Quentin Tarantino reveals why his Luke Cage movie fell through: "My comic book geek friends talked me out of it"

(Image credit: Mirimax)

Quentin Tarantino once attempted to make a Marvel movie. Let that sink in. Tarantino – one of the masters of cinema; the brain behind Jackie Brown, Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained – wanted to bring a pulpy comic-book to life. 

This was, of course, before Marvel was the Marvel we know today – you know, that studio that now has the highest-grossing movie of all time (Avengers: Endgame). That doesn't make Tarantino's vision for Luke Cage any less interesting. 

“There was a time before all this Marvel shit was coming out,” Tarantino said while appearing on Amy Schumer's 3 Girls, 1 Keith podcast. “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."

"What actually dissuaded me from doing it was, my comic book geek friends talked me out of it. Because I had an idea that [Laurence] Fishburne would be the perfect guy to play Luke Cage. I’m talking about King of New York-era Larry Fishburne. I told him about it. 

"But all my friends were like, ‘No, no, no, man, it’s gotta be Wesley Snipes.’ And I go, ‘Well look, I like Wesley Snipes, but I mean, Larry Fishburne is practically Marlon Brando. I mean, I think Fish is the man.' 

"And they were like, 'Yeah, but he’d have to get in shape in a big way. Snipes is that way already.’ And I go, ‘Well fuck that, man, that’s not that important, alright.’ I go, ‘Fuck you, you ruined the whole damn thing.’"

There you have it – if Tarantino had just been hanging out with supportive friends, we could have ended up with Laurence Fishburne, King of New York, playing Power Man. Luckily, many years later, we did get a version of Luke Cage, played by Mike Colter, in Marvel's Netflix series named after the superhero. And Fishburne also ended up playing a Marvel character: Bill Foster in Ant-Man and the Wasp. 

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Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.