Today's the day. Luke Cage, Marvel's latest superhero series, is finally arriving on Netflix. There are 13 episodes of Harlem's bulletproof badass to devour as we follow his quest to fight crime. As always with the MCU, there are plenty of obvious and obscure references to the extended universe.
But while some references are designed purely in fictitious nature to bind together the collection of various interconnected narratives, others are linked behind the scenes. Take Alfre Woodard, star of the new series. In Luke Cage, she plays Mariah Dillard, a powerful Harlem politician who clashes with the titular protagonist.
There are hints to a bad streak lurking within Dillard; in particular, her comic book character, also known as Black Mariah, is a common enemy of Cage, and a leader of the New York gang referred to as the Rat Pack.
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But enough of the background. You may've been scratching your head, wondering why Woodard looks familiar in the superhero setting (emphasis on superhero — Woodard is a distinguished actress who has won four Emmys and was once nominated for an Oscar). Well, she has made another appearance in the MCU. This year in fact...
Woodard Also Played Miriam Sharpe In Captain America: Civil War
Yep, if you're wondering where you'd seen her in the MCU before, Woodard plays Sharpe, whose son was killed during the battle of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
She only appears briefly in Civil War, but shares a poignant scene with Tony Stark. After he gives a speech to college students, announcing the Howard and Maria Stark Foundation, Stark is approached by Sharpe, and shows her a picture of her son. The exchange is fleeting, but has a deep impact on Stark, and his attitude toward the Avenger's means of fighting evil.
Woodard Isn't The First To Play Multiple MCU Characters
But Woodard isn't the first actor to be called upon in the MCU to play more than one role. Other well known cinematic chameleons include:
- Laura Haddock: The English actress plays Star-Lord's mother in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), as well as appearing in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) in a minor role.
- Enver Gjokaj: The actor played Agent Daniel Sousa in Agent Carter, and also appeared as an NYPD cop helping to evacuate the city in The Avengers (2012).
- Kenneth Choi: He plays soldier Jim Morita in The First Avenger, and has been confirmed to play Principal Morita in next year's Spider-Man: Homecoming.
- Stan Lee: Okay, this one doesn't really count, as comic-book godfather Lee cameos in most Marvel movies and shows. True to form, he will appear in Luke Cage in a blink-and-you-miss-it on-set poster.
Luke Cage is available to stream on Netflix from today.