One of the more exciting moves in recent MCU greenlights has been the announcement at 2019's San Diego Comic-Con that Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali would be taking over as the daywalker/vampire hunter Blade. The role, originated on-screen by Wesley Snipes, would bring the comic character back to the big screen for the first time since 2004's Blade: Trinity and see Ali move from Marvel's small screen efforts (after playing the villainous Cottonmouth on Luke Cage) to a starring role in its films. But it seems it wasn't always going to go down like that, as Marvel had previously planned for another Blade TV series a la the 2006 Spike version.
Speaking on The Tight Rope podcast, Ali explained that he used Luke Cage as an opportunity to check in with Marvel on Blade.
“So, in doing [Luke Cage], the day it premiered I turned to my agent and I said, ‘What are they doing with Blade?’ Because I kept hearing that they were trying to find a way to remake it and put it back together, and it was exciting for me to get to be in that Marvel space in TV, but for me, my goal had always been film.”
It was interesting, then, to consider Marvel's initial answer about Blade: "There was this long process of them speaking about, at least in the television division, really wanting to make it a TV show again." Ali explained that there was still some hold-up because they were "trying to acquire the rights still" and "it took a couple of years," but the actor attributes his "participation in Luke Cage that sparked the idea."
So Ali threw his hat into the ring, which was partially inspired by his connection to Snipes' and his work, ultimately getting the role — on the big screen no less. A lot can change in a few years (like a total reshuffle of Marvel's TV efforts in a world that was newly introducing Disney+), but Ali's rising star was matched with a new Phase starting at Marvel and the cinematic serendipity is a boon for Blade fans.
Blade will enter the MCU during its delayed Phase 4.