Veteran producer Michael E. Uslan has been part of the big screen Batman franchise from the very start, and continues to play an active role in adapting most DC Comics movies (Joker, for example).
During a recent Q&A for a virtual Wizard World panel (via MovieWeb), Uslan revealed that he once tried to bring Luke Cage to the big screen, pitching the project as one which could be used as a launching pad for the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, his idea for a "grounded" Black lead didn't really strike a chord with studio bosses in 1989.
"Right after our first Batman movie, I optioned the rights from Marvel to Luke Cage, Hero for Hire," Uslan revealed. "This was when Marvel was mired. All they had was Captain America, and Fantastic Four, neither of which could be released theatrically. Marvel was in a mess."
Pitching the idea of a superhero movie that wouldn't require too many special effects and would be easy to portray on screen, Uslan explained that his idea was to follow the comic books, with Luke Cage fighting crime on the mean streets of New York City. Unfortunately, Motown Productions went bust shortly after the meeting and Universal Pictures was sold, leading to Uslan scrapping the project.
It wasn't until 2016 that Power Man finally got to make his live-action debut, though his Netflix series was short-lived, and it's now unclear what the plan for the character is moving forward in the MCU.