Does Marvel's Blade Reboot Need to Be Rated R?

Sooner or later, the Daywalker will be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Announced at San Diego Comic-Con all the way back in 2019 — yes, it's already been a year and a half — Mahershala Ali will eventually join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Eric Brooks, the vampire-hunting vigilante known as the Blade. The character has appeared in live-action, played by Wesley Snipes in a film trilogy, and then by Sticky Fingaz in a spin-off series on Spike TV. While the trilogy earned a R rating all three times — rightfully so in each instance — the series was much more tame.

Now that the character's rights are back at Marvel, the question has got to be asked — does the upcoming Blade reboot need to be rated R to find success?

Admittedly, it's increasingly likely the feature will receive the adult rating, especially after Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige himself confirmed Deadpool 3 was going to receive an R rating while still being set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the question wasn't if Blade will be R-rated, but rather if it needs to be.

With the exception of Snipes' Blade franchise, the character has been relatively tame throughout his comic history. In fact, sometimes the character has erred on the side of campy rather than a blood-soaked monster — you know, much like Deadpool. As you read this, he's even a member of the main Avengers roster.

By now, we know Feige and his team at Marvel Studios are very interested in paying tribute to the comic roots of these characters. We've seen time and time again the studio making choices based on storytelling opportunities versus marketability. In the end, it's paid off every time — through nearly 13 years, the franchise has grossed nearly $25 billion for Disney.

And we know with the introduction of the likes of Captain Marvel and Black Widow, the studio is no longer keeping films and projects in a linear timeline. The Scarlett Johansson-starring feature is set before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, technically some six years or so before the current timeline within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Because of that, it's possible Marvel Studios opts to set the first Blade feature during the 1960s or 1970s, when Blade wore his green jacket glasses, compared to his all-black leather suit popularized by the Snipes trilogy. Again, taking the character back to his roots.

The fact of the matter is, if Marvel Comics can tell PG-13 Blade stories for nearly five decades, the Marvel Studios franchise doesn't need to be R-rated, even though it might be.

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Blade has yet to set a release date.

Do you think Blade absolutely needs to be R-rated? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter!