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How Mahershala Ali Really Felt About Recording His First Line As The MCU's Blade

At the moment, Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali is busy working on a press tour for his upcoming Apple TV+ film "Swan Song." A trailer for the film was released in November and a streaming release date is set for December 17. With a handful of critics' reviews available for reading on Rotten Tomatoes, reception for the film appears mostly positive, with only a few detractors so far. At the time of this writing, the film has a 71% score on the film review aggregator website. 

All that being said, "Swan Song" probably isn't the Mahershala Ali film that comic book fans are talking about right now. In fact, the film at the intersection of Mahershala Ali and comic books doesn't even have a release date yet. Of course, we're talking about "Blade," a movie first announced in July 2019 at San Diego Comic-Con (via Variety). In the two-plus years since the project was first announced with Ali in the title role, we've heard little about it, outside of the recent casting of Delroy Lindo

However, moviegoers who stuck around for the post-credits scene of "Eternals" got quite a shock when an unseen figure asks Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington), "Sure you're ready for that, Mr. Whitman?" In an interview with Fandom, "Eternals" director Chloe Zhao confirmed that the voice belonged to Ali's Blade. So, how did Ali feel about making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut?

Ali says he lost sleep over it

During a visit to "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Mahershala Ali was asked about his vocal cameo in the post-credits scene of "Eternals" and it's clear that, despite the brevity of the moment, the pressure to get the character right was real.

"You lose a lot of sleep over it," Ali said. "Like, I was losing a lot of sleep over this line, because ideally, you want to be talking once you are filming." 

Ali went on to say that he finds that he often struggles on the first day of portraying any new character and this particular job was a different kind of process for him. 

"100% of the time, my first day on any set, on any job, I hate it," Ali told Colbert. "I hate how I sound. I don't believe myself. You're trying to get comfortable in the character, so to have to talk before you're even actually filming was challenging." 

Despite the unique set of challenges that come with his new MCU role, Ali wanted to make sure to note that he is happy to finally be moving forward with the project. Ali said, "I'm grateful for it, because it made it feel real, it's like 'OK, now we're going.'" 

Once we get an official release date for "Blade," Ali might have to reach out to "Doctor Strange" actor Benedict Cumberbatch for advice on how to best avoid giving away spoilers.