"Luke Cage" Actor Says Series' Diversity Will Inspire Kids

"Luke Cage" villain Mahershala Ali ("House of Cards," "Hunger Games") has opened up about the upcoming Marvel-Netflix series, saying he believes it will be a major influence to kids who haven't been exposed to a leading black superhero.

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In an interview with USA Today, Ali said of the series, "There are going to be so many kids out there who get to see a black man on that screen and aspire to be like him. We didn't have that. They get to be included."

Ali's villainous character on the series, Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, is described as "a Harlem nightclub owner" who will "become an unexpected foe in Luke's life when Stokes' criminal activities threaten Luke's world." The character is based on the heroin-dealing crime boss Cottonmouth, created for 1974's "Power Man" #19.

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Starring Colter as Cage, Alfre Woodard as a powerful politician, Theo Rossi as the criminal Shades, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, and Rosario Dawson reprising her role as Claire Temple from "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones," "Luke Cage" drops September 30 on Netflix instant-streaming.

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