Mahershala Ali to star as vampire hunter Blade in franchise reboot

Mahershala Ali, center, wears a hat to promote his new movie
Mahershala Ali, center, wears a hat to promote his new movie "Blade" at the Marvel Studios panel on day three of Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 20, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Mahershala Ali will play vampire hunter Blade in a reboot of the franchise.

The two-time Oscar-winner was unveiled in the role during Marvel Studios’ Comic-Con panel on Saturday, which saw the entertainment giant roll out the fourth phase of its cinematic universe.

Ali received a standing ovation as he took to the stage and sent fans into a frenzy when when announcing his new role by pulling on a Blade cap.

Speaking after the announcement, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told PA: “He’s a huge fan of these films and a huge fan of that character and it just made perfect sense.

“It’s an honour that he agreed to play Blade for us.”

Blade, whose first appearance was in the 1973 comic book The Tomb of Dracula, is a half-human, half-vampire.

Wesley Snipes played the character in three films, starting with 1998’s Blade and finishing with 2004’s Blade Trinity.

The trilogy is seen as an early example of the current trend of comic book superhero films.

Ali, 45, has won two best supporting actor Oscars, the first for Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and then again earlier this year for road movie Green Book.

The Blade announcement came during a raucous Marvel Studios panel inside Hall H of the San Diego Convention Centre, which saw Feige flesh out the company’s upcoming slate of releases.

Sequels to Thor and Doctor Strange were announced while clips from Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson, were shown to fans.


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