For years fans wondered if or when actor Wesley Snipes would reclaim the role of hit comic book action horror franchise, Blade. On Saturday night, the conversation changed drastically at SDCC with the announcement of actor Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Alita Battle Angel) set to star.
Visually upgraded from its 1973 comic book likeness by author Marv Wolfman and illustrator Gene Colan, the Blade franchise took off in 1998 under director Stephen Norrington with Snipes starring in the title role, a modern day dhampir (a semi-human with vampire genes) waging a vengeful age-old one-man war against vampires.
Snipes produced all three films with Guillermo del Toro sitting in for the 2002 sequel, Blade 2, while franchise screenwriter David S. Goyer sat in for the third, Blade: Trinity (2004), which suffered more critically and controversially despite the trilogy’s overall commercial success.
Following the character’s short stint in a live-action TV and seperate animated series, former editor-in-chief at Marvel, Joe Quesada announced Blade‘s return of rights to the company back in 2011, which ultimately put Marvel in the position to reimagine the character in a way they see fit.
The years have all but added to the wait period before any confirmation as to whether or not the original star would take the mantle once more, even in the wake of all statements to the matter since then. Ali’s Blade casting marks another notch on the actor’s belt following a voice over role in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and as the villain in Netflix/Marvel series, Luke Cage.