The next look at Luke Cage (Mike Colter) we’ll get will be this August in Marvel’s The Defenders, the Netflix series that finally unites the Heroes of Hell’s Kitchen. But Marvel Television and Netflix are already looking ahead to Season 2 of the series that centers on Harlem’s hooded hero and have announced two new additional casting decisions.
Mustafa Shakir (The Deuce, The Night Of) and Gabrielle Dennis (Insecure, Rosewood) have joined the cast in the sophomore season of Luke Cage, set to premiere in 2018. Shakir has been cast as John McIver, descried as “a natural leader, brimming with charisma, whose mission is focused on Harlem and vengeance.” Dennis, meanwhile, will play the role of Tilda Johnson, “who is a brilliant, holistic doctor with a complicated history in Harlem where, as much as she tries to stay far from trouble, it seems to always find her.”
Here’s what executive producer Jeph Loeb had to say about the casting:
“Mustafa’s incredible presence and power ignited us from our first meeting, and Gabrielle brings the charm and smarts to a very complicated role. Both will be wonderful additions to our already magnificent cast.”
Executive producer and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker added:
“I can’t wait for audiences to see the compelling paces we put both Mustafa and Gabrielle through. From the moment you see each of them on screen, I feel they will be powerful additions to the world of Marvel and Harlem’s Luke Cage.”
Fans of the Marvel comics may recognize these names, though how close the TV versions of their characters will hew to the comics remains to be seen. John McIver and his younger brother Quincy were street-smart youths born into poverty in the Caribbean who turned to a life of crime. His alter ego was the Bushmaster, a powerful crime boss who often crossed paths with Iron Fist and, of course, Luke Cage. Tilda Johnson was also born into poverty in Harlem, but showed an early gift for science. Rather than use these skills to benefit mankind, she became a criminal mastermind with the alias of Nightshade, though for a time she assisted Misty Knight in battling the Villains for Hire.
Shakir and Dennis will join returning cast members Mike Colter as Luke Cage, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard, and Theo Rossi as Shades.
Here’s the official synopsis for Luke Cage:
After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) becomes a man trying to rebuild his life in modern day Harlem, New York City.