Marvel shared a new clip from its upcoming Netflix series, Luke Cage, and it shows just how notorious the series’ main villain, Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, is going to be.
In the short clip, Stokes, who is played by House of Cards’s Mahershala Ali, addresses an at first unseen viewer in front of an iconic portrait of The Notorious B.I.G.
“You like my Biggie photo?” Stokes asks, standing in front of an ominously red-lit photo of the iconic rapper. “Me too. You know what draws your eye when you look at him? The crown. Wanna know why?”
Then the camera cuts away to a bleeding hostage, who Stokes cruelly slaps before providing the answer, smooth menace dripping from his voice: “Because everybody wants to be the king.”
In the comics, Stokes is gangster who runs a ruthless illegal business and hides it behind a nightclub he owns. It appears that he had big plans for Harlem, and that’s bad news for the neighborhood’s residents — and for Luke Cage.
The clip establishes Stokes as a hypnotizing villain, oozing serpentine charm and remorseless authority. It also shows that he’s got great taste in music — as does Luke Cage in general.
The show, which drops on September 30, is already drawing on the music of famous MCs like Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and now Biggie. The Cottonmouth clip suggests that they’re going to draw on the street-level stories, struggles, and ideals those rappers embodied in the actual plot.
The villainous Stoke might do well, though, to remember another bit of Biggie’s sage advice: “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems.”
Problems like … Luke Cage perhaps?