SALT LAKE CITY — It’s official. The Marvel character Blade is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he’s already been cast.
Mahershala Ali will be the next Blade, which Marvel announced on Saturday after rolling through its next slate of films for next phase of the MCU.
At the end of the presentation, it was announced Ali will take on the role of Blade, which was made popular in the ‘90s by a portrayal from Wesley Snipes.
Who is Blade?: On the surface, Blade is a half-human and half-vampire who hunts down the undead. That’s the basic way to describe him. He’s well-known for wearing sunglasses during the day since, you know, he’s a vampire. Blade has spent his life hunting down the undead creatures, which have ruled the Earth from behind the scenes and terrorized mankind, since one killed his mother. He often fights with either a pair of daggers or a sword.
Origin story: Blade has Deacon Frost to thank for his abilities — though there is no reason why he would want to thank him. As Frost’s Marvel bio explains, Frost, a vampire himself, feasted on Blade’s mother during childbirth, which allowed enzymes to pass into Eric’s bloodstream and make him what’s called a Dhampir, which is a human tainted with vampire power but not a full vampire. Blade’s mother died that night. And since that moment, Blade swore vengeance against Deacon and his race.
Allies: Blade isn’t the most popular superhero, but he has an interesting story that connects with other big heroes. For example, his biggest allies are Captain Britain, Doctor Strange, Luke Cage and Spider-Man.
Enemies: Every superhero has an enemy, and Blade’s enemies will take a second for you to wrap your head around. Dracula is one of his main villains — yes, Dracula exists in the Marvel comics. But the other is Deacon Frost, who is the vampire that helped create Blade. He bit Blade’s mother while she was giving birth to Eric.
Biggest highlights: Blade has long existed in an odd corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You don’t find him on the cover of the big crossover events with Captain America, Wolverine or other heroes. We’ve captured three highlights from Blade’s comic book story that could play a role in the new film.
- Blade teamed up with the X-Men, who were fighting Dracula’s son who wanted to unite all the vampire groups across the world. He didn’t get along with Wolverine well. But he later was accepted by the group and eventually received a teaching job at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning to teach about vampires.
- Blade became an unofficial member of the Mighty Avengers. Spectrum (Monica Rambeau) brought him into the group. He was disguised as Ronin (Hawkeye’s other persona) so he could hide from his enemies.
- Blade spent a lot of time working with SHIELD, a government entity known in the comics and MCU for working with superheroes. At the time, SHIELD had its own division looking to build vampire soldiers. Things didn’t work out, though, and Blade said he would never work with SHIELD again. He eventually agreed to help them with other tasks as long as he received their resources.