Marvel Comics’ famous vampire hunter is headed back to the screen, with two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali set to star in Blade, a reboot of the franchise featuring the day-walking, vampire-killing hero.
The Blade reboot — which hasn’t been identified as a television series or a movie at this point — was first announced during Marvel Studios’ July 20 panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, where Ali made a surprise appearance to confirm his involvement. Here’s everything we know about Blade so far.
Marvel Studios closed out its packed Comic-Con 2019 panel in San Diego with the announcement that Ali would star in a new Blade project.
A video of the announcement was posted on Twitter by RottenTomatoes.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) July 21, 2019
No stranger to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ali previously portrayed the deadly crime boss Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in Marvel’s Luke Cage series on Netflix. Ali received heaps of praise for his portrayal of the conflicted gangster who sought to rule over Harlem, and offered one of the standout performances of the show’s first season.
One element that was conspicuously absent from Marvel’s initial announcement of the Blade reboot was confirmation of what form the project will take. Marvel declined to identify the project as a TV series or a movie, so it’s uncertain at this point where Blade’s vampire-hunting adventures will end up.
Although Marvel announced the reboot during a panel that confirmed the studio’s upcoming plans, Blade was noticeably absent from the calendar image the studio revealed during the event.
— Natasha Romanoff (@BlackWidowAveng) July 22, 2019
This suggests that the Blade reboot — in whatever form it takes — isn’t likely to debut until 2022 at the earliest.
Created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, the half-vampire superhero Blade made his debut in a 1973 issue of Marvel Comics’ horror series The Tomb of Dracula. The half-human Eric Brooks, whose mother was attacked by a vampire while giving birth to him, inherited powerful genetic traits from the vampire.
Taking on the name Blade, he went on to become one of Marvel Comics’ primary heroes in the occult corners of the publisher’s mythology, tracking down supernatural threats and battling dark creatures that feel outside the purview of many Marvel heroes.
In 1998, Wesley Snipes starred in what would be the first of three Blade movies featuring him as the title character. The early, R-rated films were well-received — particularly 2002’s Blade II, directed by Guillermo del Toro — and are regarded as key projects in the emergence of superhero movies as a viable genre.
A Blade TV series that premiered in 2006 and starred hip-hop musician Sticky Fingaz in the title role didn’t fare as well, lasting only one season.
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