Monkeys Fighting Robots

Monkeys Fighting Robots chatted with Gabrielle Dennis who plays Tilda Dillard (daughter of Mariah Dillard) in Netflix’s Luke Cage. Dennis confirmed to us- who the villain for season 3 will be, her character’s motivation, whether season 2 makes up for season 1, Tilda’s journey, what the focus of season 2 truly is, and what it’s like to work with the great Alfre Woodard, who plays Mariah Dillard.

Luke Cage
Alfre Woodard and Gabrielle Dennis


At the end of the second season of Luke Cage, Tilda changes her name. The name Tilda Johnson is a pretty big deal in the Marvel Universe, Is Nightshade making an appearance in season 3?

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Dennis: That’s definitely what we are hoping. At the end of the third season, we get a sense of a head nod that the direction that they will be going in. I haven’t. I mean we aren’t in Season 3 yet… I haven’t spoken to Cheo about that next phase.

That to me as an audience member… that’s like … OH Snap … that’s where we are headed in season 3, and I can’t wait to get to season 3 and find out how close to the comic she will be. How … will she be extremely vicious .. will she be an ally .. who will she attach herself to .. is it going to be Luke Cage, Bushmaster, or go out on her own? Will it be Shades? There are so many ways this character can go. That’s what makes it so exciting .. when we get to episode 13 your just like… AHHHH! No, I need more!

That what’s so exciting because it’s a great cliffhanger they leave it on and they don’t mention Nightshade in connection with my name. We have seen her handling Nightshade. She knows where to get the Nightshade. She’s so well versed on how powerful Nightshade is as she’s seen it first hand. So now the wheels are turning, and she’s wondering .. what can I do with this?

Why did Tilda kill her mother? 

Dennis: She had to go for the better good. She was a cancer. She was not going to stop. Too many people were dying it just got to a point where crossed that line and embraced being a stoke or the last stoke standing in all its ugliness. She had to go it was time to be an end to that legacy and that darkness.

Does this season totally make up for some of the issues which plagued Luke Cage’s first season?

Dennis: Yeah, I feel like it totally makes up .. it exceeds expectations, anyone who thought .. I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding the villain situation … umm … I feel like we make up for it in spades this season.

How Would You Describe Tilda’s Journey This Season? 

Dennis: Tilda’s Journey is that she starts off as this fish out of water … she’s trying to make a good name for herself in Harlem by healing people.

Then she quickly finds herself in the middle of this drama going on in Harlem that’s centered around anything Mariah Dillard related. She’s right in the line of fire. Through that journey of discovering who she is and who her mother really is and how dark she is and how much she really wants that crown and what she will do to get it. Tilda is faced with a decision. Tilda finds out that she has more power than she realizes. She’s in a position where she can affect change. Maybe put things back in balance. I think this a woman who discovers this power she didn’t know she had and deciding what to do with it.

Would you say that Luke Cage’s second season centers around whether or not it’s okay to the wrong thing for the right reason? 

Dennis: Yeah, I think many of the characters in this season struggle with that fine line. A lot of the characters struggle with … for the greater good .. what should I do to solve these issues?

What is it’s like being in a majority of your scenes with Alfre Woodard? 

Dennis: It’s a freaking godsend. Words can’t even express .. there’s nothing that can really prepare you. You’re just excited! There’s a combination of excitement and intimidation at first but when you get in their, and the words come to life … everything melds into place. I think she and I were a great pairing.

Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.