We tend to get a bit ahead of ourselves here at Comicscape. We haven’t seen much more than production stills from the Captain America film and we’ve only seen one trailer for Thor – neither of which will be hitting theaters for nearly a year – but we’re already thinking toward the future. We already know we’re getting Avengers and the anticipation levels are soaring… but what comes next?
The big screen Marvel Universe has expanded in a similar fashion to the real Marvel Universe, with various references and easter eggs strewn throughout each film, hinting toward a much larger, shared reality. The Avengers is the first step, but we know it won’t stop there. Just like the real Marvel U, we fully expect the film version to continue to expand. Edgar Wright has stated time and again that Ant Man can be expected in a few years, but we’d like to throw our two cents in regarding the next franchise. Our choice should be fairly obvious, especially if you’ve been reading Comicscape for any length of time.
Two words: Luke Cage.
The former Power Man has become a pretty major player in the Marvel Universe lately and is currently leading the Thunderbolts and his own team of Avengers. He’s come a long way from being the guy who flew all the way to Latveria to get the $200 Dr. Doom owed him. And it isn’t just that Cage is a star; there are plenty of Hollywood stars vying to portray him on the silver screen.
Okay, so maybe “stars” is a strong word, but there are plenty of actors who have expressed interest in donning the silver tiara and yellow blouse. Tyrese Gibson has been begging to play him for years, Wesley Snipes has been rumored as a potential lead (although to be fair, Snipes has been rumored to play every black superhero in existence) and now the Isiah Mustafa, the Old Spice guy, has thrown his hat into the ring.
Speaking of rings, Isiah Mustafa has got to be the best pro wrestler we’ve heard in years… but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, a lot of people love Luke Cage, a lot of actors want to play Luke Cage and the way we figure it, there’s got to be a pretty big market for a film featuring Danny Rand’s best buddy. Here’s why…
Growing up in Harlem and spending time running with gangs gives Cage a unique perspective in the superhero world. He’s not billionaire genius Tony Stark and he’s not timid bookworm Peter Parker. He wasn’t chosen to become America’s hero as part of a secret government experiment and he’s not a god perched upon a golden throne in the heavens. Luke Cage grew up poor, was in and out of juvinile homes and had big dreams of being a racketeer until he saw the effect it was having on his family. Luke Cage has seen hard times, he’s done hard time and he’s actually managed to come out better for it. His heroism isn’t borne out of a single incident like his uncle’s death or having a piece of high tech machinery embedded in his chest, but a lifetime of hard knocks. Where others might have taken the easy way out, Luke Cage has chosen the hard life of fighting crime and that makes him a very unique superhero.
Want to spin a whole new franchise out of an already existing franchise? Worried that Luke Cage can’t carry a movie all by himself? Want to add a touch of humor to your next superhero flick? All of these problems can be solved with five simple words: Power Man and Iron Fist. Imagine it as a buddy-superhero movie, like Lethal Weapon or Shanghai Knights, only… you know, good. And with superheroes.
A billionaire who grew up training in a mystical city teamed with an inner-city hero for hire? What’s not to like about this concept? As an added bonus, both men have been Avengers, so it’ll be that much easier to spin this franchise out of that one. And Luke and Danny come with their own cast of characters and ties to other aspects of the Marvel Universe, creating more film opportunities. Even better, the movie could be set in the 1970’s as a send-up of the kung fu and blaxploitation films that both characters were inspired by, ala Black Dynamite. Now that would be a Sweet Christmas!
Seriously, we have a black man in the White House and we don’t have a black superhero on the big screen? And no, Hancock doesn’t count. Blade was more horror than hero and as sweet as he may be, War Machine isn’t going to carry his own movie. Black Panther would be awesome, but at this point, we don’t know if he really has the notoriety of Luke Cage. As odd as it may sound, we’re pretty sure Cage is closer to being a household name than T’Challa, so while it might sound more exciting to see the denizens of Wakanda brought to life on the big screen, Luke Cage would probably be a safer bet.
Luke Cage is probably the highest profile black hero in comics right now. Plus, he’s just a freakin’ awesome character, and that has nothing to do with the color of his skin. He knows everybody in the Marvel U, is respected by his peers as well as the folks who read his comics, and has been at the forefront of every major Marvel event in the past decade or so. It’s high time the man made it in Hollywood.
In addition to penning Comicscape on a weekly basis and contributing reviews and such, Chad Derdowski is also ¼ of the Zod Complex podcast, a group of geeks banded together from the farthest reaches of the galaxy for the purpose of spreading knowledge and opinion on pop culture and comic books! Find them at ZodComplex.com today!