Wesley Snipes Reflects On Why He Made The First Blade Movie
Wesley Snipes reflects on the legacy of 1998’s Blade and reveals why he took on the role in what he thought would be a movie for a niche audience.
Wesley Snipes reflects on the making of Blade and why he took the role of the daywalker. Blade is set to join the MCU, as Kevin Feige announced back at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, with two-time Academy Award winner Mahershia Ali playing the title character who made his introduction with a voice cameo at the end credits of Eternals. Yet before Ali, the man most associated with the role of Blade and who made the character a household name was Snipes, the star of films like White Men Can’t Jump and Demolition Man.
After failing to get a Black Panther movie off the ground, Snipes took the lead role in Blade. Based on the Marvel character created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan, the film drastically reworked Blade’s comic book origins and redefined the character. The film was released in 1998, after the release of box office disasters like Batman and Robin, Steel and Spawn, which almost killed the comic book genre. Blade was a box office hit, grossing $131.2 million worldwide, and helped usher in a new era of Marvel superhero films like X-Men, Spider-Man, and eventually the birth of the MCU.
In an interview with Comicbookmovie.com to promote his new comic book, The Exiled, which he co-created with writer Adam Lawson, Snipes briefly talked about the making of Blade and what motivated him to accept the role in the film. Snipes thought the film would be a niche movie, made for audiences who were fans of martial arts movies and blaxploitation films like Shaft but was surprised at how much more of a mainstream hit the film eventually became. When reflecting on Blade’s legacy, Snipes said:
“It’s amazing. In the beginning, my motivation for doing the first Blade project was to have fun and to do something I knew my homeboys and homegirls would absolutely love. The ones from the martial arts world. The ones from the Shaft world, and the ones who love Kung-fu and all that [Laughs]. We knew that would be attractive to that niche audience, but I had no idea it would have broader appeal. However, it was a good lesson. It taught us what was possible.”
The franchise spawned two sequels, 2002’s Blade 2 by director Guillermo Del Toro and 2004’s Blade Trinity, which saw the film series long-time writer David S. Goyer in the director’s chair, resulting in a feud between Snipes and Goyer on set. Snipes’s depiction of Blade drastically impacted the character, whereas later comics would skew more towards bringing the film version. The movie made Blade a Marvel icon in a way he wasn’t before, and by 2006 the character was the star of a live-action television series and a playable hero in the highly successful video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
Despite the Blade film and television franchise being put on hold for over a decade partly due to Wesley Snipes’s three-year prison sentence for tax evasion, the character remained a fan favorite. Blade has recently been made a member of the Avengers during Jason Aaron’s run in the comics and has been an important figure in the Marvel Universe. The character’s introduction into the MCU is just as anticipated as The Fantastic Four or the X-Men and feels appropriate as there likely would not be an MCU film without that first Blade movie. The daywalker finally gets to enter the franchise he helped build.
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- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
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