Imagine if Quentin Tarantino had made a Marvel film!
Well, in the early ’90s, Tarantino had the desire to do just that. Of course, being Tarantino, it makes perfect sense that the Marvel hero that caught his attention was Luke Cage, a character that was created in 1972, when Blaxploitation was in full swing. Tarantino’s Jackie Brown and Django Unchained are, of course, heavy nods to that era of cinema.
Talking on Amy Schumer podcast 3 Girls, 1 Keith, Tarantino talked about how he had wanted to take Luke Cage, also known as Power Man, to the screen following his break-out crime film, Reservoir Dogs.
“There was a time before all this Marvel shit was coming out,” The Guardian quotes Tarantino as saying. “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 favourite [comic books] were Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, later Luke Cage: Power Man, and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu.”
Most will think of Mike Colter as the character, since he played Cage in two seasons (plus a crossover Defenders chapter) of the Netflix-Marvel show, but picture Laurence Fishburne in the role. To be clear, Fishburne from the early ’90s. Tarantino said that the Matrix and John Wick actor was his preference to take on the character, although his friends “dissuaded” him from moving ahead with that casting choice. They had envisioned another actor – who would ironically also play a Marvel hero.
“[…] All my friends were like, ‘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!’”
And to think, there’s probably a parallel world where Snipes did a Luke Cage trilogy – not a Blade trilogy.
Now, there is still one more movie on Tarantino’s horizon before he decides to call it a day with film directing (let’s hope he doesn’t stick to that 10-movies-and-I’m-done plan), which means there is still a chance that he wraps up with an MCU movie! Okay, not really, since Tarantino’s auteur sensibilities means the Disney-Marvel sandpit probably isn’t for him. It’s fun to imagine, though. Perhaps we can still get Fishburne in the role – as an older, more grizzled Cage, à la Old Man Logan?