Luke Cage Casts Two New Villains For Harlem

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The Luke Cage Season 2 hype continues to grow with Mustafa Shakir and Gabrielle Dennis joining the cast.  According to Marvel, Mustafa Shakir and Gabrielle Dennis will be portraying characters familiar to Marvel comics readers.  The pair join season regulars 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’.  The season is expected to focus on the “effects” of Luke Cage having to deal with a public identity according to Marvel, and will most likely deal with the after math of Luke’s participation in The Defenders scheduled to drop August 8th.

Shakir (The Deuce, The Night Of,) will be playing John McIver. Described as “A natural leader brimming with charisma who’s mission is focused on Harlem and Vengeance.” Dennis was described as playing Tilda Johnson, “a brilliant holistic doctor which a complicated history in Harlem where, as much as she tries to stay far from trouble it always manages to find her.”  Executive Producer had nothing but praise for the new actors, ““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.” and both will be playing comic book characters with a complicated and interesting history.

Introduced in 1977, McIver was a street criminal turned crime boss who became “unliving metal” during a fight with Luke Cage.  McIver will continue the trend of brother versus brother that Luke Cage has brought to Netflix television.  The Bushmaster (McIver’s alter ego) is eventually replaced by his brother Quincy which could tie into the theme of Luke exploring the effects of his public persona and what that will mean for friends and family in Harlem.  Will McIver actually gain a suit of unliving metal? the possibility is very interesting.

It’s not the only thing interesting about this piece of season 2 casting. Gabrielle Dennis has confirmed that she’ll be playing Tilda Johnson, AKA “Nightshade”. first appearing in Captain America #164, the scientist turned criminal mastermind uses specialized armor and pheromones that allow her to control certain kinds of animals.  Could Doctor Johnson be responsible for McIver becoming “Bushman”? Will she work with Luke’s brother Diamondback if he returns?

Interestingly enough she’s not the only Nightshade joining the MCU. According to Marvel the actress/singer Nabiya Be will also be playing Nightshade in the black panther film.  This leaves us with some questions. Will Gabrielle Dennis’s character use the “name” Nightshade? Is there something deeper at work here?  Only time will tell.

Are you excited? Tell us what you think of this new casting in the comments below. Be sure to catch up New York’s favorite crime fighters in The Defenders and be sure to watch Luke Cage Season 2 dropping in 2018!

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