Blade's Mahershala Ali Talks 'Earning' The Daywalker Role From Wesley Snipes

Mahershala Ali in True Detective
(Image credit: HBO)

Although Blade has existed in Marvel Comics lore since 1973, it was Wesley Snipes’ cinematic run as the character from 1998 to 2004 that catapulted the Daywalker to worldwide fame. Now it’s Mahershala Ali’s turn to put his own spin on Blade, as it was announced back in 2019 that that vampire hunter also known as Eric Brooks is being rebooted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That said, Ali still feels like he needs to earn this role from Snipes.

The actor shared this while speaking with Reelblend cohost Jake Hamilton on Jake’s Takes about his Apple TV+ movie Swan Song. When asked by Hamilton what he looks forward to exploring in the Blade character and how it’ll differ from Wesley Snipes’ “interpretation,” Mahershala Ali responded:

What I look forward to is earning it. There’s an anticipation for it, there’s an excitement for it that he owns, that Mr. Snipes owns. So in filling his shoes, I’m just working to earn my place in this. I’m just excited to get going and do the work.

The first Blade movie came out in 1998, two years before X-Men and four years before Spider-Man. Granted, unlike Marvel’s mutants and Web-Slinger, Blade wasn’t widely known as a comic book character back then, but the movie nevertheless played an integral in turning the superhero genre into a Hollywood mainstay. So naturally there will be people curious about how Mahershala Ali’s version compares to Wesley Snipes’, but from the former’s perspective, he just wants the opportunity to honor what the latter has done with the role, whilst simultaneously bringing something new to a character who hasn’t been on the big screen in nearly 20 years. It’s understandable why Ali is itching to tackle this role, especially taking into account he was the one who pitched a Blade reboot to Marvel Studios.

Warning: SPOILERS for Eternals are ahead!

There still hasn’t been a timetable set on when we’ll get our first look at Mahershala Ali’s Blade, but we recently heard him in the MCU. Eternals’ post-credits scene saw Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman reach for the Ebony Blade that’s been in his family for centuries, but before he gripped the sword’s handle, Eric Brooks asked off screen if Dane’s truly ready for that. It’s unclear at this point if Harington will reprise Dane (known in Marvel Comics lore as The Black Knight) in the Blade reboot, but now some groundwork’s been laid for Blade’s full MCU introduction down the line.

Marvel’s Blade reboot will be directed by Mogul Mowgli’s Bassam Tariq and written by Watchmen’s Stacy Osei-Kuffour. Along with Mahershala Ali playing the title role, it was reported earlier this month that Delroy Lindo has been added to the cast, though his character hasn’t been identified yet. Filming is expected to begin in summer 2022, but there’s no word yet on the project’s release date.

While we wait for more news about Blade, you can watch Mahershala Ali in Swan Song when it premieres December 17 on Apple TV+. Our upcoming Marvel movies guide is also available for those of you curious about what else the MCU has lined up for theatrical presentation.

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.