Marvel has done a phenomenal job with regards to casting the heroes in its Netflix universe. From Charlie Cox, to Krysten Ritter, and now Mike Colter; they're all uniformly excellent. But despite how well these actors fit into their characters, it turns out that Colter initially felt hesitant about taking on his role as the titular hero in Luke Cage. The actor explained:
I was so against it, I revisit the feeling I had, that first initial look at the character, trying to figure out the research and the character, who this is guy this, and I'm like, 'I don't want any part of this.' I couldn't think of anything that I didn't want to do more. I didn't want to do anything physical, a role where it relied on power and all the stuff like that. And also, I didn't know how the character would be written, I didn't know what this character was going to be like. It just seemed limiting. I just thought, 'What could I do with this?' I hadn't seen any material yet. The idea of the character made me cringe. Everybody has an idea of how the character is going to be, and I'm like, this is how I'm going to do it and this is it, take it or leave it. I'm not saying that's what I said, but I felt like if they were to try and push me in a certain way, that I would've walked away from it. There was only one way that I thought this character should be portrayed that I wasn't going to compromise on.
Mike Colter opened up recently during an appearance on the Off Camera podcast (via MCU Exchange) and admitted his initial trepidations about taking on the role of Luke Cage. He had some major concerns about being pushed into taking the character in a direction that he didn't want to go, and he also apparently felt very against taking on a role that would primarily be physical. It was only after he was allowed autonomy to make the character his own that he felt genuinely comfortable taking on the part of Harlem's favorite hero. The rest, as they say, is history.
Looking back, these concerns almost seem completely unfounded. Mike Colter did a phenomenal job with the role of Luke Cage, and the character ended up becoming far deeper than a simple, powerful hero. As a series, Luke Cage broached very sensitive topics like race and systemic oppression, and Colter's personal performance grounded everything in a very human spirit. At this point it's almost impossible to imagine another actor taking on the role of the legendary hero.
It's a good thing that Mike Colter finally agreed to the role of Luke Cage, because the character is going to be around for quite some time. CinemaBlend will bring you more information concerning the future of the Defenders universe as more details become available to us. The Defenders will debut on Netflix next year.