There are a lot of directions Marvel Studios could go with Luke Cage. He could be a serious street hero. But there is also something kind of ridiculous about Cage in some interpretations. He could work in a buddy comedy. But Cage is a character that would work great on film with the right actor. Here are ten very different ones that would work.
The new B.A. Baracus did not take off in film. He was adequate in A-Team but not the highlight. However Rampage does have the size (actually he is probably bigger than Luke Cage). I am only suggesting him if they want to do a Heroes for Hire movie with Sharlto Copley as Iron First. Copley and Jackson have terrific chemistry (and are pretty much best friends) and would be a great duo.
Blockbuster experience with G.I. Joe (don't know if he was good in it, didn't see it). But he also has the dramatic experience in Requiem for a Dream. Which no matter what else his career has been like, Requiem is a great performance. I would not be a supporter of him as ridiculous, funny Cage but a more serious version he may be a decent candidate.
Would need to bulk up for the role. Gathegi has not had a major role yet, but he has been a consistent actor. Despite his short amount of screen time he was the most memorable student in X-Men: First Class. Played a criminal believably in Gone Baby Gone in another small role and also showed a sensitive side on House. I like Gathegi a lot and want to see more from him. Not sure if this is the right role for him, but I would definitely consider him.
The Rock definitely has the physique and the blockbuster experience. A potential contender for an over the top cage. However he could do serious too. Dwayne Johnson is a movie star, surprised he has not been seriously considered for a superhero role yet (just rumored to projects that never get off the ground).
Was attached back when John Singleton was heading the project (or at least they were both rumored). Has not done a whole lot of work outside of Transformers, where he was one of the series' better actors even though he didn't make a huge impact (I would blame the script not the actor though). Still he is one that people seem to want in the role and seems open to it.
Will Smith's pay check is probably more than Marvel would pay for a recurring lesser known character. But Marvel would be a good opportunity to Smith who returned to movies after several years with a terrible Men in Black and an upcoming M. Night Shyamalan movie. If he does not make some good career choices his value as an actor is doomed to go down. Smith is incredibly likable and would be fun to see alongside the likes of Robert Downey Jr. Doubt he would take the role, but he is a good actor with a wide range. Also attaching one of the most famous people in the world would definitely boost Luke Cage's status.
I love Terry Crews. Every time I have seen him in a movie I wanted more. Easily the highlight of the Expendables movies. Probably too old for an origin story, but if Marvel wanted to go the ridiculous comedy route Crews would be perfect. In fact he is the only one I could see pulling off Cage's seventies yellow satin shirt and tiara.
Michael B. Jordan
A lot of these actors are older, than Cage would have been in his origin but Jordan would be around the right age. Chronicle showed how likable he is and gave him superhero experience. His profile should raise significantly when Fruitvale is released (one of the best films from Sundance). Jordan is an up and coming actor who needs that blockbuster big break. Could be a good younger Cage.
A no-brainer, he has been very open about wanting the role. Even shot a teaser with him as Cage. Mustafa is the Old Spice guy, so we know he works well without a shirt. Seems like the most likely candidate.
A youthful looking actor with a lot of maturity. Gave good performances in The Great Debaters and Arbitrage. Can play both street smart and book smart. An attractive up and comer that Marvel could take a chance on.