During last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that two-time Oscar winner and Luke Cage star Mahershala Ali is returning to the Marvel universe as he takes on the role of Eric Brooks, a.k.a. Blade, with a solo movie introducing the Daywalker to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
During an interview with The Tight Rope (via CBM), Ali has revealed that he actually began lobbying for the role of Blade during his time on Luke Cage, which saw him portraying the villain Cottonmouth.
“I did this Marvel show for Netflix called Luke Cage, right?,” said Ali. “And so in doing that show, the day it premiered I had turned to my agent and I had said, what are they doing with Blade? Because I kept hearing that they were trying to find a way to remake it and put it back together, and it was exciting for me to get to be in that Marvel space in TV, but for me my goal had always been film.
“So I turned to my agent and I said you know, what’re they doing with Blade? And he goes ‘I’ll check on it’, and so there was this long process of them speaking about, at least in the television division, really wanted to make it a TV show again, but not necessarily, trying to acquire the rights still, and some thing’s kinda going on, so it took a couple of years,” he continued.
The actor also went on to reveal how he’d been inspired by Wesley Snipes’ portrayal as Blade in the previous movie trilogy from New Line Cinema: “I definitely had a connection, at least in my mind, to Wesley Snipes going way back to high school when people used to joke and say we looked alike, and all this stuff. It was really my participation in Luke Cage that sparked the idea, married with being so inspired by Wesley Snipes’ work… I love that it’s 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.”
As yet, we know nothing about Marvel’s plans for Blade, save for the fact that it has been confirmed as a feature film rather than a Disney+ TV series, and that – pre-COVID – it was originally slated to arrive during Phase Five of the MCU alongside Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.