Mahershala Ali admits Wesley Snipes was his introduction to ‘Blade’

The character may have made his comic book debut in 1973, but it would be another quarter of a century before Blade punctured pop culture at large, and it was all thanks to Wesley Snipes’ ass-kicking first outing as the Daywalker.

Stephen Norrington’s R-rated vampiric superhero story set the stage for the resurgence of the genre as a whole, which was taken to the next level when Bryan Singer’s X-Men was released two years later, and it often gets overlooked when it comes to discussing the most important blockbusters of the modern era.

Shortly after Mahershala Ali’s reboot was announced at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con, it was revealed that he’d approached Kevin Feige about the project, and not the other way around. However, speaking to the Variety Awards Circuit podcast, the two-time Academy Award winner admitted he wasn’t familiar with Blade until Snipes’ film.

“Well, only what I discovered, like everyone else in the late ’90s with Wesley Snipes, you know. And … I don’t think I even noticed how, at least at that time, how I was just accustomed to there not being black superheroes.”

Pre-production on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Blade is coming along nicely, with Delroy Lindo the first addition to the supporting cast, and production is scheduled to begin next summer ahead of a 2023 release. Snipes’ shadow will be looming over the proceedings, but Ali is more than talented enough to put his own stamp on the material.