As we all know now, at the Marvel Studios panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Mahershala Ali was announced as the new Blade in an upcoming film from Marvel Studios. Blade is officially joining the MCU! This news was met with almost universal praise, but there is still a small segment of comic book fandom that is disappointed that Wesley Snipes will not be reprising the role of the Daywalker. While I’d love to see Snipes don the black leather jacket and wield his signature sword one more time, I believe it is time for a change and a new generation to take on the mantle. The MCU is moving into its next phase, and our heroes are in flux more than they have ever been. This is the perfect time to introduce a new Blade to audiences.
Mahershala Ali is one of the top actors working in Hollywood today. Ali’s critically acclaimed work includes Academy Award-winning performances in “Moonlight” and “Green Book”. Ali is also nominated for an Emmy for his performance in Season 3 of “True Detective”. Mahershala Ali has been able to build his resume and create a buzz as a talented actor without having the box office success of other actors such as Will Smith and Denzel Washington. Ali has tried his hand at blockbuster movies with “Alita: Battle Angel” earlier this year. That movie was not the success he hoped, and Blade will be next attempt to attain blockbuster success. I like his chances.
Let’s be real, most of us that frequent this site know Mahershala Ali from one role: Cornell Stokes aka Cottonmouth from Season 1 of “Luke Cage”. Ali absolutely stole the show as Cottonmouth and demanded your attention in every single scene he was in. Ali shined as the ruthless yet tortured gangster who never wanted that life for himself. Ali portrayed Cottonmouth as a man who crumbled under the pressure of family expectations. I believe that Ali can channel the ruthlessness he displayed as Cottonmouth into his portrayal as Blade.
Perhaps the most important sign that we should accept Mahershala Ali as the new Blade comes from the OG Blade himself, Wesley Snipes. Wesley Snipes has given his blessing to Mahershala Ali and has passed the mantle on. I know some people will miss seeing Snipes as the Daywalker, but what I think is being overlooked, is that this now frees Snipes up to be recast as a new character in the MCU. Snipes could reinvent himself for a new audience and introduce diverse, underutilized characters that haven’t been seen in the MCU yet. The potential is there for Wesley Snipes to bring life into lesser-known characters like Blue Marvel and Brother Voodoo. The torch has been passed, and the future for Blade looks bright.