The Marvel Cinematic Universe is by one of the most successful movie franchises in history, though it does have its detractors, with some finding the movies the make up the series a little too similar to each other. Well, things could have been vastly different, as once upon a time, critically acclaimed auteur Quentin Tarantino had toyed with bringing Marvel superhero Luke Cage to the big screen himself.
"There was a time before all this Marvel shit was coming out. It was after Reservoir Dogs, it was before Pulp Fiction, and I had thought about doing Luke Cage. Growing up I was a big comic book collector, and my two favorite [comic books] were Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, later Luke Cage: Power Man, and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu. I also liked Werewolf by Night, that was a great one, and Tomb of Dracula was great, but my absolute hero was Luke Cage."
Admittedly Tarantino's near-enticement to the comic book genre came very early in his career, just after making his seminal crime movie Reservoir Dogs, in fact. Tarantino stressed that he was the only white guy he know who read and collected Luke Cage comics over all the other superhero choices. The director did make sure to note that his Luke Cage adaptation would not have replaced Pulp Fiction as his second movie, rather the comic book caper would have been his third project instead of Jackie Brown. Ultimately, what stopped Quentin Tarantino from bringing the hero for hire to life was a struggle with casting.
"What actually dissuaded me from doing it... was my comic geek friends talked me out of it. Because I had an idea that Larry Fishburne would've been the perfect guy to play Luke Cage. And I'm talking King of New York era Larry Fishburne. 'My name is Jimmy Jump.' ... But All my friends were like, 'No, no, listen, it's got to be Wesley Snipes.' And I go, 'Look, I like Wesley Snipes, but Larry Fishburne is practically Marlon Brando. I think Fish is the man.' And they're like, 'Yeah, but he'd have to get in shape in a big way. Snipes is that way already!' And I go, 'Fuck that! That's not that important! Fuck you, you ruined the whole damn thing!'"
So, we can blame Tarantino's opinionated friends for depriving us all of a Tarantino directed Luke Cage movie lead by Laurence Fishburne. Thanks a lot, guys. Of course, Wesley Snipes went on to find success in the comic book world playing the MArvel vampire-hunter Blade in all three Blade movies. As for Luke Cage, he was eventually played by actor Mike Colter in the 2 well-received Netflix seasons.
Tarantino was also asked about Martin Scorsese's recent comments regarding comic book movies, in which the Goodfellas director likened Marvel's output to being more like theme park rides than legitimate cinema.
"Generationally does anyone think he is going to be a big fan of Captain Marvel or Doctor Strange and Ant-Man vs. the Wasp? You could've guessed THAT would've been his reaction."
It is interesting to wonder what the comic book genre would look like now had Tarantino ended up adapting Luke Cage. No doubt there would be a lot more violence and swearing. This comes to us courtesy of Amy Schumer's podcast 3 Girls, 1 Keith which is available on Spotify.