Published On: Fri, Jan 13th, 2017

Mike Colter hints that killing Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth was a mistake

Marvel Studios and Netflix have confirmed that there will be second season of Luke Cage. Appearing on ESPN’s First Take, actor Mike Colter was asked to explain the show’s decision to kill off  Mahershala Ali’s Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes roughly halfway through the series.

“The decision to do that was done way before we started production. It’s a lot of people that’s involved in this,” Colter began, turning to a sports analogy.

“When you do it on paper, here’s what it is. It’s like running a play in football. You do it in practice. It works. Looks good. In the game, it doesn’t work, and all of the sudden in retrospect, it seems stupid. Because what you have is all the series have a bad guy, and usually by the end of the season people are going ‘well, we’re tired of this bad guy and we think the bad guy should’ve been, we should’ve been able to resolve this in 10 episodes, in 8′, so in theory you’re going, wow, you bring another baddie in, if the baddie is good and people are enthralled by this guy, now you’ve reset the series in a sense, and now people are in another direction, and they don’t know what’s going to happen. You basically knock them on their heels. It’s like running a trick play on an onside kick to start the second half. These things work, but when they don’t work people go ‘aww, that was ridiculous.'”

Harsh words?

The fact remains that Ali was amazing and a high-profile talent. After the death of the villain and Cottonmouth’s wake – Erik LaRay Harvey’s Diamondback and Alfre Woodard’s  Black Mariah were left as the antagonists to Cage and it fell short.

Just to be clear, Colter doesn’t outright state that killing off Cottonmouth was a mistake, but it’s heavily implied.

Comicbookmovie.com noted that “While the idea probably seemed like a game changer during pre-production, Ali’s performance was so alluring that it undermined the show’s intended outcome. It begs the question of would the series be viewed differently if Ali and LaRay Harvey had switched roles?”

Colter will return in The Defenders miniseries before tackling another season of Luke Cage.


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