From showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, Season 2 of the Netflix original series Marvel’s Luke Cage sees the man himself (Mike Colter) learning to adjust to having become a celebrity on the streets of Harlem. While kids love the bulletproof superhero, Luke Cage is feeling the heat, with an increased pressure to protect the community from formidable adversaries that are both familiar, like Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) and Shades (Theo Rossi), and new, like the mysterious Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir), that will cause him to evaluate just where the line between being a hero ends and being a villain begins.
During this phone interview with Collider, actress Simone Missick talked about unleashing a bad-ass Misty Knight in Season 2, the many different facets of womanhood that you get to see in Luke Cage, what she most enjoyed about Season 1, getting to explore the darker parts of humanity, making the bionic arm work to her advantage, the show’s fun banter, how Misty feels about Luke’s position at the end of the season, and what fans can expect from her presence in Iron Fist season 2. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.
Collider: Just so you know, I’ve seen the entire second season, and it was so great to see how badass Misty Knight is!
SIMONE MISSICK: Thank you so much!
There’s such an interesting variety of female characters on the show.
MISSICK: Yeah, I think you get to see so many different facets of womanhood on the show. I think (showrunner) Cheo [Hodari Coker] did a great job of finding really great female characters, and then allowing them to play.
When I spoke to Cheo Hodari Coker about this new season, he acknowledged the criticism of Season 1 and said that, even though it hurt, he listened to it. How do you feel about the criticism that the first season got, and were you happy to see that being addressed rather than ignored?
MISSICK: I think that it’s always great to strive to be better, and to take a step up and to take a step back and examine what you do. A lot of times, with any artist, whether it’s the writer, or an actor, or a producer, or whatever, you’re doing the work in a vacuum and in a space where everyone around you is rooting for you. It’s not until you present your art to the world that people have opinions. There are some people who ignore those opinions, and then there are some people who look at the criticism and take it constructively. I think it’s great that Cheo is not so precious that he can’t take a step back and examine. But I don’t read critiques, for the reason that I can’t create my art and worry about what other people think. I can leave that to Cheo. So, I’m gonna be honest and say that, other than knowing that people weren’t happy with the way that the season fared after Episode 7, I couldn’t tell you what the specific criticism was, to know, one way or the other, if I agreed with it or not. That’s what Cheo is there for. I do know that one of the main issues was the killing off of Mahershala Ali’s character. People felt like that happened too early. I think that, this season, with Mustafa Shakir as Bushmaster, you definitely get to see the evolution and the full story of this one villain, and he’s so strong. That’s exciting to see.
Bushmaster is definitely a bit scary!
MISSICK: Yeah, just a bit.
Looking back at the first season, when did you feel that Luke Cage was really at its best?
MISSICK: Frankly, I had a great first season. You see this woman, who is undercover when you first meet her, in all of her womanhood, and who’s sexually empowered and just enjoying her and Luke’s moment in time, become this woman who is determined to protect her community and look out for Harlem, in light of having this new person with abilities in her community. And then, you have her betrayed by her partner and having to question everything that she has looked at as truth in her life, from her relationships to her very job. That then goes to her being attacked by someone and taken hostage and having her gun taken away from her, and feeling like she could have died because she could have, and then there’s the emotional journey of coming back from that. Then, she gets shot and almost dies, literally, and that forms a bond between she and Luke that we get to explore in Season 2. So, for me, my Season 1 was a joy. As an actor, as a viewer and as a woman, you just don’t get to see those type of journeys occur for a woman, on screen. You just don’ts. Season 1 was spot on for Misty Knight. She is introduced to the world in her full bad ass-ery, and then Season 2 only builds on that, with the adding of her prosthetic arm and seeing that evolution.