Marvel had a day of big news for us at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend. Arguably the most talked about was the casting of Mahershala Ali as Eric Brooks, aka Blade. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has now confirmed that Blade will be released during the MCU's Phase 5.
As announced at San Diego Comic-Con, Phase 4 of the MCU is expected to last only two years (2020-21) with five movies: Black Widow (May 1st, 2020), The Eternals (November 6th, 2020), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021), Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 7th, 2021), and Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5th, 2021).
As well as five shows on the upcoming streaming service Disney+: Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020), WandaVision (Spring 2021), Loki (Spring 2021), What If...? (Summer 2021), and Hawkeye (Fall 2021). With the reported horror elements of the upcoming Doctor Strange and the diverse cast of superheroes, Marvel is leaning-in to their push to make each film unique, and with the early announcement of the supernatural-action character Blade, it seems they intend to keep leaning.
During their star-studded presentation, Feige announced Mahershala Ali as the new Blade to a raucous crowd and an even more thrilled internet. Ali is most known for his roles in critically acclaimed dramas such as Moonlight, Green Book, and TV's True Detective, but is no stranger to the comic book world. Ali lended his voice to Uncle Aaron in the recent smash-hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and played villain Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes in Netflix's Luke Cage. Unfortunately, his casting in the MCU is also a reminder of how disconnected the Netflix series are from the big screen adaptations.
The Oscar winning actor's stoic intensity and theatricality make him one of the most sought-after actors today-Just what Blade needs. In 1998, New Line Cinema released a leather-filled trilogy of films starring Wesley Snipes as the title character. The three movies followed Snipes as a half-vampire, half-human who slays evil vampires to protect the mortal race. The franchise produced two fandom favorites: Blade directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer, Blade 2 directed by the visionary Guillermo del Toro, and the least favorite of the bunch, David S. Goyer's Blade: Trinity. Because the first Blade was entering a world that wasn't quite as welcoming to caped-crusaders as today, hitting theaters even before the popular Sam Raimi Spiderman films, the action flicks are often lost in the zeitgeist. Now, with the massive explosion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have been waiting for word on the Daywalker franchise. Marvel Studios regained the rights to the property and have finally found a place to put him.
Ali's Blade continues Marvel's ultimate goal of telling great, diverse stories that will shape the box office landscape. There has been no word yet on an exact date for release or who will be directing and writing the project. Check back with us as the updates come in. This news comes directly from Kevin Feige's interview with Collider.