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Marvel's New Blade Director Explains Why Wesley Snipes' Original Version Is So Important

It’s no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an absolute behemoth in the entertainment industry. And as OG stars like Robert Downey Jr. depart from their role, a number of new heroes are being introduced. That includes the upcoming inclusion of Blade, played by Mahershala Ali. And the new Blade director recently explained why Wesley Snipes’ original version remains so important.

Wesley Snipes starred as the vampiric title character in a trilogy of Blade movies through the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This tenure is especially impressive as it was before Marvel movies became so popular. Director Bassam Tariq spoke to the legacy of Snipes’ movies, as he put it:

What’s exciting about the film that we’re making is [there] hasn’t been a canon for Blade, as we’re reading through the comics and everything. Him being a daywalker is the one thing that’s been established, and you know we can’t deny what Wesley Snipes did, which was he basically got this whole ball rolling. A Black man created the superhero world that we’re in, that’s just the truth. For me to now be working with somebody as talented and a juggernaut as Mahershala Ali, and the writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, I’m just so — I’m so honored to be working with real Black juggernauts and Black talent. For me to just be with them in this room and listen and learn as I build this out, it’s really an honor.

Well, there you have it. While Wesley Snipes has been open about his continued connection with the character Blade, it doesn’t look like he’s involved in the MCU’s take on the character. Still, Bassam Tariq understands how the movie is only possible through the strides of Snipes during his original trilogy.

Bassam Tariq’s comments to IndieWire show how passionately the filmmaker feels about his upcoming MCU, and the role Blade has had in popular culture as a whole. Marvel fans have been holding out hope to see the vampire hero join the MCU, and now that time is nearly upon us. And Tariq wants to make sure that he’s honoring Black talent both in front and behind the camera. That includes the groundbreaking work previously done by Wesley Snipes.

Wesley Snipes in Blade

(Image credit: New Line Cinema/Marvel)

Exactly what Bassam Tariq, Mahershala Ali, and company are planning for the upcoming Blade movie is unclear, but it’s thrilling to learn that he’ll be occupying the same cinematic universe as the Avengers and Guardians. There's no telling how he might interact with those heroes, especially since Blade is typically a bit more violent than the PG-13 MCU adventures we’ve seen on the big screen.

Phase Four is already introducing some very high concepts, including a liberal use of the multiverse. And while magic is being used more and more, vampires are a new concept for Bassam Tariq to introduce. We’ll just have to wait and see how bloody this property ends up being. I doubt there’s going to be a blood rave ala Wesley Snipes’ Blade.

The MCU’s Blade doesn’t currently have a release date but it’s expected to arrive within Phase Four. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.