Mike Colter Is Ready to Bring Luke Cage to Life

The Jessica Jones star talks preparing to be a superhero, the MCU universe, and his dream powers. 

Mike Colter has a pretty thick skin — literally. His most recent role, Luke Cage, is a man with superhuman strength and an unbreakable shell. Not many find themselves with the chance to portray a character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Colter puts this one in the hands of luck. “The timing was everything,” he told Maxim. “If this happened five years earlier or later, it’s possible that I wouldn’t have be the guy. The stars aligned.”

While we have a few more months before Colter takes the lead in his own series, Marvel’s Luke Cage, you can first spot the crime fighter opposite Krysten Ritter in Netflix’s newest binge-worthy creation, Marvel’s Jessica Jones. We already have an abundance of reasons to catch the dark, yet lovable superhero series — and we’ve just found one more. 

Maxim talked to the newest resident of Hell’s Kitchen about portraying Luke Cage, life in the MCU, and what to expect from Jessica Jones. 

Where do we find Luke Cage when Jessica Jones starts up?

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Luke is in a bar in Hell’s Kitchen keeping to himself and hoping no one ever finds out his past. 

How much prep did you do for a character like this with so much backstory to uphold?

You wait for wonderful writers to give you material that you can work with. The rest is part life experience, part imagination and finding your characters point of view will solve the rest. There’s no way to really prepare for a backstory like Luke Cage. He got powers from an experiment gone wrong and he went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit so good luck with finding someone who can give you insight there.

Is there a lot of focus on turning Luke into your own live-action version?

At this point I’ve stopped thinking about that. I’m so busy getting ready for the next day’s work that I don’t have time. The work will speak for itself. I’ll trust it and hope for the best.

How do you think the MCU differentiates on the big screen and on the small screen?

The big screen has to juggle a lot of characters while also bringing to the forefront a preeminent danger that they must all combine forces to stop. On the small screen we are just tasked with telling the story of the day in the life of a neighborhood superhero who also needs to pay the rent or keep the lights on. It’s a relatable problem. However, both worlds are extremely entertaining for their target audiences.

The tone for the entire series seems pretty dark — do we ever see a happy ending?

Happy is a relative word in our worlds. There’s only so much happiness to be had for these damaged characters.

What’re you most excited for audiences to finally understand about Luke Cage?

I guess that he is a good person but has made some mistakes. He doesn’t make excuses for his shortcomings but finds ways to change his lot in life. And he doesn’t rely on his brute strength to solve all his problems.

If you were a superhero in real life what would you want your powers to be?

I would want to have the ability to see the future so I could stop bad things before they happened. It would be nice to thwart disaster!