Luke Cage Season 2 has been called the best second season so far for any of the Netflix Marvelverses. Mike Colter is fantastic in the lead role as Luke Cage learns to accept his fame and his position as the "Hero of Harlem." He also comes into his own outfit-wise, going from last year's bullet-ridden hoodies to bespoke suiting by Season 2's finale. And then there's all the awesome Luke Cage gear on the show. But, can you buy Luke Cage Season 2 merch yourself? Elite Daily sat down with the costume designer to find out.
Stephanie Maslansky has been designing costumes for the Netflix Marvel world since it first got off the ground in 2015. She did the designs for all four first seasons of the different Defenders characters, including Luke Cage. For her, it was about figuring out where the characters go now. She tells Elite Daily,
"Luke is out of jail and he has a girlfriend and, when you have somebody you’re really excited about, you dress differently... There are a few times in the beginning stages when Luke Cage looks really hot like we’ve never seen him before."
Luke isn't the only character who was upgraded this season. Claire Temple does too.
"Claire's dressing differently than we’ve seen her…. [Before] she was sort of this grounding force: 'No-nonsense Claire.' She wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. She’s a nurse, she takes care of people. [N]ow she’s more relaxed, and she and Luke are into each other."
But when it comes to all those Luke Cage tee-shirts and hoodies, she didn't actually design them herself. Most of those logos came straight from the art of the older comics. Maslansky's idea was having them more than just plastered on the wall: "I came up with DW being this big branding guy, turning him into ‘I’m going to wear Luke Cage gear every time I’m on the screen. I’m always trying to sell you man, and make you the brand you deserve to be.’ "
This also starts Luke down the path that takes him to where he is in the finale. DW, in effect, by always wearing the Luke Cage gear, gets him in the mindset of a celebrity. Maslansky tells me: "So DW plays this really interesting part where he’s branding Luke Cage... then there are these children and they want to take selfies with him and he’s kinda into it. He’s never wanted this kind of attention before, but you know, people get addicted to that. It’s just human nature."
Luke's journey in a lot of ways is sparked by this, and by the end, when Mariah falls, he's become a different person, which is reflected in his appearance. Maslansky details his transformation and explains that "by the final episode, Luke Cage completely changes... his character sort of comes to a realization he needs to play a different game in order to protect Harlem. And that game may entail becoming the type of person he thought he never wanted to become in the first place. "
When it came to that final suit in Harlem's Paradise, Maslansky says they had a lot of fun with it: "That suit was custom made, custom designed, and the color was chosen very carefully, we really had a lot of fun with that. We really wanted to make a powerful statement at the end of the show."
Based on what Maslansky tells me, working with Colter is apparently a lot of fun, too. "Colter is a big giant goofball. He’s constantly making fun and he’s constantly being silly. He’s constantly making people laugh... If you’re in a conversation with him, he just doesn’t shut up. He’s really smart, he rapid fires everything he has to say. He’s funny and smart, in addition to being a really good actor."
Maslansky's next designs for the Marvelverse will be seen when Iron Fist Season 2 arrives on Netflix. I can wait to see how his character grows, too.