Quentin Tarantino Wanted ‘Luke Cage’ to Keep ‘70s Setting
Anyone who made it through the entirety of Luke Cage knows that the Marvel Netflix series paid homage to the character’s 1970s roots where possible, but primarily focused on more topical implications of a bulletproof black superhero. At least some think the character was most effective in the original blaxploitation context, as Quentin Tarantino claims of his prior idea for a Luke Cage movie.
Now that Luke Cage has officially premiered, an older quote from Tarantino has begun making the rounds, in which the Hateful Eight director told Yahoo of his own interest in seeing the character brought to life. It isn’t immediately clear if Tarantino has seen any of Marvel’s Netflix series since, or perhaps changed his mind, but the filmmaker’s version of Luke Cage would have firmly stayed in the original decade:
Well, frankly, to tell you the truth, I might be one of the pains in their asses because I love the way the character was presented so much in the ’70s. I’m not really that open to a rethinking on who he was. I just think that first issue, that origin issue … was so good, and it was really Marvel’s attempt to try to do a blacksploitation movie vibe as one of their superhero comics. And I thought they nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. So, just take that Issue 1 and put it in script form and do that. The Luke Cage: Hero for Hire era … that’s the era.
Naturally, Tarantino’s quote wasn’t taking into account Cage’s presence among Marvel’s four-part Netflix Defenders, all of whom are set in the modern day. Tarantino has always tended toward more stylistic eras of film anyway, and few would argue that Luke Cage’s topical exploration of Harlem, law enforcement and daily racial issues make for an effective use of the character today.
The series had its fun with Cage’s ‘70s costume and a few other throwbacks, but would a classic Luke Cage have offered an equally worthwhile exploration of the character?