The first seven episodes of Luke Cage were among the best you could hope to find on television, and much of that can be credited to Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali's incredible portrayal of Cottonmouth. One of the best villains to ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or Marvel Television Universe), his death served as both a genuine shock and turning point for the Netflix series.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a positive shift, as the quality of the series drastically declined from there thanks to the introduction of Diamonback, and the decision to leave Luke comatose for a handful of episodes. Many blame the death of Cottonmouth for this decline, and question why he was killed so soon.
Responding to a fan on Twitter, Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker explained that they only actually had Ali for those seven episodes, and that was why he agreed to star in the Netflix series. As a result, Coker's hands were tied behind his back to some extent, though there's still no faulting Ali's work as Cottonmouth - even if the show could have made better use of him as a big bad.
On the plus side, he is on his way to the MCU after being cast as Blade, an announcement which was made during last year's San Diego Comic-Con. Unfortunately, there's still no word on when and where his debut will take place, and COVID-19 has likely delayed it regardless.
Check out Coker's comments below: