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What Mahershala Ali Could Look Like As Blade

Against an army of immortals, one warrior must draw first blood. That warrior? Mahershala Ali, who is on board to star as Eric Brooks (better known as Blade) in Marvel Studios' Blade reboot. An Academy Award-winning actor who has taken turns in everything from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Hunger Games film series to Predators and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to Alita: Battle Angel and so much more, Ali takes the Blade mantle from original actor Wesley Snipes, who brought to life the vampire-hunting Blade for an entire trilogy of Marvel Comics-based movies that began in 1998. 

Many had been hoping for a Blade reboot and had placed Ali at the tippy-top of their lists of stars they'd like to see replace Snipes in the famous role. Now that Marvel made the news official, confirming during San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Ali's casting and explaining that he was actually the one who pitched the project and his involvement in it, artists and Photoshop experts have created edits and illustrations imagining what Ali could look like as Blade. Here's a glimpse at some of the best.

Mahershala Ali's Blade brandishes a big weapon in edit by @mizuriofficial

Using a poster of Mahershala Ali as the devious entrepreneur Vector in Alita: Battle Angel, artist @mizuriofficial whipped up a super-cool edit of what the actor might look like as Blade. He rocks black sunglasses and an all-black suit, wielding a massive bladed weapon to slice and dice the vampires that come his way. The caption of the photo reads, "Wanted to make a cool edit after hearing that the incredible @mahershalaali has been cast for Marvel Phase 4's Blade!! Super pumped after all the announcements, so I've been doing a bunch of related artworks. Hope you like this one, where I mashed Mahershala from Alita with Blade!" 

Blade bares his teeth in art by @bosslogic

Also inspired by Mahershala Ali's performance as Vector in Alita: Battle Angel, popular digital artist and Photoshop master Bosslogic (@bosslogic on Instagram) created an edit of what the Oscar-winner could look like as Blade. We can't tell what's more impressive: Bosslogic's work, which sees Ali's Blade with fangs and tattoos and his signature weapon strapped to his back, or that he created the edit all the way back in February of 2019 — five months before Ali was announced as the new Blade.

Mahershala Ali as Blade with fangs and full costume in art by @goldiearver

Despite being freaked out by vampires as a child, artist and Olive Arin: The Night Phantom author Goldie Arver has grown to love the Blade franchise — and has been "waiting for a reboot to Blade since the trilogy ended." When Marvel announced that a reboot was happening with Mahershala Ali taking the lead as Eric Brooks, Arver got to work illustrating some seriously stunning concept art and shared the results on her Instagram. 

Her illustrations depict Ali's Blade in a full costume and with fangs, with a close-up shot of him looking head-on at the camera with red sunglasses and a serious expression on his face. Arver also shared a standalone version of the front-facing illustration.

Ali's Blade looks broody in edit by @montajesasgaya

In digital artist Montajes Asgaya's rendition of what Mahershala Ali's Blade could look like up on the big screen, the character wears his hair in a hi-top fade style that shows off his head and neck tattoos, and holds his weapon of choice gracefully in his hand. Against a deep red background, Blade looks determined, time-hardened, and totally badass — with "the power of an immortal, the soul of a human, and the heart of a hero."

Blade is bloody in illustrations by @ozone719

Omar Rios imagines that when Mahershala Ali takes the blade to become the new Eric Brooks, he'll get more than just his hands dirty. To his Instagram page @ozone719, Rios shared a full-color and a black-and-white version of an illustration that shows Ali's Blade with multiple weapons and a bulletproof vest that's covered in blood. He sports Blade's signature hairstyle and tattoos along the side of his head, which is also splattered with blood.

Ali's Daywalker Blade smiles at the skies in art by @mastahgram

Another person who predicted Marvel Studios would cast Mahershala Ali as the famous Daywalker was artist and illustrator Masood Tahir. Uploading his striking original artwork on Instagram under the handle @mastahgram, Tahir shared an eye-catching black-and-red-soaked illustration of what Ali could look like when he makes his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Blade in the forthcoming reboot. With his head tilted to the skies, his fanged smile spreading across his face, Ali's Blade looks all kinds of foreboding. And that dramatic collar around his neck? The Marvel icon has style and supreme vampire-hunting skills to boot. Now that's what we call a double threat. 

"@MahershalaAli as Blade...made this illustration months ago, but super excited to hear @MarvelStudios went with this casting decision! It's perfect! If there ever was a spiritual successor to Wesley Snipes it'd have to be Mahershala!" Tahir wrote in the caption, noting that he created the artwork using the raster graphics editor app Procreate on his iPad Pro. "Huge congratulations to the new Daywalker!"

Blade stares someone down in art by @ultraraw26

Famous for making incredible edits of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Yadvender Singh Rana took a crack at imagining what Mahershala Ali could look like in the Blade reboot. He shared to his Instagram account @ultraraw26 a gorgeous piece of art that shows Ali's Blade with an intense look on his face, staring someone down from behind red-lensed glasses as he reaches for the weapon on his back. The light in front of Blade is bright red, while the background (which features a faint image of Ali as Blade) is lit up in blue. It makes for an altogether awesome-looking image. 

Ali's Blade is laser-proof in art by @cvialet_art

A student at the French design institute L'école de Design Nantes Atlantique, artist Camille Vialet imagined that Mahershala Ali's iteration of Blade will hold nothing back and take no damage. To her Instagram account, @cvialet_art, Vialet shared her vision of the actor in the role: kneeling on the ground, wearing a smug smirk on his face as enemies aim the lasers of their weapons directly at his chest, shoulder, and leg. Shards of glass fly around Blade, suggesting that though the marksmen shot through the window in front of Blade, they are never going to be able to get a single bullet in his body. 

Unfortunately, it appears that Vialet's digital edit has since been removed from her Instagram feed.

Mahershala Ali's Blade in his own poster by @ollyog

Empire Design senior designer and art director Olly Gibbs (@ollyog on Twitter) took an oh-so-sleek approach with his artwork depicting what Mahershala Ali might look like as Blade in the upcoming reboot movie. Against a true red background, Ali's Blade looks at someone (or something) to his right while resting his gun against his shoulder and neck. The official Marvel logo for the Blade reboot slices through the character's body, matching perfectly with the punchy shade behind him. Gibbs also added a "2022" to the bottom of the poster, which is wishful thinking considering Marvel has yet to stamp the Blade reboot with an official release date. 

Blade escaping his enemies by @jackson_caspersz

Jackson Caspersz, who goes by @jackson_caspersz on Instagram, created a beautiful illustration of Mahershala Ali as Blade, seen holding his famous weapon behind his back while a number of enemies lurk in the background.

"I can't wait to see @mahershalaali play Blade in phase 4. I spent most of today creating this concept but it feels more like playing rather than working when you get to draw stuff you love so I ain't mad," Caspersz captioned the photo. "I was going to leave sparks out of this pic as i have it in a lot of my other concepts but he does kill vampires and they turn to ash...and embers soooo....... Hope you guys like this one."

Blade with red eyes by @apexform

Like many others, artist @apexform was most impressed by Marvel's announcement of a Blade reboot starring Mahershala Ali than they were anything else that came out of the studio's San Diego Comic-Con 2019 panel. So much so that they created an ultra-cool edit in which Ali's version of Blade has red eyes, two blades on his back, and loads of tattoos.

"Of all the projects @marvelstudios announced at @comic_con this past weekend. By far the one I'm most excited for is BLADE," they captioned the photo, adding two flame emojis to show just how hotly anticipated the Blade reboot is going to be. "I've always thought the best person to take up the mantle and put on the fangs after the great Wesley Snipes was @mahershalaali and the fact that we got him is AMAZING!! So I had to make a character poster in honor of his casting."