Ever since the first trailer for Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was shown Sunday, fans have speculated that “Angel” alumni J. August Richards is playing “Power Man” Luke Cage. There are two reasons why people think he is portraying Luke Cage: One, he is a black dude, and two, he has super powers. His powers include doing some super jumpy thing, and pushing people out of the way. Clearly, a black dude with superpowers must be Luke Cage!
Spoiler alert: He is not freakin Luke Cage! He is still a black dude, he still has superpowers, but somehow he is not the token black character white fans reference when debating that comics are not racist.
So who could he be? Marvel Studios claims to perform color blind casting, and their “parts are open to all diversity”. Uh oh, that means historically white characters could end up being caramel, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and many more delicious candy/skin color analogies. In the past, whenever a black dude was cast as a formerly white character many fans rioted. If Richards is playing a formerly white hero, expect many “un-racist” fanboys and fangirls to now accuse Marvel of being racist towards the oppressed white man!
I gotta admit I am so glad he is not playing Luke Cage. I love Luke Cage. Cage is a very deep character who has matured well over the past few years. He was the leader of the New Avengers, and is one of comic’s only heroes who is a happily married husband and father. His origin story deals with themes of black incarceration, institutional racism and black political exclusion. Luke Cage should be a superstar in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He deserves a spectacular feature film, not to be a supporting character on a spin-off TV show. Plus, I really did not want to see Cage become some just another damn S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (look how lame movie Hawkeye is compared to his comic version).
In an interview with IGN, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” producer Jeffrey Bell was asked about J. August Richards and whether he was playing Luke Cage. Bell stated:
“He’s so good, because we were looking for this character M– I almost said his name. It’s not the one people are talking about. … I’m going to say that’s an interesting Marvel character, but no. But he came in and killed it. Honestly, we were looking for this part, and we just said, look, all our parts are open to all diversity. So the fact that we have a black dude who is awesome and it’s J, was just because he was the best actor. It wasn’t like, ‘You know who…!'”
(IGN stated the “M” sound Bell made may have just been him saying hmmm and not the beginning of a character’s name.)
Who do you think he could be?
Jay Deitcher, LMSW(
@mrdeitcher) embraces the term MUTANT and proudly represents his MUTANT brothers and sisters. He is an educator on comic history and runs successful Free Comic Book Day events yearly. You can see a listing of his incredible articles and his highly energetic videos at JayDeitcher.com.