|Marlon Wayans as Robin|
Learn about ten surprising black actors that almost became awesome superheroes. The Guardians of the Galaxy movie has made over half a billion dollars. Superhero movies are big business, but strangely, there are very few that star a minority character in the lead role. In fact, the last one was Blade: Trinity starring Wesley Snipes ten years ago. Over the years many have tried and failed to make a major motion picture starring a black superhero. So, while we're waiting for a Black Panther movie, here are the 10 that came the closest to making it a reality.
#1. Marlon Wayans as Robin
But they felt there were too many characters, so the Black Robin was cut from that film. When they planned out the third film Marlon Wayans signed up to play Robin. But, when the director changed from Tim Burton to Joel Schumacher, they recast his part. The funny thing is, even though he never appeared in the film he still gets residual checks. His contract stipulated royalties whether he played or not. Now that's a great lawyer.
#2 - Jamie Foxx as Luke Cage
Jamie Foxx told IGN, "I was actually approached to play Luke Cage back in the day. But it just didn’t work out."
#3 - Tyrese Gibson as Luke Cage
Another name up for the lead role in Singleton’s Luke Cage film was Tyrese Gibson. Gibson told IGN, "Right now they're doing a rewrite on the film. John Singleton's got me at the top of his list. I'm not full-on committed to the project but it's something I'm extremely interested in. Met up with Neal Moritz a few times about it. Met up with Avi Arad a few times about it, and you know, we'll see what happens.
"It's not my movie, for the record. But it's something they're really interested in me being a part of. I'm interested in being a part of it and I think we'll be able to determine—if John Singleton, if me, or whoever else is gonna be on the project—we're waiting on the product. We can't do a movie without a good bible. What are we gonna read?"
So, apparently, they never got a good bible since the project died.
#4 - Will Smith as Superman
#5 - Terrence Howard as War Machine
Terrence Howard played James "Rhodey" Rhodes in Iron Man and it was assumed he'd get to play War Machine on the sequels. War Machine is the name of the superhero "Rhodey" becomes after getting his own suit of armor from Tony Stark. Unfortunately negotiations broke down between him and the studio and they hired Don Cheadle to take his place in Iron Man II and Iron Man III. He later said, “It turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man … when it was time to re-up for the second one, [Robert Downey Jr.] took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out." They had signed a three picture deal and negotiated his salary for the sequels at $8 million, but reportedly they told him to accept $1 million or they'd replace him. He said no and Cheadle took over. Robert Downey Jr. meanwhile went on to negotiate bigger and bigger contracts topping out at $50 million for the Avengers.
"Next time baby"
#6 - Wesley Snipes as Black Panther
In 1992, Wesley Snipes was planning to make, and star, in a movie based on the comic book character Black Panther. Black Panther is the name of a fictional African leader who's given superpowers and fights for his country. He's also one of the first Black superheroes. Snipes was passionate about the project saying, "We have a wide-open field for comic book characters on the big screen and we've yet to have a major black comic book hero on the screen. Especially the Black Panther, which is such a rich, interesting life. It's a dream come true to originate something that nobody's ever seen before." The project was in "development hell" although the studio was actively working on it till 2002.
By then, Snipes was working on his third movie in the successful vampire series Blade. The studio felt he was so recognizable in the Blade character that audiences wouldn't accept him as another Marvel superhero. Blade 3 director David S. Goyer said, "He's already so entrenched as Blade that another Marvel hero might be overkill," Of course, Snipes 3-year prison sentence for tax evasion probably didn't help.
#7 - Michael Jackson as Spider-Man...or Iron Man
Back in the 90s, Michael Jackson had big plans to buy Universal Pictures and take ownership of the Marvel franchise. He wanted to turn the franchise into a money-making machine with movies, theme parks, restaurants and toys. Jackson also had a hidden agenda: he wanted to play a Marvel superhero. Who exactly? There are conflicting stories. A unnamed source “close to the Jackson family" said, “He saw himself as leading men in these films, and especially felt Iron Man was a possibility as he felt he was similar to Tony Stark - an enigma, mastermind and at the same time childlike. We never knew how fans would react to it as Stark was a always a white character, but Michael always loved to break boundaries."
But Stan Lee said that Jackson wanted to buy Marvel because “he felt that would be the only way that he could play Spider-Man." But Stan Lee felt the whole enterprise might not have been as successful. Lee laughed, “Michael was not a great businessman." The child sex abuse scandals killed the deal and prevented Jackson from ever living his dream of becoming a movie superhero.
#8 - Laurence Fishburne as Luke Cage
Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of Blackploitation films and, considering the character of Luke Cage was born out of that era, it's no surprise he wanted to make a movie out of the comic character in 1992. He told MTV, "After ' Reservoir Dogs,' I had considered doing a 'Luke Cage, Hero for Hire' movie. [Producer] Ed Pressman owned the rights at that time, and we talked about it. I talked to [Laurence Fishburne] about being Luke Cage, and he really liked that idea. Then I ended up writing 'Pulp Fiction.'"
What do you think of the possible superheroes? Which one would you have liked to see? Which one are you glad we didn't see? Which Black actor would you cast as a superhero?
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