The superhero movies today can be traced back to X-Men and Spider-Man. But there’s another film that exists in an odd middle-ground between campy superhero and something more gritty and realistic, which is 1998’s Blade. The story of a black half-human, half-vampire who hunts vamps and can survive daylight spawned a trilogy with 2002’s vastly superior Blade II and the pretty atrocious 2004 Blade: Trinity. Wesley Snipes starred in all three films, but when interest died off, Marvel relaunched the character on TV with Blade: The Series in 2006 starring Sticky Fingaz. That only lasted for one season. Then the rights eventually reverted back to Marvel Studios, and the character has been in limbo…until now.
After a slew of other announcements at their Comic-Con panel in Hall H, Marvel had a brief coda by announcing a new Blade and bringing two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali onto the stage. So we’ve got a new “Daywalker” and it’s the immensely talented Ali in the role.
What’s so cool about Blade getting into the MCU is not only have we seen that you can do some fun stuff with the character and his action-horror world (although I doubt Marvel’s Blade will be rated-R like the previous films), but that the studio is showing they can have more than one black superhero. Rather than just resting on the Black Panther franchise and calling it a day, they’re bringing more black superheroes into the MCU to stand alongside T’Challa, Sam Wilson, Valkyrie, and more. It’s one thing to say you’re going to make a commitment to diversity, but Marvel is out here doing it.
The question now becomes what will they do with Blade and whom will they get to oversee it? Who’s the right director for the franchise? How do you relaunch this character and make him fit in the MCU? These are exciting questions, and I’m eager to find out the answers in a few years when Blade arrives.