Wesley Snipes made the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s favorite vampire slayer an iconic comic character in three “Blade” films between 1998 and 2004. Next up to assume the position is two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali in an upcoming Marvel Studios film directed by “Mogul Mowgli” filmmaker Bassam Tariq. Naturally, during press duties for his new Netflix miniseries “True Story,” Snipes has fielded questions about the future of “Blade,” and in an interview with Yahoo! Movies (via JoBlo.com), Snipes revealed the advice he gave to Ali once the latter was cast.
“We spoke. We shared that the issue of him being cast wasn’t between us, you know, that business. I’m cool with it. I don’t walk around as Blade, so I’m not attached to the character like that, you know? I feel no emotional loss. Zero. And I’m happy that he’s been cast, and more than likely he’ll do a great job,” Snipes said.
He told Ali to “make sure you’re in shape, man. Make sure you’re in shape. Try not to get hurt. That’s big. The demands of action movies, you gotta be an elite athlete and be well-conditioned to survive it and to avoid injury. And enjoy it while it lasts.”
Ali was instrumental in tapping “PEN15” Emmy nominee Stacy Osei-Kuffour for the “Blade” script, making her the MCU’s first-ever Black female screenwriter. Tariq and Osei-Kuffour have a big box in which to play: With its lack of canon, “Blade” is a more mutable IP.
“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,” Tariq told IndieWire in a recent interview. “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.”