There is definitely no better time to be a superhero fan, with Marvel slaying the game and DC with its first critical hit in years, superheroes are dominating the big and the small screen. In the #Netflix corner of the #MCU, #Marvel has successfully established their first phase of of television entertainment within the span of three years, even less than it took for both DC and Marvel's films to get to their inevitable team-ups. Fresh off the arguably divisive Iron Fist, and with The #Defenders and Punisher series coming soon, it's never too early to talk about the future of the franchise.
During ComiCONN this past weekend I was able to interview Theo Rossi, Luke Cage's Shades and Son of Anarchy's Juice, for four minutes, digging into the whole Marvel process, his experiences and the future of the show. And yes, he is far nicer than the villain he portrays onscreen.
Marvel's Mystery Box
When you got the part, how did you approach the secrecy of the Marvel universe?
"You know, coming off a show like 'Sons of Anarchy,' which was a lot different because the show airs every week. That was a show that aired every week and then there was a year between seasons. You become trained in secrecy because that was a show that literally every single episode there was something big that happened.
You learn that that's just because it's better for the fans. I, as the fan that I am, you don't want to know everything that's going to happen so you just approach it with a lot of patience. It teaches you patience and it teaches you that you do the work so the fans enjoy it. So it's better for the fans if you just learn. I learned from [Sons of Anarchy] and I've been learning ever since."
Marvel's secrecy is something that fans have been curious about. Knowing what you can and can't say is hard; knowing that you'll have to tip-toe around every direct question that's asked. Luckily, Netflix's scheduling has made this easier for the performers, relieving the burden when the series is released, rather than taking off little by little every week.
Network Television Vs. Streaming
How does the shooting schedule differ from networks like FX to streaming services like Netflix?
"No different. It depends on each episode, whether it takes two weeks or whether an episode takes 10 days it's always the same no matter what it's on. It's just the way they roll it out that's different. So opposed from on a network, they roll it out every week, on Netflix they roll it out all at once. So the only difference is the roll out. The shooting schedule is not different at all."
Netflix has become very unorthodox in regards of how they are shaking up the entertainment industry, but in this case it seems like they have kept the system quite the same. Rather than shooting all a location's scenes over the course of a few days like a film would, the series keeps it simple, tackling each episode one by one. This is most likely better for the performers as well as the shooting schedule of the series' multiple directors.
Rossi's Hopes For Shades's Future In The MCU
Where do you want to see your character of Shades go in Season 2 of Luke Cage and beyond?
"I think that the greatest heroes have the greatest villains. So I think that the more vile and untrusting and heinous things villains do, the better it makes the hero. In this world it's a little different because, you know, we kinda operate in an antihero's setting. My hope for the character is that we learn more and more, and that we see more layers to Shades. The good thing about Shades is that you don't know a lot about him. So I don't want to know a lot about him, but at the same time having four-dimensional characters where you can learn their backstories and then see everything about them, and learn some more is always good for the audience. So I hope we learn about him, but just through his actions. I want him to always be a mystery."
Unlike most of the villains of the Netflix, it seems like Rossi doesn't want a straightforward backstory for Shades. Like Kingpin, many of Netflix's villains have a whole episode dedicated to where they came from, and what specific event made them who they are. In Rossi's view (pun intended), what makes Shades such a great character is his physicality. Hopefully, through his actions we as an audience can come to understand and empathize with the character without unraveling too much of his mystery.
Versus The Heroes Of Hell's Kitchen?
Will Shades be making an appearance in The Defenders?
"No comment. No comment."
Speaking about The Defenders, saying nothing on the subject is saying something about how sensitive the info is when it comes to the Marvel secrecy machine. From my point of view, if I weren't appearing in The Defenders, I would just say no. So, it suggests either Rossi is contractually obligated not to say anything about his appearance in the team-up, or he's just playing with fans' heads. Considering the quick reaction to the question, I would lean heavily on the former.
Speaking with TV Guide, Luke Cage's Mike Colter had this to say:
"The villains that we're dealing with are a combination of several entities, um, and they all have something to do with our separate stories that have played out in each of our own individual series. So this has been going on for a while. It wasn't obvious each individual series, but in this series you'll find out that the things that happened to all of us basically were all because of one entity and that's what's gonna kind of tie things together and then we'll see that, we'll understand that, and before you know it, eventually we'll fight together or not."
If interpreted a certain way this can mean that all of the antagonists in the previous shows are all connected somehow, and at least have a looming presence when the show premieres in August. Is Shades and his connection to Mariah part of this plan in some way? I'd bet on it.
A Super Ensemble For A Super Show
What is it like working in an all star cast with Mahershala Ali, Mike Colter etcetera? It's defintely a really great cast.
"Great, Alfe Woordard, Rosario Dawson, Simmone Missick."
You got a truly solid cinematic ensemble on television.
"It's a tremendous cinematic cast."
Mahershala just won the Oscar.
"Yeah, Mahershala just won the Oscar for 'Moonlight' which is, you know, one of my favorite films, if not my favorite film of last year. It's just like how [Sons of Anarchy] was. It's just true working class actors, and that's my favorite thing, when I can get with people who love to work. You know, people who just really enjoy what they're doing. And for someone like me who read comic books for their whole life this is like a dream come true. You get to live inside a comic book for a couple months a year. I love it."
Damn. What a great cast. Netflix has done a great job diversifying their Marvel series besides the missed/would-have-been-revolutionary opportunity to make Iron Fist Asian. Besides that, Luke Cage has brought social issues to the superhero landscape among the ranks of Jessica Jones and Wonder Woman.
Forward To In Season 2
What do you look forward for fans to seeing in Luke Cage Season 2?
"Another chapter of the story, but an extremely, extremely . . . I just love the show, so I hope they'll see the same exact things that I want to see, which is just that we get deeper into this story and we learn more and more about this character that, you know, maybe wasn't done as much justice as some of the other bigger characters in the Marvel universe just because we are learning about him now. And I think that the more we learn about him the more we come to be interested in him. So I'm interested in just learning more about the whole world and the story. Which I think the fans are too."
Will Shades appear in The Defenders?
The Defenders premieres this August on Netflix. Luke Cage Season 2 is now in production.