Did LUKE CAGE's Mike Colter Just Admit That Killing Off Cottonmouth Was A Mistake?

"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." That's an excellent analogy.

Appearing on ESPN's First Take, Luke Cage 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.  Aside from the fact that Ali is probably the most sought-after African-American male lead in Hollywood right now, the two primary threats that arose in Cottonmouth's wake - Erik LaRay Harvey's Diamondback and Alfre Woodard's  Black Mariah just didn't have the same compelling backstory and charisma, leading a lot of viewers to complain that the show lost focus in the back-half just to service a big, knockdown, drag-out fight in the finale.

"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 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."

While Colter doesn't outright state that killing off Cottonmouth was a mistake, it's heavily implied.  While the idea probablly seemed like a gamechanger during preproduction, Ali's performance was so allurring 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?

With Luke Cage confirmed for a second season that will premiere sometime after The Defenders miniseries, hopefully the showrunners and writers will take heed of all of the feedback.  In his second season, do you think Luke  needs to have an actual physical threat or face a more esoteric adversary as he attempt to clean up Harlem? 
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