No matter how well-received the forthcoming Blade movie turns out to be, it’ll always have a debt to the original version of the movie, and Wesley Snipes legendary portrayal of the character.
Snipes played Blade before the superhero boom of the 2000s, and he’s widely credited with helping kickstart the current golden age of superhero movies. The Blade trilogy includes Blade, Blade II, and Blade: Trinity.
A few years ago, Marvel announced that Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali would play the character and Bassam Tariq would direct. Tariq recently spoke about how he was aware of Snipes’ legacy to the role and how he wanted to honor that.
“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.”
Ali said he was excited to play the role of the daywalking vampire hunter.
“I love that [Blade is] darker. That’s all in terms of tone. He’s a little bit darker than some of the other ones and so that element was attractive to me.”
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Ali also said that Snipes’ portrayal was legendary and inspiring, and he was excited to follow in his fellow actors footsteps.
“[My desire to play Blade was] married with being so inspired by Wesley Snipes’ work and what he had done. And how much had changed since his iteration of Blade, and how that had really sort of ushered in this era of Marvel and DC, sort of like comic book stuff. Since they were having conversations about bringing it back into being, I just wanted to be considered for it because I had definitely a connection, at least in my mind, to Wesley Snipes going back to high school. People use to joke and say that we looked alike and all this stuff. I just brought it up as someone who really wanted to take on that [Blade] role and tackle that.”
The new Blade film is rumored to be releasing October 7th, 2022.