Marvel Studios' Blade reboot, a secret project announced by president Kevin Feige Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con, got a jumpstart with a phone call from its eventual star: two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali.
"When Marhershala calls, you answer," Feige told THR of a conversation with Ali that happened after the star won his second Oscar for Green Book.
A meeting was arranged and Ali "came right out and said that he wanted to do Blade," THR reports. Months later, Ali stepped out onto the Hall H stage and put on a "Blade" hat, revealing he would be replacing original trilogy star Wesley Snipes in a Marvel Cinematic Universe-set reboot.
In 2017, Feige said the studio would resurrect Blade "someday," telling Playlist at the time the character might have appeared on television — on Disney-owned ABC — or as part of the since cancelled Netflix corner of the MCU, former home to the more adult-oriented Daredevil and Punisher.
"We still think he's a great character. He's a really fun character," Feige said.
"We think this movie going into a different side of the universe would have the potential to have him pop up, but between the movies, the Netflix shows, the ABC shows there are so many opportunities for the character to pop up as you're now seeing with Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That rather than team up with another studio on that character, let's do something on our own. What that is? Where that will be? We'll see. There is nothing imminent to my knowledge."
Later, in 2018, when asked about horror-tinged characters like Blade and Man-Thing, Feige told ComicBook.com he was interested in exploring horror in the MCU.
"I like both of those characters that you named, and I think, again, horror can mean a lot of things," Feige told us.
"Horror, did you mean a movie like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Hostel or a Friday the 13th or a Poltergeist? Poltergeist is a little bit more my wheelhouse, that's such a great movie and it scared the heck out of me, but it's really fun. I don't know, I certainly would like to play with as many genres as possible."
Ali previously played Cornell 'Cottonmouth' Stokes in Netflix's Luke Cage, a series set in the MCU but otherwise unacknowledged by the film side of the franchise. Marvel Studios has not yet revealed a date for Blade.