'Blade' will likely go down as one of Wesley Snipes' most recognisable roles, but now the proverbial torch has been passed to two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali.
The shock announcement came last Friday night at San Diego Comic-Con, where Ali was brought out on stage by Marvel Studios' chief Kevin Feige, confirming that a 'Blade' movie is now in the works, albeit in the very early stages of development. For Wesley Snipes, however, he's more than OK with Ali taking on the role.
In a statement to EW, Snipes said that although the news came as a surprise to him, it's "ALL GOOD" - that's him capitalising there, not us. Snipes went on, congratulating Ali and describing him as "a beautiful and talented artist whose expressions I look forward to experiencing for many years to come. Inshallah, we will someday work together."
Snipes finished out his statement by thanking the fans of the original trilogy, saying that "the incredible outpouring of love is overwhelming. I am grateful for the never-ending support. So, 'nah fret nah worry, it's not de end of de story'. Welcome to the Daywalker Klique."
For a guy who made a career out of beating twelve shades of s**t out of people on screen, that's a pretty gracious response. Snipes had been campaigning to have the character of Blade added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time, but given how all three 'Blade' movies were more adult and violent, it seemed pretty unlikely. Whether or not Mahershala Ali's iteration of the character will be the same remains to be seen.
'Blade' was originally created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan in the '70s, first appearing in the horror-themed comic 'The Tomb of Dracula'. After the movies with Wesley Snipes, the rights eventually reverted to Marvel Studios in 2012 and have been dormant ever since. As Feige confirmed over the weekend, it was Mahershala Ali who contacted them about the possibility of resurrecting (heh) the character with him playing it.
No release date has been confirmed as of yet for 'Blade'.