After Marvel’s jam-packed Hall H Comic-Con presentation on Saturday, there’s plenty to look forward to in the world of MCU movies. One of the biggest and most unexpected reveals came in the final moments of the panel as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige invited Mahershala Ali on stage, only for the two-time Oscar winner to pull out a baseball cap that read “Blade” on it.It was a huge moment as the return of the half-vampire superhero has been a big source of fan speculation in the MCU and many were expecting the man who played him in the classic 1998 movie (and its sequels), Wesley Snipes, to return. However, Ali is a big get for Marvel Studios as he brings a gravitas and seriousness which will likely entice a wider and more unexpected audience to the upcoming project.
Of course, the actor has already appeared in two other Marvel projects — Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Luke Cage — so this isn’t his first Marvel role, just his first starring role. And it’s an exceedingly exciting one. The classic Blade comics are a world away from the movies that brought the badass bloodsucker to the big screen, so there’s plenty of super cool stuff that Marvel Studios can do when it comes to creating a new version of Blade that still fits into the world of the MCU. Here are some of the things we hope to see in Marvel’s Blade…
A Nod to His Period Comic Book Origins
Though the 1998 Blade movie was iconic in its own right, it didn’t take much from the comic book origins of Eric Brooks, who was first introduced in 1973’s Tomb of Dracula #10. Whereas David S. Goyer’s script introduced the world to a very modern vampire slayer, Blade’s classic backstory offers up the potential for a great period piece. In the comics, Brooks was born to a sex worker in a Soho brothel in the midst of London’s Red Light District in 1929. As his mother was giving birth she was murdered by a vampire, causing Eric to gain his vampiric powers.
The young boy was raised in the brothel by his mother’s friends, but his vampire-slaying days began when he saved an old man from a gang of bloodsuckers. The seemingly harmless jazz musician was actually a slayer himself known as Jamal Afari, and from then on he took Eric under his wing as a student in both music and vampire hunting. Now, while it’s unlikely that Marvel will commit to Blade being raised in a brothel, don’t tell us it wouldn’t be cool to see the character being brought up by a badass trumpet player in early 1930s London. Whether or not Ali will portray Blade as British is still yet to be seen. But we would love to see a nod to the classic origin of the character — which was inspired by the action- and horror-heavy ’70s craze of American Blaxploitation films like Shaft and Blacula — when the film eventually hits screens.
Bringing Horror to the MCU
Though director Scott Derrickson said at the panel that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be “the first scary MCU movie,” we’d love to see Blade lean into his horror comics origins. Not only is he a brutal vampire slayer in the pages of Tomb of Dracula, but throughout his history both on screen and on page he has been a bastion of horror in the Marvel universe.
It’s easy to forget now, but the film that arguably started the contemporary trend for big Marvel movies was Blade. Directed by Stephen Norrington, the R-rated, blood-drenched action-horror was a huge hit at the box office and with critics, changing the idea of what a comic book movie could be. It would be exhilarating to see Marvel use the original Blade movie as a touchstone rather than a textbook, taking hints from the way that it embraced both horror and comic book style action.
It’s not like that would be straying far from Blade’s comic book origins either, as they were born out of the loosening of the Comics Code as Marvel began to stray from the strict rules that the industry placed on itself. Marvel could take some big risks here with a tone unlike any other MCU movie, one that leans into the gothic tradition of vampire folklore and the stark atmosphere of the black and white illustrations that first brought Blade to life. Though it’s unlikely that Feige will make an R-rated MCU movie, Blade would be the perfect one to start with in Phase 5. By the time we get to a post-2022 MCU world, it could be prime time to venture into the yet-unexplored world of not-for-kids cinema and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A New Creative Team Behind the Camera
Every time a new Marvel movie is announced one of the most exciting things is the potential of who might get to helm it. Though the company has played it relatively safe in the past, whenever they’ve taken chances with indie directors who are untested in the world of blockbuster movie making, like Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) the results have been spectacular. As for Blade, while a comic book horror movie with a black lead screams Jordan Peele, we’d actually love to see Dee Rees take on the landmark movie. Marvel has yet to hire a black woman director, and now that Chloe Zhao is helming The Eternals it seems like the tide is slowly shifting.
If you’re not aware of Rees’ incredible work, the Academy Award-nominated writer/director has crafted incredibly atmospheric films like Pariah and Mudbound, and she also directed a stunning episode of the anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. Rees would be an inspired choice for Blade, especially as she has spoken about her passion for genre filmmaking and how much she wants the chance to make a big-budget extravaganza. Marvel has been the launchpad for many unexpected creators and we hope that Feige offers this space up to a brilliant filmmaker like Dee Rees.
The Possible Introduction of Blade… Jr.?
In 2015, Marvel announced a comic called Blade the Hunter. The title from Tim Seely and Logan Faerber was never actually released but would have focused on Fallon, Blade’s daughter. Writer Seely later stated that he quit the title as he felt he couldn’t do the character justice and since then many fans have wondered whether Fallon would ever make an appearance when Blade once again hits the big screen.
With Mahershala Ali definitely on the older side for new superhero casting, there is certainly the chance that Marvel might repurpose the concept from Blade the Hunter and use it as a way to seed a storyline about a new generation of Vampire Hunters. Though it’s unlikely that we’ll see this in the first Blade movie it’s a very cool possibility that might just make it to the big screen!
What are you hoping to see when Blade eventually returns to the big screen? Discuss in the comments!