Luke Cage film develops: Who'll play the Power Man?

Following a report that Marvel would be developing films based on its back-catalog heroes, a new report at the Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex blog hints that one of the first may be Luke Cage.

According to Hero Complex, an unnamed "notable Hollywood star" is in early talks with Marvel Studios about a Luke Cage movie. We're thinking: Dwayne Johnson? Vin Diesel?

Cage—a creation of writer Archie Goodwin and artist John Romita Sr.—first appeared in June 1972 in his own book, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. Since then, he has played a supporting or major role in a number of important Marvel arcs, including the recent Civil War and Secret Invasion storylines.

Cage was written specifically to tap into the blaxploitation trend of the early '70s and was one of the first African-American superheroes to earn his own comic book. Born and raised in Harlem, he was paroled for a crime he did not commit in exchange for submitting to an experimental procedure that made his skin hard as steel and basically rendered him impervious to injury.

Working under the name "Power Man," he's also shown up in runs of Daredevil, The New Avengers and others and has frequently teamed up with Iron Fist, a martial-arts master who was launched to cash in on the craze for kung fu movies around the same time that Cage debuted.

Cage is not a huge name outside comic-book circles, so it's possible that a movie based on the character would be one of a group of smaller Marvel pictures that will use up-and-coming talent in front of and behind the camera, and cost far less than tentpoles like Iron Man and The Avengers.

Then again, if, say, Will Smith or Johnson is the "notable" star Marvel is in talks with, Luke Cage could become a very big and very expensive priority for the studio. There has also been some discussion online about the lack of major African-American superheroes in the movies, a debate which the literally tough-as-nails Cage could settle quite easily.

(Side note: Luke Cage was the inspiration for comic-book fan Nicolas Coppola to change his name to Nicolas Cage in an effort to establish an acting career separate from his family, which includes his uncle, director Francis Ford Coppola, cousin Sofia Coppola and aunt Talia Shire.)

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