Marvel’s Netflix series has been growing to a point where much innovation is required. The brand has so many titles under its name now that the common 13 episode format may not be as appealing to a large audience anymore. What can one do when their methods are at risk of being stale? Innovation is the simple answer and Netflix has already tried to achieve this. Not only are all their titles thematically unique, but they may even range in length. The Defenders released last year to be the shortest Marvel Netflix program at only 8 episodes. Jessica Jones just released its new season that featured the traditional 13 episode run, but this time all directed by women. Considering the context of the show, the all-female director list was widely accepted as necessary for the better. According to BlackFilm, the next season of Luke Cage will be following close behind in these steps.
The site is reporting that nearly half of Luke Cage season 2 will be directed by women. Out of the 13 episode run, 6 episodes will be lead by a female voice. This list is right behind the latest season of Jessica Jones when it comes to the number of female directors hired for any Marvel television program. Yes, 6 female directors may not seem like a lot at a first glance. However, Luke Cage season 2 will now feature more female directors than all the rest of the Marvel Netflix programs. This list also beats out The Gifted, Inhumans, Runaways, Legion, Agent Carter, and Agents of Shield (not as a whole but individual seasons). With strong supporting characters like Misty Knight, Claire Temple, and Mariah Dillard- it is undeniably important to have female voices behind the camera. So who are these 6 directors? It has been confirmed for some time that Lucy Liu directed the first episode. Following her in the rest of the season will be Neema Barnette, Kasi Lemmons, Steph Green, Millicent Shelton, and Salli Richardson-Whitfield.
Besides her outstanding acting resume (Kill Bill, Charlie’s Angels), Lucy Liu already has experience directing television with Elementary and Graceland. Her experience balancing drama and crime make her a great fit for the show.
Neema Barnette has an extensive resume that proves her strengths in directing television. She has directed older programs such as The Cosby Show, A Different World, and Gilmore Girls. Her more recent work includes Being Mary Jane and Queen Sugar. She admirably makes directing look easy.
Kasi Lemmons also sports a long impressive resume. Besides starring in films such as Silence of the Lambs, she has also directed diverse films such as Eve’s Bayou, The Caveman’s Valentine, and Talk to Me. She just recently directed an episode of Shots Fired last year.
Steph Green was nominated for an Oscar in 2009 for her short film New Boy. One has also probably seen her impressive work on television with episodes of The Americans, American Crime, and Bates Motel. Like Liu, crime and mystery could be considered her expertise.
Millicent Shelton’s name should not be underestimated. She has experience directing the comicbook genre on television with Jessica Jones, Runaways, The Flash, and Supergirl. She has also directed television with prominent black casts such as Everybody Hates Chris, The Bernie Mac Show, Empire, and Blackish. Her work on 30 Rock lead her to be the first African-American woman to get a Primetime Emmy Nomination for Directing in a Comedy Series.
Salli Richardson-Whitfield also has experience with the comicbook genre. She most recently directed an episode of Agents of Shield. Before that, she directed episodes from Eureka, Queen Sugar, and Dear White People. However, some may recognize her face more from acting in Eureka, I am Legend, Black Dynamite, and Being Mary Jane. Her work behind and in front of the camera make her a perfect fit for Luke Cage.
All 6 of these women have work to show that they would do nothing but elevate Luke Cage as a series. If one wants these types of programs to survive, then they must accept that more diverse voices are required behind the camera. Without diverse strong voices- one would get more of the same from the show instead of something new. If reading the previous work from these 6 women did not get you excited for Luke Cage season 2, then nothing else probably will. This could be something really unique for Marvel Netflix with this group of filmmakers involved. Make sure not to miss out on the fun when season 2 debuts on June 22.