Right now, fans of Marvel’s Netflix series are gearing up for the premiere of The Defenders later this summer, but after the four street-level heroes team up, they’ll be headed back to their solo series. Luke Cage is no exception, and on Wednesday, Marvel announced that it had cast two new actors for Season 2, and we’re pretty sure we know which villains they’re playing.

Marvel broke the news in a press release posted to its website, letting fans know that Mustafa Shakir (The Deuce, The Night Of) and Gabrielle Dennis (Insecure, Rosewood) would be joining Luke Cage for its second season. As is usually the case, the bios of the characters they’ll be playing were brief — but revealing if you know what to look for.

Shakir will play John McIver, described by Marvel as “a natural leader, brimming with charisma, whose mission is focused on Harlem and vengeance.” He first appeared in the comics in 1977 in an issue of Iron Fist. At the time, John McIver went by the supervillain name Bushmaster, which might be a little too NSFW term these days for Marvel to want to use it in the actual show. He was a crime boss who rose to become a dangerous foe to all of the Defenders and their allies — Luke Cage included. Eventually, he turned into metal, an affliction that gave him powers before ultimately killing him.

Mustafa Shakir and John McIver as seen in the comics. 

Dennis, meanwhile, will play Tilda Johnson, described by Marvel as who “a brilliant, holistic doctor with a complicated history in Harlem where, as much as she tries to stay far from trouble, it seems to always find her.”

In the comics, Tilda Johnson originated as the supervillain Nightshade, who first appeared in a 1973 issue of Captain America armed with technology that let her turn people into werewolves and control them. This, presumably, will not be part of her Netflix backstory. She later entered into organized crime in Harlem, where she came to blows with Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Recent storylines have seen her move away from the supervillain label, slightly, and enter the more gray territory of anti-hero. Marvel’s description seems to imply that might be the case in Season 2.

Gabrielle Dennis and Nightshade as seen in the comics.

“I can’t wait for audiences to see the compelling paces we put both Mustafa and Gabrielle through,” Luke Cage showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker said in a statement. “From the moment you see each of them on screen, I feel they will be powerful additions to the world of Marvel and Harlem’s Luke Cage.”

Alfre Woodard is confirmed to return as Mariah Dillard, the triumphant big bad from Season 1, so expect these two new villains to cross paths with her in one way or another.


Luke Cage Season 2 is expected to hit Netflix sometime in 2018.

Photos via Marvel, Netflix/Marvel