In 2019 Marvel completed its Phase 3 slate with the 12 years in the making Avengers: Endgame. It was a fitting and satisfying end to everything that came before the grand finale. So obviously the burning question is: What’s next? What is Phase 4 all about? Marvel President Kevin Feige presented Phase 4 at the San Diego Comic-Con which included a slate that will hit both the big and small screen, to fans delight. But what really caught everyone’s ear was Feige’s surprise announcement that hinted what Marvel’s Phase 5 will include. Blade, which was once a trilogy that Wesley Snipes starred in. Now Blade is getting a Marvel reboot. What’s more surprising is that Snipes will not resprise his role as the superhero daywalker. The role of Blade has been given to Mahershala Ali.
Blade was originally a Marvel Comics Marv Wolfman/Gene Colan creation that debuted in 1973. In it, Eric Brooks is turned half-human when his mother is attacked by a vampire while she is giving birth to him. As Eric grew, he realized he inherited powers possessed by the vampire. He took the name Blade and begun his fight battling supernatural creatures and threats. Wesley Snipes played this role to perfection in three Blade movies released in 1998, 2002, and 2004.
Marvel’s Path To A New Blade
The announcement of a new Blade was met with mixed emotions. Many were overjoyed by the fact that Ali was taking over the role Wesley Snipes made famous. Snipes starred in the trilogy and the first two, Blade and Blade II received rave reviews. But the third, Blade: Trinity was met with less than an enthusiastic welcome. The series died. But that didn’t stop Snipes fans from voicing their opinion on the new announcement. The die-hards still want to see the original day-walking vampire slayer.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige claims the company always wanted to find a way back into Blade’s world. Who doesn’t like a half-vampire vampire slayer? It had always been a thought but one that seemed to remain on the back burner. It wasn’t until the new Doctor Strange storyline was being put together that Feige thought maybe it was time to return to Blade. Feige felt the supernatural aspect Doctor Strange showcased would lend itself to exploring Blade in a big way.
Enter Ali, who just came off his second Academy win. He called Feige to ask for a meeting and as Feige told the Hollywood Reporter, “When Mahershala calls, you answer.” And answer he did. Ali went in and got right to his point. He wanted to do Blade, BE Marvel’s Blade, and that was pretty much all Feige had to hear.
Blade’s New Daywalker
For those not in the know, Mahershala Ali is a two-time Academy Award winner, winning first for Best Supporting Actor in Barry Jenkins’ 2016 film Moonlight. He brought home his second Academy Award, and added a Golden Globe win, for his portrayal of Don Shirley in the 2018 drama, The Green Book.
While Ali has been in Hollywood for a little over a decade, it’s only been the past few years that he has seen his star rise. His first major movie role was David Fincher’s 2008 release of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. His supporting role on Netflix’s political thriller House of Cards gained Ali more attention and he also starred in the final two films as Boggs in The Hunger Game series. He was last seen on HBO’s acclaimed series True Detective playing Detective Wayne Hays. Ali is no stranger to the Marvel Universe. He provided the voice of Uncle Aaron in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and was also Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in Netflix’s Luke Cage.
Wesley Snipes Reacts To The New Blade
It wasn’t long until the original day-walker came out, backing Marvel’s move and showing nothing but love for the new Blade. He wrote this to ComicBook.com. “To all the DAYWALKERS losing their minds right now, chillaaxx. Although the news comes as a surprise, it’s ALL GOOD. Such is the ‘business’ of ‘entertainment!’ Much peace to the MCU crew – always a fan. Honor and respect to the grandmaster Stan. Congratulations and Salaam to Mahershala Ali, a beautiful and talented artist whose expressions I look forward to experiencing for many years to come. Inshallah, we will someday work together. Most importantly to my loyal fans, the incredible outpouring of love is overwhelming. I am grateful for the never-ending support. So, ‘nah fret nah worry, it’s not de end of de story.’ Welcome to the Daywalker Klique.”
Marvel’s Plan For Blade
With Disney’s new streaming platform Disney Plus a focus for the company, it’s unknown if Blade will be a streaming product or something we’ll see on the silver screen. Marvel’s Phase 4 includes many series that will be debuting exclusively on the Disney Plus site, including Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, and Hawkeye. Along with those Disney Plus shows, Feige announced that Phase 4 will also bring to the big screen Black Widow, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Eternals, and Thor: Love and Thunder. So, with these big-name shows ready to appear, it’s hard to say if Blade will get the big-screen treatment or not.
Obviously, this early in the game, Feige did not commit to a release date other than to say it will come in Phase 5. With Phase 4 just set to begin, it could be two to three years down the road before we see this new version of Blade. With that in mind, it is unknown if the Marvel’s Blade story will be an origin tale or not. Feige did not say if this will be a complete reboot or begin by already having Blade established. This means a writer has not even been approached to put the story together. There also hasn’t been a director chosen though some have certain hot directors in mind. (Hello Jordan Peele). Again, this early in the game, anything is possible. Other than Ali, there have been no other actors announced.
As Marvel’s Phase 4 rolls out, it won’t be long before more announcements concerning the new Blade will follow. We’ll update this guide with more on the new Marvel Blade franchise, as it develops.