Mahershala Ali will star in the MCU’s Blade reboot, and it will have both differences from and similarities to the Wesley Snipes Blade movies.
Mahershala Ali will lead the forthcoming Blade reboot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while it will be very different from the original Wesley Snipes Blade films, it can’t completely ignore them. The introductory film of the Blade movie trilogy, Blade made its big-screen debut in 1998 and became the first Marvel-based movie to be a major theatrical success. Two sequels would follow in Blade II and Blade: Trinitythough the disappointment of the latter would mark the end of the series.
Though Blade would return to the small screen with the short-lived Spike TV series Blade starring Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones, the show’s single-season run would be the last audiences would see of the Daywalker for years. Eventually, Marvel Studios announced plans to reboot Blade in the MCU at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. The reboot will see Mahershala Ali assume the role from Wesley Snipes, the voice of Ali’s Blade heard in Eternals in the movie’s end-credits scene.
Being a part of the long-running MCU, the Blade reboot will be tasked with reintroducing the character to modern audiences. Still, even as it does that, the effect that the Blade films (particularly the original Blade) had on superhero movies cannot be overlooked in any new take on the Daywalker. Having made such an undeniable impact, Blade makes it inevitable that Marvel’s reboot will still take some influence from the Snipes-led movies.
Blade Was A Big Deal For The Character (& For Superhero Movies)
When Blade Debuted in 1998, the landscape for superhero movies was completely unrecognizable from what it is today. Big-screen comic book adventures were much fewer and further between, and regarded with far less positivity at the time. Marvel specifically had experienced virtually no live-action success outside of The Incredible Hulk television series. After Blade overcame studio meddling to be a massive hit, it didn’t take long for things to change from there.
Two years after the success of Blade, X-Men finally made it to the big screen to great success itself. With the mega-success of Spider-Man In 2002, the doors were thrown open and the superhero movie boom commenced. Granted, comic book movies still tended to be very hit and miss during this time, as evidenced with the Daywalker’s own franchise in the success of Blade II and the collapse of Blade: Trinity. 2008 is generally cited as the turning point where comic book movies fully took over cinemas with the Marvel and DC hits of Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Still, Blade Being the success that it was, and more importantly, at the time that succeeded, was instrumental in pushing superhero movies to where they’ve gotten. Despite Blade: Trinity going off the rails, the original Blade also made the idea of an MCU Blade a much bigger event than it would’ve been otherwise, something easily exemplified in how the former was sold to the public.
The Original & MCU Blades Will Be Marketed Very Differently
Prior to the release of Blade, the Daywalker was anything but an A-list Marvel character. Though Blade had appeared on a few episodes of Fox Kids’ Spider-Man: The Animated Series, he still was far from a widely recognizable character to the public. New Line Cinema’s marketing for Blade clearly bore that and the rut that superhero movies were in at the time in mind. Blade was sold very little on its comic book origins, to the point where one could easily have bought a ticket for it without ever knowing the sunglasses-wearing vampire hunter Blade was a Marvel character. Instead, Blade was marketed as the Hollywood equivalent of a Hong Kong action movie with Wesley Snipes battling vampires. Clearly, the hit that Blade ended up being shows that the strategy paid off, but this won’t be the case for the MCU Blade reboot.
With the superhero genre being bigger than ever and over 30 MCU movies released before it (along with numerous streaming shows), Marvel’s Blade will do anything but mask the fact that it’s a comic book movie. The Blade reboot also taking place in world full of superheroes is a huge contrast to Snipes’ Blade movies. That’s not to say that Blade, well-known for having just a handful of friends like Whistler (played Kris Kristofferson in Snipes’ Blade movies), won’t still work solo. Even Blade’s connection to Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington) established at the end of Eternals He doesn’t make it likely that Blade will be an Avengers-level team player rather than an occasional ally to other heroes. With the numerous differences that Marvel’s Blade will have in its marketing, though, it still won’t fully be able to shed the influence of Snipes’ Blade movies.
Why The MCU Blade Will Still Have Influences From The Original’s Impact
With Blade being such a peripheral Marvel character when his movie first arrived, Blade was the rare example of a comic book adaptation having a greater impact on its source material than the other way around. With his presentation as a human-vampire hybrid in the film, the success of Blade led to his comic book backstory being updated to be in sync with the film. With this becoming the image of Blade held by the general public, along with Snipes’ Blade switching from British to American, Marvel’s reboot will doubtlessly retain his story of being a half-vampire with immunity to vampire weaknesses, save for their bloodlust. Blade‘s impact on the Daywalker’s MCU reboot doesn’t stop there, either.
Blade was also an early example of an R-rated comic book movie becoming a major box office hit. While Deadpool and Logan Only cemented the possibilities of that further years later, an R-rating is territory the MCU has yet to venture into. Streaming shows like Moon Knight and the return of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) in the MCU from his very dark Daredevil show signals the MCU starting to inch in that direction. The real patient zero of the MCU going for an R will be Deadpool 3, which will reportedly retain the R-rating of its two predecessors. With Blade Having R-rated MCU movie potential by way of the original trilogy, Marvel Studios will surely find themselves weighing the pros and cons of Blade Adopting either a PG-13 or an R. Considering the aforementioned legacy of the original R-rated Blade movies, it’s seemingly an open question as to whether Marvel’s Blade will truly stay in PG-13 terrain or take the gloves off for the MCU’s second R-rated entry.
While Marvel Studios’ Blade will surely strive to give a fresh take on the vampire hunter, there’s no way for it to completely forget about what the Blade movies that came before established. It’s not often that a reboot has to look to its predecessor to cross-reference what it has planned to any significant extent, though Marvel’s Blade wisely dropping for Halloween would be a first for him. Thanks to what Blade did for the Daywalker, for Marvel, and for all superhero movies, the MCU’s Blade is just that kind of reboot anomaly.
NEXT: Wesley Snipe’s Blade Needs Movie Redemption (Like Garfield’s Spider-Man)
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