Mahershala Ali Is Blade & We Couldn’t Be More Excited
One of the biggest surprises of Marvel’s Comic-Con announcements was that Oscar and Emmy winner Mahershala Ali will lead a Blade reboot, taking the role of the daywalker himself. I have been waiting for this for a long time.
This series will be a reboot of the 1998 Wesley Snipes film Blade, which truly began Marvel’s film success and set the stage for further comic book film adaptations like X-Men, which would come out a few years later. Despite being a dark, R-rated movie, it grossed $131.2 million against a $45 million budget and led to two sequels: Blade II and Blade Trinity: the one we don’t talk about.
I was too much of a scaredy cat to watch Blade when it first came out. Back then, I believed vampires were real—and not in a hot, sexy way—so it scared me. When I was older, I was able to appreciate the physicality of Wesley Snipes in the role. Much like Keanu Reeves in John Wick, Snipes is an amazing athlete and excels as an intimidating force in the fight scenes. You feel his power and strength in every kick, and because he’s doing the action, there aren’t a bunch of cuts in the way.
As a Black superhero/anti-hero, Blade occupies an important place in Blerd culture—an example that, in the ’90s, the idea of a Black comic book movie doing well had already been proven. Even with BIII being trash, the series proved to be a box office win, and despite getting trashed by critics, Trinity was still better than, like, multiple X-Men movies. Yet, between 2004 and 2018, the only Black-led superhero movie that came out of note was Halle Berry’s Catwoman, which came out the same year as Trinity a few months before (2004 was not a good year for the culture).
Blade should have led to more of these movies coming out, but it didn’t, and it still took the Marvel Cinematic Universe seventeen films before we got Black Panther as number 18.
Marvel got the rights for Blade back in 2011, and we’ve been waiting to see what they’d do with it, and finally, Marvel head Kevin Feige has finally figured it out:
“We have for years wanted to find a new way into Blade,” Feige said according to IndieWire. “We love that character and we love that world. Now with Doctor Strange and the supernatural elements coming into the MCU, it felt like we could definitely start exploring that. Mahershala wanted to come and meet with us. And when he wants to meet, you take the meeting. He had just come off of his second Academy Award. And we were talking very polite and he just got right to it and said ‘Blade.’ And we were like, ‘Yes.’”
Feige told Collider that the standalone Blade movie won’t happen until Phase Five of the MCU, but the character could show up in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, since that sequel will purportedly be the franchise’s first horror movie. Vampires are horror 101.
What also excites me about revisiting Blade is the chance to have more Black and non-white characters around him. One of the disappointing aspects of the story is that, beyond the first movie, Blade tends to be the only Black character in the films. So, I’m hoping that we will get opportunities to see a lot of badass Black vampires.
(image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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