It’s About Time!: Blade Finally Gets “Accepted” by Marvel Studios

The 2019 San Diego Comic-Con brought an announcement for Marvel movie fans. Besides all the new stories and movies...

The 2019 San Diego Comic-Con brought an announcement for Marvel movie fans. Besides all the new stories and movies that were coming out, it was revealed that would be a new Blade movie that would be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and will star Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali. I was pretty excited about hearing about it also followed the buzz on Twitter. However, I was also frustrated on why it took so long to include him. Marvel’s successful movie franchise came from the existence that all of the characters’ actions in movies interact with each other. Blade was a character that never existed in the MCU and should have been in the MCU from the start since the first Blade movie brought success and attention to the Marvel company.

The first Blade movie in 1998 provided an opening for Marvel movies…but the truth when looking back at it, it wasn’t a “Marvel” movie compared to the movies in the MCU. The first reason was that Blade WASN’T a character that was created by Stan Lee. Blade was a character that was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan. the vampire hunter came to comics in the early 70s when Blade made his first appearance in Tomb of Dracula in issue number 10.

Blade WASN”T a mainstream character in comics. He was written as a supporting character in the comics and used to provide an antagonistic perspective to the mainstream characters. He was written to be the “jive-talkin brother” who didn’t follow others. His look was a reflection of the men in 70’s Blackploitation films such as Jim Brown and Jim Kelly . Between his appearance and the movie, he appeared in different books but NEVER had a book series of his own.

Blade also WASN”T the first attempt to have a Marvel character in motion pictures. Marvel was struggling to get their characters on the major motion picture screen. In the early to mid 90s, they had poor success. They started with a Fantastic Four film that never even got to the theaters because of the poor quality of the action characters and cinematography. There are bootleg copies of the film and you can see the weak film on YouTube. Another film was Captain America in which the title character was played by J.D. Salinger’s son. This had a major production and was almost set to go out in theaters but was pulled at the last minute there are DVDs of the movie that still exist.

There was one thing that Blade WAS: the first success for Marvel Studios and Marvel Comics. The first Blade movie in 1998 provided an opening for Marvel movies which wasn’t made by just Marvel alone. Wesley Snipes’ film production company, Amen-Ra helped Marvel Studios bring Blade to the screen and its sequels. Wesley Snipes brought the character of Blade to life that set a standard of how action movies for superheroes should be. We also must keep in mind that Wesley Snipes is a martial artist which contributed to a lot of the high-level action that was in the first movie. The look of Blade in the movie impacted the comic books as well as the comic character was drawn more distinctive as the movie character instead of the original character in the comic book.

Why wasn’t Wesley Snipes reconsidered for the movie for Marvel? There will be a lot of speculation. One would say because of his age now (he’s in his mid-fifties) . Another would be the character needs a fresh look for a new generation (Over 20 years since the film has been made it is actually considered to be old news in Hollywood). Another possibility is that the Blade films were produced with Wesley Snipes’ film company, and that could also bring up a business and contract impasse to bring Snipes back to Blade into the Marvel universe.

I’m looking forward to seeing a new Blade movie. I will look forward to Ali playing the Daywalker. However, I will be looking closely how well a secondary character named Blade in the Marvel comics will fit in as a  main character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Only time will tell…

Written by Thaddeus Armstead
T.J. Armstead has worked as a teacher and college professor. He has a large collection of Black media and has spoken at different colleges on African American images in the media. He enjoys traveling to different cities to experience different cultures such as New Orleans, Chicago and strangely enough, Cleveland. He currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio where he works on his next project or reading his large collection of African-American books. Profile

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