Updated September 15, 2015 5:11 PM: Marvel has confirmed Alfre Woodard's casting in Luke Cage. Contrary to earlier reports, her character's name will be Mariah Dillard, and it is unclear whether she will be a villain like her namesake, Black Mariah.
Mariah Dillard is a local politician whose efforts to improve Harlem put her in conflict with Luke Cage, played by Mike Colter, and her cousin Cottonmouth, played by Mahershala Ali.
“Alfre has an incredible, unique, and intimidating presence on screen that makes her perfect as a leader of the Harlem community,” said Executive Producer/Head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb. “We couldn’t be more excited that an actress as celebrated and talented as Alfre has decided to join us on this adventure.”
Original story: Deadline reports that actress Alfre Woodard (The Last Ship, True Blood) has been cast to play the comic book villain Black Mariah in the upcoming Luke Cage series on Netflix. According to the Hollywood trade, Woodard's character will be named Minetta, described as a "powerful woman in local politics".
In comic books, Black Mariah was the head of a criminal gang known as the Rat Pack that went up against Cage in his 1970 series Luke Cage, Hero For Hire.
And Alfre Woodard is no stranger to comic book adaptations, having played multiple roles in the animated Black Panther series including Dondi Reece. She also voiced Jean Hawkins in Static Shock, but is perhaps best known to Newsarama readers as Lily from Star Trek: First Contact.
Luke Cage is set to star Mike Colter in the title role, who will debut his character in this year's Jessica Jones series. No release date has been given for Luke Cage.