Blade The Vampire Slayer star Mahershala Ali says the Marvel role is unlike anything he's encountered before. The beloved actor sat down with Stephen Colbert to speak about his upcoming turn as the comic book hero. He said, "It feels different, there's clearly an added layer of pressure, which I will embrace." For those unaware, MCU fans have already gotten a taste of Blade in Eternals. But, that won't be enough to satiate a rabid fanbase. Ali recognizes all that passion with his comments here. Clearly, Marvel Studios is the biggest game in town. Blade was wildly popular and that original trilogy remains a fan favorite to this day. The character is also one that people still associate with Wesley Snipes in their heads. So, that's a lot to battle against and leave your mark. But, Ali has a bit of a secret weapon. That effortless cool that he exudes at almost all times is just radiating off him as he admits these truths. The star is completely undeterred by all of that pressure. The mission remains the same.
"It is weird, because the anticipation is so great," Ali began. "My excitement for any role is pretty equal, honestly, because I feel the responsibility is always the same. But, I've never walked into a role where the anticipation was so great. Where people were already so familiar with the character and have real opinions and points of view and all of that."
Eternals producer Nate Moore talked to Comicbook.com's Phase Zero podcast about the plans for Blade. They had a long discussion over at Marvel about how to approach the after-credits surprise.
"[Blade] was [part of the scene] for reasons hopefully that would become apparent as you see more things, but [Mahershal Ali] wasn't there on the day," Moore said. "And we talked about two versions of that, one where we would cut to him and one where we wouldn't. 'How textual do you want it to be?' And again, it was more just for the fun of it, to tease it a little bit, to hear the voice and not see the man. He was game to do it. Because the Ebony Blade, the characteristics of the Ebony Blade are not dissimilar to some degree to vampirism and we think that's an interesting kind of thing to play with. So, we kind of knew that was on the table."
Some people wondered if the surprise would have hit harder if Ali was on-screen for the cameo. But, Moore says that the testing indicated that it was a bit of a toss-up.
He continued, "It was a choice and I'm not sure, I think if you polled people, we'd probably get 50% who said, 'Man, we would love to see Blade standing in the corner of that room,' and 50% who thought it'd be cool just to hear the voice. And it was something we talked about, but again for us, it's just like, 'Ooh, what will give you more goosebumps?' is our goal."
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