Only a month is left before the big team-up adventure for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s television corner explodes into Netflix with “Defenders.” This series brings together the leads from the past four Marvel Netflix series to take on a dire yet still street-level threat to New York City. Of those four – “Daredevil,” "Jessica Jones,” "Luke Cage” and Iron Fist” – only Daredevil has had a second season done and made available in the global streaming service.

But the rest are not far behind; season two for “Jessica Jones” was filmed back-to-back with “The Defenders,” and the second for “Luke Cage” started not long after.

Marvel has announced two new additions to the cast who will portray the villains that the bulletproof street hero must face.

From comics to live screen

On Wednesday, June 5, it was revealed that Mustafa Shakir and Gabrielle Dennis are going to be playing prominent parts on “Luke Cage” season 2. To be precise, their characters will be the next batch of the main antagonists to get in the way of Mike Colter’s Cage.

Longtime readers of Marvel Comics would recognize the names of Dennis and Shakir’s roles, that of Tilda Johnson and John McIver respectively. These happen to be the true identities of two of Luke’s rogues’ gallery. Shakir’s McIver is the master criminal Bushmaster, who is also an opponent of Iron Fist (Finn Jones in the MCU).

Dennis’ Johnson, on the other hand, is another crook with an alters ego, called Nightshade.

It has yet to be determined if the parts Dennis and Shakir are portraying will hew to the characterizations of their respective comic book versions that fought Luke Cage. Marvel has released blurbs on each; John McIver is a brilliant natural leader of men who has vengeful designs on Harlem, while Tilda Johnson is a holistic physician who finds herself tied to the troubles plaguing the neighborhood.

Positive impression

Luke Cage,” show-runner Cheo Hodari Coker says in an interview that they have cooked up some “compelling places” to take the acting of both Mustapha Shakir and Gabrielle Dennis for season 2 of the show. “From the moment you see each of them on screen,” notes Coker, “I feel they will be powerful additions to the world of Marvel and Harlem’s Luke Cage.” This sentiment is shared by executive producer Jeph Loeb, also head of Marvel Television.

In his opinion, the two actors are “magnificent additions to the powerhouse cast.”

No release date has been given for “Luke Cage” season 2, but it is known that season 1 regulars Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Simone Missick (Misty Knight), Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple), Alfre Woodard (Mariah Dillard), and Theo Rossi (Shades Alvarez) are all reprising their respective roles. Colter meanwhile can be seen in Marvel’s “Defenders” coming August 18 on Netflix.

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