Blade is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. During the 2019 Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-con, Kevin Feige unveiled Marvel’s Phase 4. From Eternals to scary Doctor Strange to Natalie Portman as Lady Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder, it was a stacked 90 minutes. And honestly, that would have been enough! But no, Feige had one last surprise—a tease of Marvel beyond Phase 4. He brought up Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali who promptly put on a hat… “BLADE!” Here’s everything we know about the upcoming Blade, the Vampire Slayer.
Who Is in the Cast?
As mentioned above, two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali will play the daywalking half-vampire badass in the upcoming film. Meanwhile, it has now been confirmed that Delroy Lindo is joining Ali in film. While we don’t formally know who Lindo is playing, we think he could be Jamal Afari, who in the comics raised Blade and taught him all about vampire slaying. (In the Wesley Snipes films, he was called Abraham Whistler and was played by Kris Kristofferson.)
On February 22, 2022, Deadline reported Krypton actor Aaron Pierre has joined the cast of Blade in another undisclosed character. Unlike Lindo, however, this role will seemingly have bigger implications on the Marvel Cinematic Universe than just this one film.
“[T]he role itself was one of the more highly coveted parts in Hollywood since Tariq was tapped as director last fall. Execs on the project always had their eye on Lindo for his secret role but insiders add Feige, Tariq and others took their time finding the right person for this part, meeting dozens of up-and-coming actors for the role with Pierre becoming the favorite in recent weeks.”
This, to us, implies a character like Dracula who might have a much larger presence in the coming horror-tinged phase of the Marvel movies. More on that when it happens.
When it comes to Ali. Notably, this is not his first foray into the Marvel Universe. He also portrayed the villain Cottonmouth in the first season of Netflix’s Luke Cage. He also recently voiced Prowler in Sony’s Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Recently, Ali opened up about starting his journey as this character in Eternals. Although he doesn’t actually appear in the film, he voices a line in the after-the-credits scene. Ali shares with Empire:
It was really cool, getting to do that… It was scary. Because, you know, you’re talking before you’re filming it. I’m pretty particular about my choices, like most actors, and so having to make some choices – even with a line, vocally – this early on, it brought up some very real anxieties. And it made the job real. It’s like, ‘Okay, this is happening now’, you know, and that’s exciting.
We can’t wait for the many more great choices that Ali will make for Blade.
Who is writing?
Marvel has tapped playwright Stacy Osei-Kuffour to write the upcoming film, per The Hollywood Reporter, making her the first Black woman to write a Marvel film. As a writer on HBO’s critically-acclaimed Watchmen series, Osei-Kuffour is no stranger to comic adaptations. Other writing credits include the series Hunter, Pen15, and Run.
Who is directing?
According to a July 19, 2021 report on Deadline, Marvel’s top choice is Bassam Tariq. And on September 2, 2021, Tariq confirmed he has signed on to direct the film via The Playlist podcast. The BAFTA-nominated filmmaker has mostly directed documentaries and shorts. However, he’s coming off of his narrative feature debut, Mogul Mowgli, a drama which he co-wrote with star Riz Ahmed. Marvel has not confirmed Deadline‘s report.
A very brief history of Blade.
Blade debuted in the tenth issue of Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula comic back in 1973, from writer Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan. He quickly became a supremely popular character, a half-vampire killer of vampires and other occult baddies. Blade first made it to the big screen in 1998 starring Wesley Snipes. Two sequels follows—one of them good—but eventually, that franchise sort of fell by the wayside.
All of this just leads us to wonder how dark the movie could get. If the next Doctor Strange is a horror movie, then what’s to stop Blade from going full scary too? Nothing! Even if it doesn’t get as bloody as the Snipes movies did, a dark and scary PG-13 Blade could be, forgive the pun, Marvelous.
When will Blade, the Vampire Slayer land in theaters?
We know, via The Hollywood Reporter, that production will begin in July 2022. So, for now, we can take a breather and begin theorizing how Mahershala Ali’s take on the famed character will join the forever-expanding MCU cast of characters.
Originally published on July 20, 2019.
Featured Image: Paramount+