Blade (day)walked so Black Panther could run. pic.twitter.com/zfQYhjADGb
— No Relation, Esq. (@TheCosby) January 30, 2018
Right now Black Panther is clawing the box office in the face and we are talking about all the bomb-ass Afro-futurism that we are getting from it. Without a doubt, it is a great moment in representation for black people in the superhero genre. However, it was not the first time a black superhero killed it at the box office.
Blade existed before the superhero genre became what it is now and way before Disney/Marvel Studios decided it was going basically be the kingmaker at the box office. The first Blade was a rated R movie starring a black lead actor doing martial arts (Snipes did all his own stunts) and despite problematic CGI and mixed reviews initially, the movie had a $45 million budget and made $131,183,530 worldwide.
Blade II did even better, making $155,010,032 worldwide against a $54 million budget. Of the two Blade movies that matter (Blade Trinity is trash) Blade II is the better-made movie, but both are fun and engaging. Unlike Black Panther where there is so much focus on what it means to now have positive black superhero representation, Blade was sort of allowed to just exist as a badass action flick. Blade’s race and discussing what “blackness” meant was never truly a part of the story. Mostly because the movie was rated R and again, we didn’t put as much stake in superhero movies then. Unbreakable would have been seen totally differently if it came out now, rather than 2000.
We briefly got a Blade television show that lived and died within the span of 13 episode,s but since then Blade in the franchise has been kind of dead. The rights reverted back to Marvel around 2011 and while at first there was a rumor that there were plans for a Blade/Underworld team-up that, thankfully, died before that monstrosity could have come together. Kevin Feige has said there are no plans to do anything with Blade yet as of 2015.
However, that was then and this is now. Disney/Marvel now owns the rights to a certain R rated superhero flick in Deadpool and they have said that as long as the sequel film does well (and let’s be honest it will probably do well) they’ll allow some of its superhero movies to remain rated R.
So let’s bring Blade back! Wesley Snipes is good at comedy and after Ryan Reynolds took over like 80% of the dialogue in Blade Trinity, I think Snipes deserves to get some payback. Now he gets to come into the third movie of your franchise and show off!
But really, Blade still holds a very warm place in many people’s hearts as a cult classic and there is finally a place it can occupy in the new comic book movie landscape that will not require it to be turned into a bloodless “PG-13” movie. It’ll be easier to pull off than a Spider-Man/Deadpool crossover.
Regardless, I don’t want the next black lead superhero movie to be Black Panther 2. Part of having diversity in this universe is having options. We had the uplifting hero in T’Challa and now we can have our Punisher-like killing machine in Blade. If we could go through two Hulk movies to then bring him into the MCU proper we can have a homecoming for Blade. Then maybe we can get that solo Storm movie with Rutina Wesley eventually.
A girl can dream, right?
Also, if you would like some backstory about how Wesley Snipes got Blade off the ground and how he failed to get Black Panther on screen, the latest episode of the “Represent” podcast has a great interview with him.
What do you say? Is it time for a Blade/Deadpool crossover?
(image: Fox/New Line Cinema)
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