‘Luke Cage’s Mike Colter Explains Why Cottonmouth Got Killed So Early

  • Adventure
  • Superhero
2016-09-30
luke cage
Luke Cage wears a lot of plain long sleeve shirts in 'Jessica Jones.' Netflix

The one thing we didn’t see coming in Luke Cage was Mahershala Ali’s character, Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes, getting killed so early. It wasn’t just a normal murder. Cottonmouth was killed by his own cousin in his own club. So why did the writers decide to do that? Series star Mike Colter appeared on ESPN’s First Take and addressed the big question.

"The decision to do that was done way before we started production. It's a lot of people that's involved in this. 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 eight, 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.’"

Fans getting upset about Ali’s character is understandable because he’s just a phenomenal actor, but Erik Laray Harvey is too. His performance as Diamondback was chilling, and the decision to kill Cottonmouth was a good way to keep the first season action-packed without diving right into family drama. The series needed a strong lead, like Ali, to shake things up for Luke and force him to warm up to the idea of being a hero. It took Luke four episodes to open up and share his origin story. Introducing Diamondback later provided a great cliffhanger for Season 2.

What did you think of the decision to kill Cottonmouth halfway through the season? Let us know in the comments below!

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