In Blade of the MCU, Mahershala Ali brings a brand new take on the famous vampire fighter first brought to life by Wesley Snipes in 1998.
By changing Blade’s actor from Wesley Snipes to Mahershala Ali in Marvel’s upcoming Sheet, the character will likely have completely different strengths and weaknesses. Blade has long enjoyed a cult following among comic book fans, thanks in large part to his 1998 portrayal Sheet by Wesley Snipes. After hosting a trilogy of films, the character finally returns, this time to the MCU and played by actor Mahershala Ali in 2023 Sheet. Wesley Snipes’ Blade was a strong fighter, with constant hand-to-hand fight scenes inspired by Snipes’ history with martial arts and as an action movie hero. Mahershala Ali does not come from the same background, but is an excellent actor in his own right, which could lead to a less physical, but more interesting take on the character.
Mahershala Ali is known to comic book readers for his work as Cottonmouth in Luke Cage season 1, and as the voice of Aaron Davis from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Both characters are complex and emotionally driven, and Ali delivers very believable performances. While Ali is drawn to complexity, Wesley Snipes’ characters from the 1980s and 1990s were much more direct. He was a daring action hero who mastered fight scenes fueled by his multiple black belts and years of experience in various martial arts. The MCU’s Blade may not be able to compete with these intense action sequences. While audiences probably won’t see Dracula being lulled into the MCU, Ali’s strength in developing characters’ emotional sides could bring the character to life in a refreshing way.
In Marvel comics, Blade is a half-vampire (known as a Dhampir) who hunts other vampires and nocturnal creatures. Empowered with enhanced strength, agility, senses and an enhanced healing factor, he is also a master of weapons ranging from firearms to swords, and a master of martial arts. Wesley Snipes’ Blade put a lot of emphasis on these character traits, with the film becoming known for its over-the-top fight scenes. Mahershala Ali doesn’t have the same intense martial arts background as Wesley Snipes, meaning Marvel’s unlikely Sheet film will have the same level of physical intensity as its 1998 predecessor. But that of 2023 Sheet instead, has the chance to showcase the character’s complex relationship to his vampirism and how Blade must use his enemies’ abilities to survive.
How The MCU’s Blade Could Be Different From Wesley Snipes
When the MCUs Sheet coming out next year, Marvel has a chance to create a highly engaging and emotional story that capitalizes on Ali’s strengths as an actor. Ali’s Blade could take advantage of the character’s more supernatural and mystical abilities, portraying a side of the character that hasn’t been shown all that often until now. Blade’s sword and guns will certainly make an appearance, but hand-to-hand combat may not be the driving focus of the film, at least not in the same way as Snipes’ version of the vampire Blade. Even on a technical level, Ali won’t be able to incorporate years of martial arts experience into his performances like Snipes, but audiences will get to see the Daywalker from a different angle on the big screen.
Ali’s Blade will likely be a less physical and more introspective take on the vampire fighter. Wesley Snipes set a great standard for comic book hero movies in 1998 and is largely due to the eventual dominance of superhero movies. However, a modern audience is equally drawn to complex characters who try their best in difficult situations as they are to pure fun and adrenaline-filled scenes. Each take on the character has its own strengths, and Sheet is sure to attract audiences of both classic and modern superhero movies.