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Marvel's Blade Reboot - What We Know So Far

One of the biggest surprises of San Diego Comic-Con 2019 was the announcement of a reboot of the Marvel movie that pretty much started it all: Blade. Based on a little-known Marvel comics character, Blade (real name Eric Brooks) is a half-human, half-vampire "daywalker" committed to taking down the evil forces that lurk in the night — and while he never made a huge impression in the comics, the Wesley Snipes-starring movie became an unexpected smash hit, raking in over $130 million dollars at the worldwide box office in a time when superhero movies were still largely considered to be frivolous kid stuff.

Not so the bloody, R-rated Blade, which proved that there were ways other than falling back on winking camp to make comic book films. Although 2000's X-Men and 2002's Spider-Man are often considered to be the first modern superhero movies, Blade predated them both — and despite the fact that it spawned two sequels, it still doesn't quite seem to get the respect it deserves in regards to its role in setting the stage for the superhero cinema boom which has come to overwhelm popular culture over the last couple decades.

This will likely change with the character's arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a development as freaking awesome as it was wholly unexpected. How will this new version of Blade stack up to the original, and how will he fit into the ever-more sprawling MCU? Here's everything we know so far about the Blade reboot.

What is the Blade reboot's release date?

At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel Studios announced its full slate of Phase 4 theatrical releases: Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Release dates for all of these flicks have already been slotted in, and all will hit screens in 2020 and 2021 — but not so Blade, which has been confirmed to be part of the slate for the MCU's Phase 5.

Apparently, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige simply couldn't resist blowing the crowd's face off with the Blade announcement, as nobody — absolutely no one, from hardcore fans to savvy industry observers — saw it coming. But unfortunately, since the flick is in the absolute earliest stages of production, we can only hazard a guess as to when it might hit the big screen.

This will certainly be no sooner than 2022, but will likely be no later than 2023, as Marvel's Phases now seem to be running in two-year cycles. Blade joins Black Panther 2 as the only projects so far announced for Phase 5; T'Challa's second solo outing is slated for release on May 6, 2022.

Who is in the Blade reboot's cast?

Even though production on the Blade reboot isn't likely to get off the ground for a year or more, the flick has already found its lead actor — or, to be slightly more accurate, the other way around. According to Feige, the project may never have happened at all if Mahershali Ali (True Detective) had not approached the studio about taking on the role — an idea about which Feige presumably shouted "Heck yes!" with zero hesitation.

Ali is a phenomenal actor, and he's not exactly new to Marvel; he appeared as the villainous Cottonmouth in the first season of the Netflix series Luke Cage, although that was a production of Marvel Television, not Marvel Studios. He also looks the part, he's in great shape, and he certainly has the right attitude to portray the famously cocksure daywalker; it's not just any actor who can walk into Marvel Studios suggesting themselves for a role in a film that nobody had previously considered making, and actually make it happen.

But then, Ali is not just any actor — he's among the very best working at the moment. When asked about the genesis of the project by The Hollywood Reporter after Marvel's SDCC presentation, Feige made a remark that Ali has likely printed out, framed, and hung on his wall by now: "When Mahershala calls," he said, "you answer."

What's the plot of the Blade reboot?

Again, when it comes to the plot of Blade, all anyone can do at this point is engage in wanton speculation — and you can be sure, there has been plenty of that across the internet in the wake of the SDCC announcement. The 1998 film featured the character's origin story via flashbacks, and Marvel Studios is famously disinclined to rehash what anyone else has done onscreen before — so it's a safe bet that whatever narrative angle the Blade reboot takes, the character's origin likely won't be explored too deeply, if at all.

Blade may even be introduced in an earlier film, much like Spider-Man was in Captain America: Civil War, before getting his own solo vehicle. If so, a likely candidate would be Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which — with its presumed foray into crazy alternate worldlines — could introduce the character fully formed, porting him over from a different universe. (For that matter, the two characters have crossed paths in the comics early and often, and were even briefly united on a team known as theMidnight Sons.)

One recent rumor, though, has suggested one tack the solo picture might take: a story involving the old werewolf vs. vampire battle. Inside sources have reported that Marvel is interested in introducing the character of Jack Russell, AKA Werewolf by Night, to the MCU — and the Blade reboot would be the perfect vehicle in which to do so.

When does the Blade reboot take place?

This may come as a shock, but for now, parsing out the Blade reboot's period setting is pure guesswork. There's no reason to think that it would take place before the events of Avengers: Endgame (as does the MCU's first Phase 4 film, Black Widow), although it could be that portions of the film will be set in an earlier time period. In fact, this is all but certain if the character's origins are revisited; in the comics (and the 1998 movie), Blade's mother is gorged on and killed by a vampire while baby Eric is still in the womb, which is apparently how you end up with a daywalker.

It might even be interesting to show us portions of the character's childhood years, as he learns to straddle the line between the human and vampire world, ultimately becoming the scourge of bloodsuckers everywhere. If the alternate dimension angle is not employed, this could be an effective way to weave the character's backstory into the history of the MCU — but, again, this is all nothing but unadulterated speculation at this point. 

Is there a trailer for the Blade reboot yet?

Unfortunately, with the commencement of production far down the road and nobody yet cast other than Ali, it's bound to be a long, long time — at least a year, maybe two or more — before we get any kind of trailer for the Blade reboot. Marvel Studios has its hands completely full with its slate of upcoming theatrical releases, not to mention the impending torrent of MCU-set series which will be rolled out on streamer Disney+, which will be handled by Marvel's movie arm as opposed to Marvel Television. Trying to pin down even a rough time frame for a Blade trailer would be as futile as, say, trying to ice skate uphill. 

All we can say for sure is that the wait will be long, but for fans who have been pining for the introduction of the daywalker to the MCU forever, waiting for another couple years or so for a first glimpse at the reboot should be a breeze. Of course, in between now and then, we'll be on the lookout for any casting, plot, or production details that might come down the pike, and there are sure to plenty. As always, you can count on us to keep you informed.