Blade’s Mahershala Ali Explains His Anxieties Surrounding His MCU Entrance

Mahershala Ali as sunglasses-wearing Vector in Alita: Battle Angel
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Eternals are ahead!

At 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that Mahershala Ali would succeed Wesley Snipes as the cinematic Blade, and over the course of 2021, we’ve gotten some big updates concerning the development of the Daywalker’s Marvel Cinematic Universe reboot. However, Eternals came with a cool surprise at the very end: Ali’s official debut as Blade in the MCU… vocally, that is. A week after Eternals’ wide opening, the Moonlight star has talked about the anxieties he felt voicing the character for the first time.

Although Mahershala Ali described the experience of recording his first Blade lines as “really cool,” he also acknowledged that he felt a lot of pressure with getting those lines just right in his mind. The actor explained:

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.

Mahershala Ali added in his interview with Empire that this quick vocal outing as Blade in Eternals “felt special and really cool,” and he’s “excited to get going and do more.” When exactly that will happen is unclear, as the Blade reboot doesn’t have a release date yet, though the actor teased they’re “getting close.” Still, the vampire hunter means a lot to Ali, especially considering he pitched the idea of rebooting Blade directly to Marvel Studios shortly after winning an Academy Award for his performance in Green Book. At the very least, Eternals has tied Ali’s Blade to another Marvel character who looks to have a bright future ahead of him.

Following Eternals’ mid-credits scene, which showed Harry Styles’ Eros of Titan (a.k.a. Starfox) and Patton Oswalt’s Pip the Troll offering their assistance to Thena, Makkari and Druig, the movie’s post-credits scene reunited us with Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman, Sersi’s boyfriend who was about to share something about his family history with her in the main story before she was taken by the Celestial known as Arishem. In Eternals’ final minutes, Dane opened a chest containing the Ebony Blade that’s been in his family for generations, but before he touched the weapon, Mahershala Ali’s Blade, a.k.a. Eric Brooks, asked off camera if he was sure he wanted to do that. The stage is now set for Harington’s Dane to begin his Black Knight journey, although there’s no word of if he’ll appear in the Blade reboot.

While Mahershala Ali is still the only actor officially attached to the next Blade movie, its behind-the-scenes talent includes Watchmen’s Stacy Osei-Kuffour writing the script and Mogul Mowgli’s Bassam Tariq directing. Filming will reportedly begin in summer 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. This will be Ali’s third Marvel-related role, having previously played Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in Luke Cage and voiced Aaron Davis/The Prowler in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

For now, you can catch Eternals in theaters and catch up on past MCU installments over on Disney+. Consult our upcoming Marvel movies guide to learn what other big-screen entries this superhero franchise has coming up besides Blade.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.