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Mike Colter Talks JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE, and Unapologetic Female Heroes

Mike Colter Talks JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE, and Unapologetic Female Heroes

Living most of your life thinking you’re largely impenetrable (physically speaking) would probably go to most people’s heads and give them a false sense of invincibility. But when you’re mentally penetrated by a mind-controlling Nice Guy dressed all in purple, it reminds you that you’re still a human, even if there’s a super- prefix attached. This is what happened to Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in the first season of Marvel and Netflix’s Jessica Jones. Traversing Hell’s Kitchen with everyone’s new favorite superlady taught Luke Cage a thing or two—and set him on a new path we’ll see unfold in his own spin-off/standalone series, the oh-so-surprisingly titled Marvel’s Luke Cage.

But we wanted to know just how severe the Kilgrave (David Tennant) Effect had on the man with unbreakable skin. So we hopped on the phone with Colter in order to get to the bottom of dealing with everything that went down in season one of Jessica Jones, and even got a few details about what’s to come when Luke Cage and The Defenders hit the stream.

Colter believes Luke’s grappling with the post-Kilgrave situation won’t be so cut-and-dry. “I mean obviously Jessica kind of hit the reset button on me when she shot Luke in the head—but I think that was one of those things where, when he woke up, I don’t think he knew what the hell happened for a long period of time.”

“It’s like sleepwalking,” Colter explained of Kilgrave’s power over Luke. “You remember some of it, but not all of it. Like [people under Kilgrave’s control are] going through it while trying to figure out why they’re doing it. So as much as it’s crazy and shocking for Cage, who’s been through so much more before that (which you’ll see in his new series), I think this was the final straw, like, ‘I gotta get out of here this is way too much.'”

Marvel's Jessica Jones

He went on, adding that “Luke is not the kind of guy who—he’s not a strong-willed person in the sense that he walks into a room and says, ‘This is how it’s going to be.’ In some ways he’s almost the anthesis of Jessica in that way and that’s what makes him kind of cool. She’s so strong-willed and he’s like, ‘I’m here to support you.’ It’s a weird combination but it works visually and on an emotional level, too.”

But it doesn’t sound like Luke will be bringing Jessica along for the ride when we pick back up with him. “I think when you catch up with Luke, you’ll still feel the residue of Kilgrave, and right away you’ll feel that this guy is coming from that world, starting up however many months after that series. It’s going to feel very present and very in the moment.”

But how does someone start over after being shaken to the core? By having himself a bit of a renaissance in Harlem. “Given where he came from and how he evolved, it’s going to be a renaissance story. You’ll see Luke Cage in many different phases and ultimately, you’re going to find out a lot more about him as a person and a man. When you find him again, he’s trying to rebuild his life and get it all back together. [What happened in Jessica Jones] took a lot out of him—a lot happened in a short amount of time and he’s trying to regain his composure and figure out what to do with himself next. Because that was not something he signed up for.”

Of course that doesn’t mean he’s reopening Luke’s uptown and living it up on Easy Street, free of all his superhero shenanigans. Colter told us that Luke, “ultimately finds himself in another situation that needs his help and that he can’t avoid.” And that’s the problem: “he’s always trying to find peace in his life and he’s been through a lot already.”

This doesn’t mean Colter will not have desires for his future with Jessica Jones. “I’d like to see Luke and Jessica’s relationship develop a bit more. I feel like, in time, we’ll come to have a good working relationship — that’s the first step. It’s hard to see how the romantic aspect evolves because we left it in a very tense moment. And though we do have strong feelings for one another, it’s going to be hard to forget about all the things she did and move past that. That said, when you are really attracted or drawn to someone, things tend to work themselves out in the end.”


And by the sounds of it, Colter is a staunch supporter of Jessica Jones the person, and the series, for its deviation from the more typical Marvel script. “I’m not a victim of these crimes or conditions, but when we finished I realized how unique it was and what it must appear like to the average man—and I think that’s great because it drew in an audience that was outside of the average man, of people who could relate to stuff beyond comic books. I was thinking about the important way it would resonate with rape victims and people with PTSD.”

Colter went on to add that he, “loved that it was woman-led. I loved watching a woman be a complete character without apology, and having flaws and exhibit unsavory behavior that she didn’t have to apologize for or care about. I think that’s great. It wasn’t about ‘Oh, I have to be better,’ it was just, ‘This is who I am, take it or leave it.'”

“It’s nice to see what women want to do for a change, huh?”

As for the future of Luke Cage in the Marvel universe, Colter’s wants are simple: “I want to see how The Defenders come along, but I also want to see how all of us work together as individual superheroes who all have our own stories told and then ultimately come together. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. It’s not going to be easy to figure out but the writers are very good and they have all the tools they need to keep it all together.”

Did you watch Jessica Jones? Excited about The Defenders and Luke Cage? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: Netflix

Alicia Lutes is the managing editor of The Nerdist and a huge (like, seriously huge) fan of Jessica Jones. Find her on Twitter (@alicialutes).

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