Last July, Marvel Studios not only announced they were moving forward with a new Blade movie but revealed that two-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali would be portraying Eric Brooks and took to the stage at San Diego Comic-Con.
It’s almost a year later and we still don’t have an idea of when filming will begin, despite fan speculation of release in October 2021, Marvel has yet to announce a director or a screenwriter while other projects such as Guardians of The Galaxy 3, Ant-Man 3, and Deadpool 3 seemingly further along in development making more sense for that October spot. An in-house draft goes back to 2013 but it was unknown if that version was a continuation with Wesley Snipes in the role or meant as a complete reboot. We also have no idea if they’ve completely scrapped that version as many early in-house drafts don’t even up being the versions made.
Ali’s casting of Blade was mostly on the part of the actor as it was his idea to take the role during his meeting with studio executives including Kevin Feige. Meaning that Marvel hadn’t been working on Blade and simply brought Mahershala in to see if he would be up to play the character as the process normally goes with casting their leading superheroes. It sounds like they started with the casting and will go from there.
I believe that this new reboot should be set in an Asian location (Hong Kong, Japan or South Korea) as it would give this new incarnation an excuse to explore vampire lore from Asia alongside playing up the Asian elements seen in the original films but that was never played-out in sequels.
Some of the previous links to Asia in the Blade franchise includes the vampire club Kenji that uses the song Chin Chin from Japanese pop group Bang Wa Cherry. This helped to establish the Vampire Nation was a global enterprise and operating in various countries including the East.
The role of Blade villain Deacon Frost was almost taken by Hong Kong action star Jet Li, who had yet to make a splash in Hollywood but instead opted to play a villain in Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon 4 for Warner Bros. that opened in the same year.
Donnie Yen played the role of silent Bloodpack member Snowman in Guillermo del Toro’s sequel Blade II.
Asian-American cult film actor Gerald Okamura plays one of the elder vampire council members at the House of Erebus.
Blade’s sword is a modified/modernized katana (potentially a nod to samurai films) and swordplay is an important part of the character’s fighting abilities alongside martial arts. The first two films were obviously influenced by Hong Kong cinema as it mirrored stylized use of guns in action sequences along with wirework in action sequences also seen a year later in The Matrix.
We’ve already various Asian countries explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with South Korea featured in Black Panther and Avengers: Age of Ultron along with some brief scenes with Clint Barton’s Ronin killing Yakuza members in Tokyo, Japan and the final act of Doctor Strange takes place at the Hong Kong Sanctum.
The Blade franchise has its own vampire lore but it might be interesting to see them incorporate Asian vampire lore in the mix and homaging non-western vampire films.
There is also crossover potential with Simu Li’s Shang-Chi as both characters are martial arts superheroes and given Blade’s global vampire hunting activities could see him cross paths with various MCU heroes when tackling the Vampire Nation that has embedded themselves within criminal organizations and politics in multiple countries, the Mandarin and the Ten Rings being connected to the Vampire Nation wouldn’t be a huge stretch.
Blade director Stephen Norrington at one time considered following-up with a Shang-Chi movie that never materialized.