The Marvel Netflix shows offer us such an endless stream of scoops and stuff, what with their being five series, and what with them all filming back to back. As Jessica Jones wraps and Daredevil season two shoots, Luke Cage starts to rev up, and that means casting has begun. Deadline reports that the great actress Alfre Woodard has joined the cast, playing a woman named Minetta, a politician. But the site reports that Minette is actually their version of Black Mariah, a really weird comic book villain who has fought Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
In the comic Black Mariah runs a gang called the Rat Pack and they steal corpses. She's also enormously fat, and while she has no super powers her enormous fatness gives her extra oomph when she hits (I'm not making this up). She's kinda like the black lady Kingpin in that regard. But this idea of her being a politician - that seems really new to the Netflix series. It also makes sense in the world of the Netflix shows.
How could Minetta/Black Mariah be involved in the story of Luke Cage? Looking back through Cage's comic history I see a couple of possibilities. He spent time in prison after being framed for heroin possession by a desperate friend, and while in prison he underwent experimentation with a variation of the Super Soldier Serum that gave him powers. In the comics Cage broke out of Seagate Prison and took to the streets of New York City, eventually clearing his name of the original beef (but I feel like in the real world breaking out of jail, even if you're innocent, is still a crime). There are a number of points in here where Minetta/Black Mariah could come into play - she could be a secretly criminal politician who is moving horse in Hell's Kitchen, and it was her product that sent Luke away. Or they could remove his origin from prison, and Luke could have gotten his abilities from whatever gang Black Mariah runs in the show. It seems clear that she's going to be a season-long villain of some sort - you don't hire Alfre Woodard to have her be one and done.