The highly-anticipated Power prequel, Power Book lll: Raising Kanan, is finally here! Premiering on Starz this Sunday, The Knockturnal got a chance to speak exclusively with the cast before the big release day.
The show takes place in 1991 to chronicle the early years of Kanan Stark, the character first played on the flagship series by executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. This new chapter created by Sascha Penn, who was also a writer on Power season 1, stars Mekai Curtis as 15-year-old Kanan, Tony-winner Patina Miller as his queenpin mother, Raquel “Raq” Thomas, and Omar Epps as Detective Malcolm Howard. Penn says each character gave him the chance to creatively explore with his screenwriting. “It’s a family drama. I feel like each of those characters is equally important to me,” Penn says. “As a writer they all give you the opportunity to write [in] a different way. Everyone has their own unique voice, everyone has their own distinct perspective.”
Set in Southside Jamaica, Queens, we get to see a teenage Kanan learn the unwritten rules of the streets with his family. Fans of the Power universe already know how Kanan’s story ends. After doing a 10-year bid, and then plotting revenge on friend-turned-rival James “Ghost” St. Patrick, K met his demise during a shoot-out with law enforcement. Fans thought that would have been the ending to the character many loved to hate, but now we will get to see how it all started in Queens on Raising Kanan.
Narrated by 50 Cent, the viewers get to know how Kanan joins his family’s drug business and the hardships that come with “you reap what you sow,” which also play as the show’s universal theme. Curtis says he did a lot of preparation to play Kanan as it was a lot grittier than his past roles. “It was a lot of isolation; not to sound weird or anything, but just really like tryna focus in,” Curtis says. “I guess that’s also a place that you find in the character. [Kanan] he somewhat feels alone and trying to figure out what’s happening even though he has all these people around him.”
Creator of Power, Courtney A. Kemp says even though the prequel is based on Kanan’s life, it also focuses on the person who raises Kanan, his mother Raq. During our interview, Kemp explains how she relates to Raq in her own life. “I want people to see a woman in full, in the Raquel Thomas character,” says Kemp. “I want them to see someone who is struggling with all the different pieces of single motherhood that I am [experiencing] as well.
Ahead of Sunday’s premiere, Starz has already renewed Power Book lll: Raising Kanan for a second season! You can watch Power Book lll: Raising Kanan on Starz premiering this weekend on July 18, 2021 at 8pm PT/11pm ET.