As Netflix's third entry in Marvel's Defenders-verse, Luke Cage was a stark departure from the comic giant's other projects, serving as the first superhero show with an all-black cast, with a soundtrack worthy of infinite play-throughs. Season 1 will be hitting Blu-ray this week, and we've got an exclusive special features clip that's focused on Mahershala Ali's all-too-human villain Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, featuring different cast and crew members talking about their favorite things about the dangerous foe. Check it out!
While Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk and Tom Hiddleston's Loki will likely retain top honors as the best Marvel villains of their respective mediums, Mahershala Ali could very easily have risen to the top thanks to his killer work in Luke Cage Season 1, only he didn't get to survive long enough to truly go above and beyond. His too-early death is probably the show's biggest downfall, since his absence hung so heavily over the second half of the season, even with Alfre Woodard's magnificence as Mariah holding the fort. And part of what made Cottonmouth so fascinating was definitely the way his humanity was showcased through his greed and hunger for power.
As writer/producer Aïda Croal put it in the above clip, Cottonmouth was the hero of his own story, not envisioning himself as the villain that others saw him as. Which inherently ties into what Mike Colter is talking about, in that the character's unfiltered selfishness and self-absorption is what many viewers gravitated towards, since he's showing off aspects of our personalities that aren't meant to be put in the spotlight like that. I would love to own a nightclub like Harlem's Paradise, where I could just watch endless musical acts performing, but I am most definitely not on par with Cottonmouth in the bad guy department, so I'll just have to live vicariously through him. At least in that first batch of episodes.
If we had to pick our favorite thing about Mahershala Ali's Cottonmouth Stokes, it would almost definitely be his downright infectious smile and laugh. Very rarely has a comic book villain appeared to be so warm and inviting as Cottonmouth is when he's amused by something or someone. So why not celebrate that selfish mirth with a compilation?
Netflix doesn't give all of its original series the Blu-ray treatment, but the streaming giant's Marvel shows are worthy of the transfer, so Luke Cage Season 1 was expected. While the four-disc set is packed with all 13 fist-swinging episodes that we first binged out on last September, there is only one big special feature of note, though it's probably a great one. Called "Offstage at Harlem's Paradise," the extra will sit viewers down at an intimate roundtable discussion between the excellent stars Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Theo Rossie and Alfre Woodard. Hopefully Cottonmouth gets a lot more attention in that conversation, or he'd be rolling over in his fictional grave.
Luke Cage Season 1 Blu-ray will hit retailers on Tuesday, December 12, so be sure to pick it up as soon as you hop out of bed. (Hopefully you won't be waking up with cottonmouth, either.) Meanwhile, check out how Iron Fist will play into Season 2, which is coming next year, and to see what other shows are soon hitting Netflix and beyond, head to our 2017 Netflix premiere schedule and our 2018 midseason premiere schedule.