Mahershala Ali says that when he first contacted Marvel about playing Blade, they were planning to reboot the character for a TV show, not a movie.
Mahershala Ali says that when he first contacted Marvel about playing the role, they were planning to reboot Blade as a TV show, not a movie. Kevin Feige announced that Ali had been cast as Blade at SDCC 2019, a move that took everyone by surprise. The announcement was a shock mainly because a Blade reboot or remake hadn’t been previously announced as part of plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and also because the dark, violent tone of the original Blade trilogy doesn’t fit with the PG-13, family-friendly approach of the MCU.
That original trilogy starred Wesley Snipes in the title role. The first movie, released in 1998, was a gritty, relatively low budget R-rated movie that splattered blood and guts all over the screen. Guillermo del Toro’s sequel Blade II upped the ante, introducing Reapers and expanding Blade’s universe. The disappointing Blade: Trinity, released in 2006, ended the franchise at a low point, and many had believed the character wouldn’t appear on screen again. That was, until SDCC 2019, where it was revealed Ali called Marvel and asked to be cast as Blade. There is currently no planned release date for the movie, but Ali reveals it wasn’t always planned for the character to appear on the big screen again.
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Speaking on The Tight Rope podcast, Ali says that when he first approached Marvel about playing Blade, which he did after debuting as “Cottonmouth” Stokes in Luke Cage, they were already considering rebooting the character, but in a TV show, not a movie. He adds that it took “a couple of years” for them to come to a conclusion, and cast him in the movie. He also reveals that he would have been happy playing Blade in a TV show, but that his “goal” has always been to play the Marvel character on film. You can read his full comments below:
So, in doing that show [Luke Cage], the day it premiered I turned to my agent and I said, “What are they doing with Blade?” Because I kept hearing that they were trying to find a way to remake it and put it back together, and it was exciting for me to get to be in that Marvel space in TV, but for me, my goal had always been film. So, there was this long process of them speaking about, at least in the television division, really wanted to make it a TV show again, but not necessarily, trying to acquire the rights still, and some thing’s kinda going on, so it took a couple of years.
Ali, who says part of the reason he wanted to be the MCU’s Blade is because he was compared to Snipes in high school, makes it clear that his goal was always to reboot the character in a movie, but it would be fascinating to know just what kind of TV series Marvel had in mind for Blade. It likely would have had to be on Hulu or Netflix, given the dark, adult tone needed to properly portray the character. A PG-13 version just wouldn’t have the same impact, and so the show wouldn’t have found a home on the family-friendly streaming service Disney+.
Regardless of the rating and tone of the show, it would have been interesting to know if Marvel would have produced it for a network like Hulu, or even as part of the Netflix Defenders universe. That would have allowed the character to play in an R-rated space, even if it meant Ali couldn’t have been cast due to already turning up in Luke Cage. Thankfully for him, though, that wasn’t the case, and Ali will be able to step into Snipes’ boots when Blade becomes part of the MCU in phase 5.
Next: Thor: Ragnarok Already Teased MCU Vampires (Setting Up Blade In Phase 5)
Source: The Tight Rope
Key Release Dates
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
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