Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even a thing — heck, before X-Men and Spider-Man kicked off the current age of superhero blockbusters — Quentin Tarantino had his heart set on making a Luke Cage film. Though it never happened, the director revealed on a podcast that he had grand plans for one of his favorite comic book heroes and even had a specific actor in mind for the titular role.
The prolific writer/director appeared on Amy Schumer’s podcast via The Guardian and explained that he wanted to make a Luke Cage movie between his directorial debut Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. He also explained how that choice caused him to abandon the project after his friends constantly badgered him to choose a different lead.
“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.
“What dissuaded me … was my comic-geek friends talked me out of it,” Tarantino went on. “Because I had an idea that Larry Fishburne would’ve been the perfect guy to play Luke Cage. But 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, ‘F*ck that! That’s not that important! F*ck you, you ruined the whole damn thing!’”
In defense of Tarantino’s friends, Wesley Snipes would later land the role of Marvel’s Blade, which arguably set the stage for the onslaught of superhero films to come, so their judgment wasn’t too far off. Lawrence Fishburne did “get in shape in a big way,” however, and thoroughly proved his action star chops as Morpheus in The Matrix, so the Pulp Fiction director was definitely onto something.
Not to mention, he would’ve delivered a Luke Cage movie that featured the same knack for the Blaxpoitation genre that he showcased in both Jackie Brown and Django Unchained. But if you’re hoping Tarantino might still have a Marvel movie in him, don’t hold your breath. He’s still adamant that his next film will be his last, and it’s probably not going to be for the MCU.