Since Daredevil was announced as the first Netflix made Marvel show, the MCU has slowly been building its talent pool. It takes quite a while to get any news, but Marvel and Netflix seem to have made a definite decision to always cast the right person for each role, and in nearly all cases they have gone for acting heavyweights in the supporting roles.
We're not talking 'name' actors all the time, but people who once you see them you'd remember as being top drawer character actors. Daredevil saw first time series lead Charlie Cox backed up by Rosario Dawson, Bob Gunton, Scott Glen and notably Vincent D'Onofrio, who has chewed scenery & unnerved people since Full Metal Jacket. The addition of John Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher was another coup. With 4 characters (Luke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist & Jessica Jones) and a team up (The Defenders) the future has been looking rosy under this policy.
When Jessica Jones, (arguably the least known and potentially riskiest of the 4 series announced was surprisingly put second, they again went to the top drawer with David Tennant as the villain. Tennant is someone who not only can play a mean and charismatic villain but has experience working as part of a male/female duo from Doctor Who. When Mike Colter was announced as Luke Cage, many wondered who would be the villain for his show.
We may have our answer today with the news that another top character actress has joined the fray.
Alfre Woodard has been cast in a major role, of a "powerful woman in local politics who will have an impact on Luke Cage's life" according to reports.
Who could that be? Clearly the quote doesn't imply his mother or a family member.
One of Heroes For Hire's most memorable villains was the female gangster "Black Mariah", named after the paddy wagon her minions would use to steal recently deceased bodies to loot.
While the name may not be the most PC, the idea of the character is a very strong one for an MCU villain, especially in the world that Cage, Jones, Daredevil & Iron Fist will occupy.
With Fisk disgraced and in jail, there would be a power vacuum, it would be easy to see Woodards character as someone stepping into that void and playing both sides. Gotham has already used the organ trafficking idea, but people trafficking could be an easy switch.
Alfre Woodard is best known for playing forthright, dignified & strong women. Portraying Mariah would be a different type of role, especially if she's as deadly as Wilson Fisk himself,. While he used anonymity, she can use her political connections and alter-ego. While Fisk was ultimately about property and building in the first series, she could be more about power or rather powered individuals. I could even see her as being linked to a hospital or similar, using bodies/patients for immoral purposes.
Woodard doesn't have Mariah's comic book size, so this would lend itself to another "supervillain" being involved as the other experiment gone wrong or for Mariah's purposes going right.
Woodard could easily portray a Mariah who is creating powered individuals for the government, experiments on Cage only to have him reject them and have to take on the Luke Cage alias.
Why would Mariah work? Because the best antagonist for a near invulnerable man, is a strong, intelligent cunning woman. Add the Jessica Jones relationship in there and you have a very strong arc for the Cage show.
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