isn't quite clear if Mariah Dillard is Black Mariah yet, especially since Mariah Dillard is a politician trying to clean up the streets, and Black Mariah was the leader of a notorious street gang. Mike Colter (Marvel's Jessica Jones, The Good Wife) will play the charismatic lead character, with Simone Missick playing Misty Knight, alongside Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple and Theo Rossi as Shades. Mike Colter is also playing Luke Cage in Marvel's Jessica Jones, debuting later this year, so it's possible that Krysten Ritter may come aboard to play Jessica Jones in Marvel's Luke Cage.
Cheo Hodari Coker (Southland, Ray Donovan) will write the series' first two episodes in addition to serving as showrunner and Executive Producer. Marvel's Luke Cage is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix. Netflix hasn't announced a specific premiere date, but it will be followed by Marvel's Iron Fist in 2016. Netflix will also debut The Defenders miniseries in 2017, which brings together Marvel's Daredevil, Marvel's Jessica Jones, Marvel's Luke Cage and Marvel's Iron Fist.
In related news, Marvel confirmed the previously-reported additions of Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple/Night Nurse}, Theo Rossi (Shades) and Simone Missick (Misty Knight), while announcing that Frank Whaley is playing NYPD cop Rafael Scarfe. This character will team up with Misty Knight, as they both start investigating Luke Cage. A previous report revealed that Marvel characters Willy Stryker and Reva Connors will be showcased in the series, but we'll have to wait and see who gets cast for these characters. In the meantime, check out the first set photos from Marvel's Luke Cage.