Mahershala Ali has been announced as the new Blade, the half-vampire killer previously played by Wesley Snipes in three films for New Line Cinema.
When New Line opted not to produce more Blade films itself, the rights to the character returned to Marvel Studios, making it possible for him to join characters like Doctor Strange (a natural companion character).
The news is somewhat unexpected because Ali has been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before: as the villainous Cornell Stokes, a.k.a. Cottonmouth, on Netflix’s “Luke Cage,” one of the best portrayals of a Marvel character ever put onscreen. Ostensibly the Marvel Netflix series were part of the MCU, with references, however oblique and throwaway, being made to events in “The Avengers” and other big-screen titles.
The original Blade films began with “Blade” in 1998, followed by the Guillermo del Toro-directed “Blade II” in 2002, and finally “Blade: Trinity” in 2004 (three guesses which one was the most acclaimed). Since Blade is half-human and half-vampire, he is a Daywalker, the rare vampire who can stand the sunlight.