Blade’s Wesley Snipes Explains Why He Took On The Role Of The Daywalker Years Ago

Wesley Snipes in Blade
(Image credit: New Line Cinema/Marvel)

With Mahershala Ali set to make his MCU debut as Blade, generations of Blade fans still regard Wesley Snipes’ portrayal of the beloved Daywalker. Taking on the Marvel superhero was a challenge for the Coming 2 America star in the wake of 1990s superhero flops like Batman & Robin and Spawn. After making a splash and changing Hollywood’s perspective on superhero films, Snipes explained why he took on the role of the Daywalker years ago.

The Blade star had an impact on the superhero genre with the success of the first two films. While many Marvel fans can’t picture the half-vampire without seeing Wesley Snipes, the action film veteran didn’t see the Daywalker franchise becoming the universal cult classic it is today. Snipes explained to ComicBookMovie that when he first took on the Blade role, he was just doing the project for his friends who loved action movies and martial arts. In his words:

It’s amazing. In the beginning, my motivation for doing the first Blade project was to have fun and to do something I knew my homeboys and homegirls would absolutely love. The ones from the martial arts world. The ones from the Shaft world, and the ones who love Kung-fu and all that [Laughs].

The film was just a fun homage to all the things he and his friends enjoyed. Wesley Snipes didn’t understand the character’s universal appeal until the first Blade film dropped in 1998. But even before the beloved Marvel film dropped, the 60-year-old actor knew the first film was something special for a niche audience, and he learned a good lesson on potential after it became a success. Snipes continued:

We knew that would be attractive to that niche audience, but I had no idea it would have broader appeal. However, it was a good lesson. It taught us what was possible. A lot of things we didn’t imagine because we didn’t have the technical tools at the time, but we have them now. It’s a great time for us and I’m giddy over the possibility of the potential of doing some of the things we had imagined with the tools we now have available with [The Exiled].

The Demolition Man actor learned from his Blade experience to not underestimate a property’s full potential. With his current comic book property The Exiled, it appears Snipes hasn’t limited the possibilities for the new venture. Wesley Snipes’ excitement for his latest venture seemed to hint at a potential multimedia franchise in the making like the beloved Blade franchise.

Of course, the acting veteran knew he had a hit on his hands after the first Blade became a box office hit. The success led to two sequels with the final entry, Blade Trinity, arriving in 2004. After the threequel hit theaters, Wesley Snipes took steps to get the never-produced Blade 4 made. There were two scripts ready to film, which faced years of production starts and stops. Despite never being made, he still has the scripts in his possession.

Despite no longer playing Blade, Snipes has nothing but love for Mahershala Ali as he brings his version of the Daywalker to the MCU. The True Story star gave some advice to Ali about training for the action-heavy role. Upon hearing his advice and encouraging words, Ali spoke about what Wesley Snipes talking about him taking on the Blade mantle meant to him as he felt humbled and encouraged by Snipes’ words. Given the looming presence of Snipes, the two-time Oscar winner mentioned he was looking forward to earning the Daywalker role from the action icon, understanding he has big shoes to fill.

Having moved on from the role, Wesley Snipes’ career is still flourishing with multiple TV and film projects in the work, including Back on the Strip. Mahershala Ali will make his MCU debut when Blade arrives in theaters on November 3, 2023, as part of Marvel's official Phase 5 lineup. If you want to revisit Snipes’ time as Blade, you can stream the Blade movies across multiple platforms.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).