Twenty years ago, Blade arrived in cinemas ushering in the modern era of Marvel movies. Two years before X-Men (2000) opened and four years ahead of Spider-Man (2002), Blade was the first real hit for Marvel having previously produced sub par or to put it more simply, ‘really shit’, movies based around their characters.
Wesley Snipes took on the role of the half-human/half-vampire, Blade – a part he would reprise for two sequels: The bombastic Blade II (2002) and the misjudged Blade: Trinity (2004). That last film was 14 years ago, which is a long time to go without any additional films in the Blade series; so what gives?
Well, stepping away from the movies for a moment, there was the short-lived Blade TV series, which ran for 13 episodes in 2006. The series – which saw Snipes replaced by rapper-cum-actor, Kirk ‘Sticky Fingaz’ Jones – was not a success and faded as quickly as it arrived.
For the next few years, Blade remained with New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. until such time as the rights to the character expired. No new movie or TV series meant the property eventually reverted back to Marvel.
In fact, Marvel has had Blade back in its portfolio for a number of years now, but has so far chosen not to do anything with the vampire hunter. The last time the character was mentioned by Marvel Studios’ big cheese, Kevin Feige, was during a discussion with Playlist back in October 2016.
At the time, Feige, said:
“…between the movies, the Netflix shows, the ABC shows there are so many opportunities for the character to pop up as you’re now seeing with Ghost Rider on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ that rather than team up with another studio on that character let’s do something on our own. What that is? Where that will be? We’ll see. There is nothing imminent to my knowledge.”
To be fair to Marvel Studios, with so many characters currently in rotation, from Iron Man to Cloak and Dagger, there’s simply not enough time or money to get every character into a movie or TV show. As such, Blade appears to be benched for now – but isn’t it time he made a comeback?
In the last 14 years we’ve had six Spider-Man movies (and counting), including two reboots! I appreciate Spidey is a flagship character and most of his movies were all Sony controlled (five of them had nothing to do with Marvel Studios), but surely there’s room for a little Blade action?
I suppose the real question here is, where would Blade fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The MCU is yet to go full-on horror and a vampire hunter isn’t likely to sit comfortably alongside the Avengers, so what would be the best way to incorporate the character into the wider universe?
As Feige stated in late 2016, the studio want to keep the character for themselves rather than work with other studios, so that rules out a Netflix show. Plus, let’s be honest, Netflix already has a lot of Marvel shows right now.
So let’s presume Blade is being held back for a movie – would this mean that Marvel will have to set up a more adult-orientated brand, in addition to its family-friendly offering, to accommodate him? If so, would this be the start of a new line of adult Marvel movies.
Heck, as 1998’s Blade signalled the start of the modern Marvel movie age, could a Blade reboot/revival kick-start a new era for Marvel horror?
It’s all a moot point at present as nothing is happening. But it should. It really, really should.
I miss Blade and would really like to see him back. In today’s age of constant rehashes and reboots, it seems amiss that a character that proved very popular during the late ’90s/early ’00s has been sitting on the sidelines this long.