‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’: Why Does Mekai Curtis Look so Different Between Episode 1 and Episode 2?

Power Book III: Raising Kanan, the prequel series in the Power Universe has enraptured fans with it’s ’90s setting and its brand new cast of characters. The series centers Kanan Stark (Mekai Curtis), the character made famous by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson in the original drama series. In Raising Kanan we meet Kanan at age 15, before the world hardens him into he menacing gangaster that he becomes.

Though fans are mesmirzed by Curtis’ transformation into Kanan, some fans are puzzled as to why the actor looks so different in episode two than he does in the pilot.

'Power Book III: Raising Kanan' with Mekai Curtis as Kanan, Nile Bullock as D-Wiz, Antonio Ortiz as Shawn ‘Famous' Figueroa, and Donte Grey as Buck Twenty standing on the street in jackets
‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ with Mekai Curtis as Kanan, Nile Bullock as D-Wiz, Antonio Ortiz as Shawn ‘Famous’ Figueroa, and Donte Grey as Buck Twenty | Starz

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How did Mekai Curtis transform into Kanan Stark for ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’?

50 Cent’s transfromation into Kanan Stark is still one of the most talked about roles in recent TV history. Therefore, Curtis had a lot to live up to, even though he was portraying the teen version of the character. In order to step into the role, Curtis made sure to study everything 50 Cent did in the role.

“I started watching Power again, just to see the mannerisms he has or certain cadences or whatever, certain relationships that might pop back up with what’s happening,” Curtis told Entertainment Weekly. “Just trying to get his dialect and his movement down to bring that essence to the character, while also establishing that this is like 30 or so years in the past. So it’s keeping that essence but also reverse-engineering it to give myself room to grow with the character to eventually get to where 50 had Kanan.”

50 Cent also marvels at Curtis’ transformation. “I went through a period where my jaw was broken because I’ve been shot in my face, so I spent a long period of time speaking without moving my jaw, like having my teeth closed and talking, and it just slurs a little bit — and he got that down!” the rapper/executive producer told Entertainment Weekly.

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Why does Mekai Curtis look so different between episodes one and two in ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’?

Fans may have noticed that Curtis looks drastically different from the pilot episode of Raising Kanan into the rest of the season. But the actor says there is an explanation for that. “We filmed the pilot episode eight months prior,” he told the Albuquerque Journal. “COVID shut us down, and we all thought it was going to be two weeks. It was eight months. I managed to lose some weight and gain some muscle.”

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Mekai Curtis had no idea he was auditioning for the role of Kanan Stark in ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’

Curtis has completely immersed himself into the role of Kanan, using the blueprint that 50 Cent left behind in his iconic portrayl of the adult Kanan on Power. However, when the 20-year-old auditioned for the role in Raising Kanan he had no idea what he was auditioning for.

“I literally had no knowledge that I was playing Kanan or it was Raising Kanan until my chemistry read, which was my last audition,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “Up until this point, we were using code names. I knew it was Power, so that was the thing I was excited about. I didn’t care, I just wanted to be on Power. So when they told me, “You’re going to play Kanan,” I was like, ‘Oh! Okay, all right.’”

It looks like things worked out for Curtis exactly as they needed to.