• Netflix’s Luke Cage show faced criticism for having Black villains, and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker defended the series.
  • As the Marvel Netflix shows gain more visibility with characters joining the MCU, they are returning into the public discussion.
  • Luke Cage featured a number of villains adapted from the comics, including Cottonmouth, Diamondback and Bushmaster.



Marvel’s Luke Cage Netflix show earned a lot of critical praise when it was released, but that doesn’t mean everyone thought it was perfect, and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker has responded to some criticism. Likely because of the Marvel Netflix characters starting to join the MCU, audiences are revisiting the shows and giving them a reappraisal. Some recent criticisms of the show on X (formerly Twitter) gained so much traction it even attracted the attention of the Luke Cage showrunner.

In the wake of the Neftlix shows seemingly being added to the official MCU timeline, they have started to gain more visibility and this new audience could contribute to increased scrutiny. X user @silentpartner80 called the series’ choice of villains into question, pointing out that Cage spent most of his time in the series fighting Black villains. Coker responded to the tweet, which can be seen below:

Coker wrote in his defense, “I was trying to keep Black people gainfully employed.” He ends his response with, “LOL. Just saying…”


Luke Cage Season 2 Ends In A Surprising But Cool Place

In Luke Cage season 2, Luke gets caught up in a war between Mariah Dillard and Bushmaster – and nothing’s quite the same when the dust settles.

All Luke Cage’s TV Show Villains Explained

The main villains of the Luke Cage series were mostly tied to criminal operations happening in Cage’s home neighborhood of Harlem. One of the main villains in the first season is a crime boss named Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes who owns a nightclub and deals weapons. It is revealed partway through the season that Cottonmouth’s supplier, Diamondback, is actually Luke Cage’s half-brother Willis Stryker. Stryker is also the one who originally framed Cage and got him sent to Seagate, where Cage gained his powers. The season ends with Cage defeating Stryker in a fight, despite the villain’s use of a power suit.

Luke Cage Poster

Luke Cage

Luke Cage is part of the Netflix Marvel tv series slate and follows the titular character in Harlem who fights crime to protect his neighborhood. After an experiment goes wrong, Luke Cage becomes imbued with superhuman strength and skin as hard as diamonds. Falsely convicted and on the run, Luke uncovers an underground syndicate that looks to exploit the residents of Harlem. To protect them, Luke will come out of hiding to stop them, hoping to clear his name in the process.

Release Date
September 30, 2016

Frank Whaley , Theo Rossi , Mahershala Ali , Justin Swain , simone missick , Frankie Faison , Jaiden Kaine , Alfre Woodard , Darius Kaleb , Mike Colter , Kellen C Wingate , erik laray harvey


Cheo Hodari Coker

Luke Cage Season 2 featured Cottonmouth’s cousin, Mariah Stokes-Dillard as one of its main villains. Dillard, a city council woman, killed Cottonmouth at the end of the first season and took over his operations with the help of her associate Shades. These two were also in conflict with another antagonist, John “Bushmaster” McIver, who came to Harlem to get revenge on Dillard’s family for betraying his. Bushmaster gained enough strength to challenge Luke Cage thanks to a special drug. All of these villains appeared in some form in Marvel Comics before Luke Cage.

Though the criticism of Luke Cage holds water, it should be noted that the hero appeared in the Marvel Netflix crossover show, The Defenders, which featured a white lead villain in Alexandra Reid, played by Sigourney Weaver. So while the Luke Cage TV show featured predominately Black villains, the character of Luke Cage in the Marvel universe also fought against white villains. If Mike Colter’s hero returns to the MCU after Luke Cage, the criticism could be addressed in-universe.

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