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The Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con last Saturday ended with arguably the biggest surprise of the evening: Mahershala Ali is starring in a Blade reboot. Granted, we’ll have to wait for Phase 5 to see this new Blade feature, but it was nonetheless exciting to hear that Ali is succeeding Wesley Snipes as the cinematic version of Marvel’s Daywalker.
Of course, once the Mahershala Ali casting news broke, that led to various fans putting together their take on what the actor will look like as Blade, like this cool-looking fan art below.
Mahershala Ali’s Alita: Battle Angel character, Vector, bears some resemblance to Blade, and clearly it was the inspiration for this fan art that was shared by Reddit user iMizurii. I suspect the sunglasses will look different than the shades Vector rocked, but overall this is a decent mock-up of Ali’s Blade. Now I’m even more excited to see this new iteration of the character slice through vampire hordes.
Blade will mark Mahershala Ali’s third time working on a comic book adaptation. He previously played Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in the Netflix series Luke Cage and voiced Aaron Davis, a.k.a. The Prowler, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Wesley Snipes previously brought Blade across three movies between 1998 and 2004. The actor had been campaigning for years to play the character (whose real name is Eric Brooks) for a fourth time, but following the Mahershala Ali announcement, Snipes released a statement saying that he’s okay with how things turned out and expressed support for Ali.
Nevertheless, some Wesley Snipes fans are hoping that the actor will obtain a different role in the Blade reboot. Should that happen, it wouldn’t be the first time an actor from one franchise were tor return in a different franchise based on the same property. For example, remember that surprising cameo in the Spider-Man: Far From Home mid-credits scene?
Interestingly enough, while Marvel Studios usually plans out a movie first and then finds the lead actor, this time it was the other way around. After winning an Oscar for his performance as Don Shirley in Green Book, Mahershala Ali met with Kevin Feige and told him he wanted to play Blade. And thus the reboot was born!
Given that the MCU’s Phase 4 is kicking off with Black Widow next May and ending with Thor: Love and Thunder in November 2021, that means the earliest the new Blade movie could come out is in early 2022. However, if Marvel would rather deliver something like Black Panther 2 or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in Phase 5 first, then perhaps it’ll be saved for 2023 or even later.