Mahershala Ali will be starring as Blade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 incarnation and Wesley Snipes, who originated the live-action role in 1998, has shown support for Ali in the role on Twitter.
“He will do great,” Snipes said on Twitter in response to another user who said, “Best of luck to Mahershala Ali who’s gonna smash it I’m sure as blade but he’s gonna have a hard time outdoing Wesley Snipes.”
He will do great 🙏🏿 https://t.co/11PeFroKUY
— WS (@wesleysnipes) November 11, 2021
When Ali was announced to be playing Blade there was a lot of rejoicing and celebration. Throughout the years, people—but especially Black nerds—have been making sure the 1998 film Blade is given its due as the unofficial beginning of Marvel’s supremacy on film.
The film, starring Snipes, directed by Stephen Norrington, and written by David S. Goyer (the Dark Knight trilogy), introduced the mainstream world to the Daywalker Blade, a Black superpower hero protecting the world from vampires based, on the Marvel comics character who first appeared in 1973. The film went on to make $131.2 million at the box office and then was followed up by the even better Blade II (we don’t talk about Trinity).
Blade was a special character for many and Snipes’s own physicality added to the combat scenes. Plus it was amazing to see a Black man in this role, kicking ass and saving the world.
Now it’ll be Ali’s turn—and it has already begun.
Spoilers For Eternals Below:
During the end credit’s scene in Eternals, Dane Whitman (Jon Snow/Kit Harington) is opening a box where a blade is kept and tries to hype himself up to embrace his destiny as Black Knight. Before touching the sword, a voice asks: “Sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?”
THAT WAS BLADE.
Ali spoke to Empire about the voice cameo and trying to embody the character dynamically in one line off-screen.
“It was really cool, getting to do that,” he said. “It was scary. Because, you know, you’re talking before you’re filming it. I’m pretty particular about my choices, like most actors, and so having to make some choices – even with a line, vocally – this early on, it brought up some very real anxieties. And it made the job real. It’s like, ‘Okay, this is happening now’, you know, and that’s exciting.”
Just from the voice alone, I can tell that Snipes is correct. Ali, who has won Best Supporting Actor Oscars twice, is going to be great and he is excited to be doing it.
“That Marvel world is obviously the biggest in film, and just to get my little introduction to that – starting with the Comic Con a couple years ago, and now the very early stages of stepping into the shoes of that character – it felt special and really cool,” Ali said. “I’m excited to get going and do more.”
I hope someone says that he looks like that guy Cottonmouth.
(image: New Line Cinema)
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