After Marvel announced they would be doing a Captain America movie, a lot of casting rumors started to get bandied about, and Marvel themselves reportedly said that they wouldn't mind seeing Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio in the role. While those two certainly fit Cap's blonde, blue-eyed pedigree (and have the acting chops that make fanboys happy), a new rumor has just shot out of the mill that combines acting chops with a lesser-known take on Cap to form an explosive piece of news that everyone will soon be talking about. The role of Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty, was supposedly offered to Will Smith.
Miracle at St. Anna actor Derek Luke dropped that particular knowledge during an interview with MTV about the film. It looks like they were asking him the standard "What superhero movie would you like to do?" question, and he was giving two of the three answers available to black actors -- Green Lantern and Black Panther (what, no Luke Cage?) -- when he casually mentioned, "I heard they offered Will Smith Captain America," and nerds everywhere dropped their jaws. Granted, this is just what Derek Luke heard -- it's not like he saw a contract with Smith's signature on it. [Derek: If you did, call me! -- Zach]
Of course, the change has precedent. A few years back, Marvel revealed that there had been test subjects for Captain America's Super-Soldier serum back in the 1940s, and that most of those test subjects were black. In fact, one survived the process and became a prototype for the famous hero, although his existence was not revealed until much later. That revision has carried over into Marvel's Ultimate Universe, where Nick Fury -- who is black (he's white in the regular Marvel U.) -- was recently revealed to be one of those early Super-Soldier test subjects. Samuel L. Jackson was the inspiration for that version of the character, and recently played him in the Iron Man movie. He will likely also play him at the end of Captain America, when the WWII hero is thawed out after being frozen for 60 years to join Fury's Avengers. Whether Jackson'll be thawing out Will Smith or Leonardo DiCaprio remains anybody's guess.
My guess? They'll go with the guy with the best box-office record.
Update: Derek Luke has no idea what he's talking about, apparently. Or it's a cover-up. My money's on the latter -- Derek Luke has never steered me wrong before.