Superheroes that need movies NOW Case File #002: LUKE CAGE & IRON FIST: HEROES FOR HIRE
Why Marvel's favorite pair of urban heroes deserve to hit the big screen
Emerging during the simultaneous trends of 70’s blaxploitation and 70’s chop-socky, this hard-hitting duo remains two of Marvel’s most popular urban heroes.
A freak experiment in prison turns Luke Cage, a wrongly accused death-row inmate, into an indestructible one-man A-Team. Meanwhile, Iron Fist’s origin plays like a slightly more bonkers version of Batman’s, with less emphasis on expensive gadgets and more emphasis on mystical martial arts and magic cities called K’un-L’un in parallel dimensions. When the two finally teamed up in the late ‘70s, it was a classic mismatched pairing: Cage is a street-fighting ex-gang member raised in the ghettos of Harlem, while Iron Fist is a young, blonde, white, rich martial artist raised in another dimension.
As you might’ve guessed by now, this is actually three movies. First up, the Iron Fist movie would be a slick and wild martial arts fantasy adventure. Cast someone like Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) or Cam Gigandet (Never Back Down) as Danny Rand/Iron Fist and place a cool director with a martial arts pedigree like Corey Yuen or Ronny Yu at the helm. And please get Eisner award-winning writer Matt Fraction to script Iron Fist, especially after his recent championship run on Immortal Iron Fist. Follow that up with Luke Cage (or he could go first, it doesn’t make much difference) in a gritty urban thriller with a super-powered badass in the lead. Get John Singleton to direct (since he’s been preparing the movie for years, see below).
Marvel could make the two solo movies back-to-back and release them the same year or a year apart. Then a year or two after that, they could release the team-up movie, most likely sub-titled “Heroes for Hire.” Throw in little coda scenes at the end of each movie to establish their standing in the Marvel movie universe, and you’ve got the makings of a fantastic sub-franchise for some of Marvel’s lesser-known heroes.
Suggested directors: John Singleton (Four Brothers) for Luke Cage; Corey Yuen (The Transporter) or Ronny Yu (Jet Li’s Fearless) for Iron Fist; Justin Lin (Fast & Furious), F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job), or Pierre Morel (Taken, Discrict B13) for the team-up
Could it happen?
John Singleton has been talking about making a Luke Cage movie since 2004, with Ben Ramsey penning the screenplay and Tyrese Gibson in the lead.
An Iron Fist movie was briefly in development years ago, with stuntman-turned-actor Ray Park in talks to star, but the project was repeatedly pushed back and placed on hold due to scheduling conflicts.
More recently, Marvel Entertainment has started plans to develop screenplays for their lesser-known characters like Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Iron Fist.
Since both characters have seen multiple false starts on their respective paths to the big screen, perhaps a change in tactics, such as working towards a team-up movie, could alter the fates of both characters sooner rather than later.
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