At the ongoing San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel made a few announcements – some expected, others surprising. One of the bombshells was Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali playing the lead role in a Blade reboot.
Interestingly, the original Blade, released in 1998, was the first successful Marvel comic-book movie. It starred Wesley Snipes in the lead role. The film, helmed by Stephen Norrington, spawned two sequels, the first directed by Guillermo del Toro and the second by David S Goyer.
In comics, the character is not super-popular, but MCU has made basically unknowns like the Guardians of the Galaxy mainstream, so that should not be a problem. Add to that, it is Mahershala Ali, who is not only playing the character, but also pitched it to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
So who is Blade?
Blade, an African-American, was created by Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan and appeared first in The Tomb of Dracula #10 in 1973. When Eric Brook’s mother was pregnant with him, she was attacked by a vampire called Deacon Frost. The mother was thought to have died, but she herself became a vampire.
Brooks becomes a vampire hunter in the vein of Van Helsing when he grows up, and sought revenge against Frost. The character has more been a horror hero than a pure superhero, in that he does not shoot lasers from his hands and does not have fancy gadgets.
He is a Daywalker (a vampire who can stand in the sun and not get scorched) and also possesses other special abilities like immunity from vampires and the usual superhuman abilities like incredible strength, stamina, speed, agility and others. He is also trained in all sorts of martial arts. Finally, he is well-versed in the knowledge of vampires and other supernatural lore.