Marvel Needs To Give Up On Blade

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Updated

marvel blade

Marvel, we know you mean well—but it’s time to say goodbye to your dreams of a soft Blade reboot; it’s just not in the cards. After all, as is infamously well known by now, among the studio’s array of anticipated projects, the remake of the classic vampire hunting franchise struggles conspicuously to find its footing. Yes, the magnetic Mahershala Ali has been attached to play the titular vamp-hunter for some time; sure, theoretically, audiences might be up for a reboot of this dark and gritty franchise. But setback after setback casts a long shadow of doubt over the reboot’s eventual horizon, and for good reason. 

Lots Of Departures

Lengthening the shadow, of late, is the recent departure of Aaron Pierre from the cast; this blow alone should motivate Marvel execs to question whether their persistent attempts at revamping (sorry) Blade are worth the evident difficulty. 

The ongoing struggle to revive and opportunize the universe could be compared to a ship sailing against the current. Nerds might know that, initially, the project was announced with Pierre among its cast, and Bassam Tariq included as a much-hyped director. 

But big-deal departures have made life difficult for the would-be production; first, Tariq waved goodbye, then screenwriter Stacy Osei-Kuffour—and only months prior to the intended start of production. 

Are Things Back On Track?

Although Marvel might think they righted the teetering Blade ship, to belabor the metaphor, by securing replacements in the form of Yann Damange and Michael Green, respectively. However, the project’s continual delays and game of casting musical chairs imply an underlying issue, a fundamental problem the studio would do well to accept and move on from. 

Sure, Delroy Lindo and Mia Goth remain tethered to the film—tied to the mast, you might say (okay, last ship metaphor). But for how long? 

Wesley Snipes’ Legacy

blade wesley snipes secret wars

And, obviously, central to the dilemma is Wesey Snipes’ ironclad legacy. Snipes unbeatably defined the character; he’s inseparable from it—when you think of Blade, you think of Snipes, and vice versa. 

It’s thus frankly arrogant of Marvel to believe they can alter the legacy of that IP by simply willing new actors and behind-the-camera talent into the Blade universe. 

Snipes, Marvel should remember, when weighing whether or not to give up on the reboot, starred in all three films, beginning with the first in 1998. The actor’s portrayal of the vampire hunter is not just iconic—it’s a role many fans consider untouchable. It blended charisma, physicality, and a nuanced understanding of the character’s complexity. 

Marvel’s Impossible Job Is To Exceed Snipes’ Portrayal

wesley snipes blade

If a new iteration is to emerge from Snipes’ shadow and actually earn Marvel a profit, it needs to exceed the qualities the actor contributed to Blade, not merely match them. This feat seems increasingly unlikely with each production hiccup. 

A Blade Reboot May Simply Be Beyond Marvel

wesley snipes blade

That said, in all fairness, Marvel Studios under Kevin Feige’s tenure has navigated the complexities of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, weaving their world-famous tapestry of interconnected stories—all of which redefined the superhero genre. But this challenge may be beyond Feige and company, regardless. 

They’re dealing, ultimately, with an utterly solidified brand, and one that didn’t exactly debut that long ago. Blade: Trinity, for instance, the third film in the series, came out in 2004. 

In other words: this isn’t a reboot of some half-a-century-old superhero franchise—a dark, modernized version of Batman to contrast the goofy ’60s Batman, for example. 

Rather, this is Marvel mishandling Blade, a franchise cornered completely by Snipes and frankly beyond even Marvel’s deep pockets and global reach. 

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