I’m going to gloss over the rest of the Hall H announcements from the weekend and focus solely on the one that made me ecstatic, Blade is back! Now I grew up up watching the classic cartoons, that’s for sure, but one day when I was about 10, I stumbled onto Blade as it was being aired on the TBS Superstation. Sure they dropped all the swearing and a large amount of the blood, but the core movie was still there. I only got to see about 15 minutes before my brother entered the room and stole the remote (as siblings do) to put on the Blue Jays game. Needless to say, a fight ensued in which he was victorious. But my interest had been piqued. Flash forward several months and one day I’m looking for a movie to watch in our cupboard where kept all our VHS movies and i found Blade. Now, had I found this at my grandma’s house, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but this was my house, we didn’t have movies like that here. So, I snagged it and watched the whole thing in the basement before anyone came home, and I was hooked!
Wesley Snipes was my first introduction to the character, besides a couple of side arcs in the Animated Spider-Man cartoon where Blade was hunting Morbius before they teamed up. Going from the cartoon version where he had what I can only describe as a lightsaber, to this modern and real badass using a shotgun that fires silver stakes into vampires was a bit of a jump, but I took it and ran with it. I watched and re-watched that movie so many times before my parents found it in the cupboard and demanded to know how I got it. By then I had memorized it and they didn’t care I had it. Then Blade II came out in 2002 and I got that on DVD to continue my love of the character. It featured a great cast and the story line was concise and linked well with the previous movie. The third one, Blade: Trinity was a miss fire, a hard miss fire. The cast was there but the story and premise was far fetched, not to mention all the drama that went on behind the scenes.
This casting is brilliant, and I’m frankly a little perturbed that I didn’t think of this before. My first introduction to Ali was in the cancelled Syfy show Alphas, where he played Clay (a government liaison who hunted dangerous Alphas). My second time seeing him was when he played Carnell Stokes/Cottonmouth in Luke Cage Season 1. He was VASTLY underused in that show and his death midway through season one was probably the worst thing they could’ve done. I did not get to see his movies Moonlight or Greenbook which he won Oscars for, but I know a lot of people who did and raved about his performances. I posted a couple of weeks ago about some fancasting that I would pick for upcoming projects, and in it, I labeled John Boyega as the next Blade because of a piece of fan art done by BossLogic. I will admit that I thought of Boyega for the fact that Blade is actually a British national who moved to America and should have an accent. Also with the way that Marvel was going with their casting of a younger crew for the MCU, I figured Boyega would be a good call; then Kevin Feige announced Mahershala Ali at Marvel’s Hall H reveal and I was instantly stoked. When he walked out onto the stage rather than getting a hat from Feige like everyone else did to highlight their character, Ali had his own hat. It was hard to make out what it said, but the minute he put it on the lights went out and the title card for Blade popped up on the screen. I wasn’t at SDCC personally, but the videos I watched, showed the crowd lose their minds when Blade was announced, they cheered louder for that than any of the other upcoming projects, except for Shang-Chi.
BossLogic who is famous for doing mock ups of various actors as Marvel Heroes actually put this one out long before Ali was confirmed in the Blade role.
HOW WILL BLADE BE INTRODUCED?
This is a big question that could take some serious work on the part of the writers. The MCU has been getting a little bit more weird and out there recently, but the inclusion of Blade is confirming that vampires do in fact exist alongside Captain America and Spider-Man. This is something that can open up a nice sub-genre for them to explore, with Dr. Strange bringing in magic and the multiverse, vampires don’t seem like too far of a stretch. The only issue is that for his first movie, it’s either going to have to be an origin story set in the past, like Captain Marvel and the upcoming Black Widow movie, which will force a small retcon again… or they will need to introduce vampires as a complication of the “Blip” or the “Snappening” as I called it. I’m all for consequences coming out of the messing of universal energies like the three different snaps of the Infinity Gauntlet, but to use that a possible segue for Mutants, the Fantastic Four and now Vampires… that seems a bit much.
Now my theory on how they’ll introduce Blade and by extensions, vampires, is a split movie; what I mean is this, the movie is going to be Ali as older Blade explaining to (an Avenger or Fury or Hill) how he came to be where he is and what led to that happening. The majority of the story will be told in the past, maybe the early 2000’s when Blade first started doing his work in London. Following the blip, the Vampires who have been keeping themselves in secret have now emerged into the world because of half their food supply has gone missing, though nobody knows they’re actually vampires. They have aggressively started taking over companies and herding the homeless and destitute into their blood farms because most people will just think that they disappeared during the Snap. Blade has discovered what they’re doing and has left London to try and shut down the entire network so that vampires will be kept in check and forced back into the shadows. Then the snap is undone and the tales of people vanishing to “vampires in the dark five year gap” are considered folk tales that nobody takes seriously despite the missing people piling up.
I know it’s not a perfect plot or theory but I definitely think they should work something more like that into it and keep it somewhat grounded without going full blown dark magic. Leave the dark magic stuff to Strange and the sorcerers and have Blade focus on just folk lore and obscure vampirism.
With the introduction of Blade there are a few things that we might be able to get. A live action big budget Ghost Rider (done properly), a Marvel Knights/Midnight Sons movie with all the dark anti-hero characters together and Werewolves. I say werewolves because there’s only one hero who got his start fighting werewolves… literally in the comic titled Werewolf by Night… Moon Knight!!!
Please… just give me Moon Knight…
The only hiccup that I can see coming out of this inclusion in the MCU is that Blade is traditionally a mature comic character. The Wesley Snipes version of the character really leaned into the blood and gore which garnered R/18A rating for their movies. Since this movie is being included into the MCU and put out by Disney, we know that the highest rating it will have is a PG-13 rating, same as the rest of the MCU. This definitely closes off the amount of blood and gore they can have. But it doesn’t mean that the action will suffer. I think we will still get the martial arts, gun sporting, sword toting badass we’ve all expected without having to dial up the gore value to 12.
Blade is set to launch Phase 5 of the MCU and will be released sometime in 2022.