A sequel to New Jack City is reportedly in the works, but after watching the Power Book III: Raising Kanan’s season two premiere, this series might be the closest thing to the classic 1991 film.
Speaking with Power Book III: Raising Kanan’s creator and writer Sascha Penn, he confirmed New Jack City heavily influenced the first episode. It’s also a dead giveaway that the film’s director Mario Van Peebles is a big reason behind that because he directed the premiere episode.
I don’t think Power or this series exists without that movie, in a way. Maybe they do but in a different way. So anyway, yeah, I think, in a way, Raq’s ascension is reminiscent of the Cash Money Brothers. It has those vibes in a good way.
“Well, absolutely. I think it’s funny, in an earlier conversation with another journalist, I was talking about New Jack City. First off, that episode was directed by Mario Van Peebles. So once you have Mario on board, it’s hard not to lean into New Jack City,” Penn told Cassius Life. “But yeah, I think, look, that to me is a seminal film. And I don’t think Power or this series exists without that movie, in a way. Maybe they do but in a different way. So anyway, yeah, I think in a way, Raq’s ascension is reminiscent of the Cash Money Brothers. It has those vibes in a good way. And by the way, of course, that whole thing was based on the Supreme Team or what was going on. So that stuff is not fantasy. That’s fact. The Baisley Houses functions somewhat … It wasn’t exactly like the Carter, but they were a central sort of trading post as it related to drugs back in the ’00s.”
The Challenges of Creating A Successful Power Spinoff
New Jack City’s influence is one of the strengths that help separate this spinoff from the other shows in Starz’s Power Universe. Speaking on the challenge of creating a spinoff based on a uber-successful, Penn admitted there are “challenges” and “disadvantages,” plus he knows there are some pretty big shoes Rasing Kanan has to fill.
“It is. There’s pros and cons to it. I shouldn’t even say there are pros and cons. There’s challenges, and there’s advantages to it,” Penn begins. “The advantage is you have this built-in audience that, no matter what, is going to give you a shot. If the show sucks, they’re going to turn off their TVs, but they are going to at least watch the first couple of episodes to see if you’ve captured some of the magic that the original Power had. So that’s a huge, huge advantage that this series has that others don’t.”
Penn continued, “What’s challenging is that they’re big shoes to fill. It was a massively successful series. Season six of Power was the most watched premium cable show behind only Game of Thrones. And so that type of success is almost impossible to duplicate, but it’s also the opportunity, which is we get this great chance to dig deeper into these stories, into these characters and give them new life.”
Music Helps Tell Power Book III: Raising Kanan’s Story
Another factor that makes Raising Kanan stand out is the show’s use of music to help tell the story. Penn revealed how music plays an intricate role in his series and confirmed that they tried to make it a plot point in the original series but decided not to go in that direction.
“That’s true to life, which is that back in that day, a lot of the guys who were hustling transitioned into music because it was a legit business that they could move into, and the barriers to entry weren’t that high. And they had their ear to the streets,” Penn explained. “They felt like they knew this world. So, yeah, for sure, music is a huge … The original Power was going to head off in that direction a little bit, but it became so popular in the story that it didn’t quite get there. We’re trying to get there a little bit. Because if you look at some of the labels of that era, a lot of them, frankly, were funded by illicit gains. And so we’re trying to explore that a little bit.”
Photo: Getty Images/Starz
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