Luke Cage Star Mike Colter Wanted to Be Superman

Kim Taylor-Foster
TV Comic-Con
TV Comic-Con Marvel DC

When an actor becomes inextricably linked with a superhero role it can be very strange to imagine them as another superhero. Remember when Fantastic Four’s Chris Evans was suddenly not Johnny Storm/the Human Torch anymore and took on the role of Captain America? Weird.

We all accept it now, of course, because Captain America and the Avengers franchise have proved to be more loved and more successful than the movie versions of the Fantastic Four have ever been.

But while characters can be re-cast – think of all the different Batman and Spider-Man actors there have been – actors switching like for like is just bizarre. Could you imagine, say, Christopher Reeve suddenly switching over to play Batman? Nuh-uh. It would have made our brains implode. Acceptable – just – is the former superhero to villain trajectory, if enough time has passed. So, we’re okay with the fact that former Batman Michael Keaton plays Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, for instance.

Anyway, all of this is leading up to the fact that Luke Cage actor Mike Colter told FANDOM at San Diego Comic-Con that he had wanted to be Superman growing up. And now we can’t get the image of Luke Cage in Supe’s blue and red suit out of our minds. But there’s more to this story.

Superhero of Choice

Colter was reluctant to reveal his superhero of choice, initially, since it’s a DC property – and rival to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to which Luke Cage belongs.

“I liked the idea of certain powers that superheroes had and – I’ll be honest – I know this is sacrilege but I mean, you know, there’s a sort of, you know [exhales],” he says before (Man of) Steeling himself (sorry) to utter the following: “I think about Superman.”

While he wouldn’t admit to having auditioned for the role, he did tell us that someone had put the idea in his head to go for it at one time.

“The reason I’m bringing it back is because I remember, it’s funny – before I got this job, years ago, there was this guy who came up to me. He said: ‘You know what? They’re recasting Superman. You’d make a great Superman.’”

Colter didn’t say that the man who approached him was Man of Steel director Zack Snyder. Because it probably wasn’t. But what if it was?

defenders luke cage jessica jones
Luke Cage with Jessica Jones in a still from The Defenders

Regardless, it was something Colter shut down quickly.

“I was like: ‘What are you talking about?’

“And so here’s this weird thing now. Here we are these years later and in a way I guess I’m a sort of a different version [of Superman],” he said. “These [characters] are archetypes – what they can do and what they mean. And what I really like about Luke Cage is that the character is very grounded; he’s of the people. And so for me, it’s a better version of [Superman] because I don’t have to go away [to] some far away place and be mystical. I’m here and it’s the best of both worlds.”

You can see Mike Colter as Luke Cage in Marvel’s The Defenders, which premieres on Netflix on August 18.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.