10 Reasons’ The MCU’s Blade Reboot Is So Hard To Get Right

Blade-Wesley-Snipes-Mahershala-Ali

Development of the upcoming Blade reboot has been anything but easy for the MCU, begging the question as to why Blade in particular has been such a hard story for the studio to get right. Originally slated to release in 2023, Blade has had a tumultuous development cycle filled with delays, and has changed hands between different writers and directors several times already. As of May 2024, Marvel has opted for yet another major re-write of Blade (via Maxblizz.com), searching for the fifth writer to help shape the film’s narrative direction.

At surface level, creating a narrative revolving around the vampire-slaying swordsman should be a relatively cut-and-dry process, with none of the previous Wesley Snipes’ Blade trilogy being very complicated stories. The bigger issues are likely to arise in the application of Blade into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, with each new character having drastic implications on the world at large. Blade‘s issues have likely been far more nuanced than a simple lack of ideas, outside factors creeping in to mess with the penning of a solid script.

10. Blade Has To Introduce Vampires To The MCU

And just like that, the series has a lot of explaining to do

Blade getting ready to kill vampires in a club

Perhaps the biggest hurdle in integrating Blade into the MCU will be the sudden introduction of vampires, which have apparently been hiding in the shadows the entire time. The MCU is no stranger to retroactively adding supernatural elements, combining aliens, mythical figures, secret organizations, and now mutants all under the same umbrella. Vampire society very well could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Marvel, yet another source of danger and power to be shockingly unspoken of this far into the series.

The secrecy of vampires would be easier to buy in the MCU if it wasn’t for the fact that so many other superpowered aspects of the universe have been an open secret. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law haphazardly introduces a vampire character, making it all the harder to believe that vampires are able to hide in the MCU at all. This is something that the script for Blade may be struggling to explain away, with integration into the MCU at large possibly being their biggest hurdle.

9. Crafting A Good Adversary For Blade May Not Be Easy

Blade doesn’t have the most famous villain roster

Wesley Snipes as Blade fights against Stephen Dorff as Deacon Frost in Blade.

The main issue with writing a vampire hunter is that all of their nemeses can essentially boil down to the same thing — Vampires. Still, Blade does have a variety of villains for the film to choose from, even if they do clearly share a common theme. The real difficulty will be in making Blade‘s antagonist interesting, something which even some of Marvel’s strongest films have historically struggled with.

Currently, the villain of Blade is speculated to be Mia Goth’s Lilith, although hard confirmation of the actress’ role has been elusive. It’s possible that deciding on a villain has been one of the biggest factors causing the MCU to flip-flop on Blade‘s script, unsure of which supernatural threat will resonate with audiences best. Other options range from Deacon Frost, the initial antagonist heading the vampires’ efforts in the original Blade, or even Dracula himself, a public-domain character who has faced off against the Daywalker before in the Marvel Comics.

8. Writers Have To Answer To Mahershala Ali As Well As Marvel

Ali could be a creative bottleneck in Blade’s development

blade mahershala ali Cropped

Unlike most MCU productions, the genesis of Blade revolved around its star actor. At a time when Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had no plans for a Blade film, he was approached by Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, who wished to represent the character. With Ali being the one to kickstart the development of a new Blade film in the first place, it seems as though he’s maintained some level of creative oversight on the project.

At least one instance of Blade‘s many creative overhauls seems to have come at the insistence of Ali himself, who allegedly threatened to walk if creative differences were not resolved (via Variety). While it’s great that Blade‘s star is so involved in the project, giving writers one more set of hoops to jump through for final approval in addition to producers at Marvel could be hindering the film’s development process. Giving Ali the final say on any story changes could even be doing more harm than good.

7. The Limited Budget May Be Hamstringing The Script

Blade will be made for cheaper than most Marvel fare

MCU-Blade-Vampires

Marvel is no secret to massive budgets, with even the most thrifty MCU productions coming in at around 130 million dollars to make. Blade seems to be pushing Marvel’s ability to work with less, hoisting a budget of less than 100 million (via Variety). This decision was likely made in response to Marvel’s box office losses in 2023, the studio hoping to cut back on big gambles with high-stakes releases.

It’s likely that this limited budget has been similarly limiting the scope of ambitions among Blade‘s writers. Fewer special effects, big-name actors, and even less raw runtime all have to be kept in mind when writing a superhero movie on a smaller budget. Luckily, most of Blade’s stories lend themselves to this, typically concerning human-looking characters running around real-world locations, but going under the 100 million dollar mark is a significant change to the MCU’s usual M.O.

6. Blade May Also Be Looking To Introduce The Midnight Sons

If there’s one thing the MCU can’t resist, it’s a good team

The Midnight Sons team in Marvel Comics

Blade is not usually thought of as an Avengers member, making him an unlikely candidate for any future team-up movies. One superpowered team he is historically a part of is the Midnight Sons, a task force of Marvel Comics’ most supernatural heroes that band together to face similarly magical or demonic threats. In addition to Blade, its members include Doctor Strange, Elsa Bloodstone, Doctor Voodoo, Moon Knight, and Ghost Rider.

It may be difficult for the MCU to resist such a ripe opportunity for a new, popular team, especially in the wake of The Marvels’ lukewarm reception. That goes double for characters like Doctor Strange and Moon Knight who have already been introduced and developed, with Marvel clearly having no issues inserting the former in other character’s stories like in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Deliberating on if and how the Midnight Sons show up could be one of the biggest factors keeping Blade‘s script going back to the drawing board.

5. The Plot Will Have To Explain What Blade Was Doing During The Infinity War

Where was Blade during the world-threatening crisis

Spider-Man, Iron Man, Drax the Destroyer, Star-Lord and Mantis on Titan in Avengers Infinity War

While it’s true that Blade mostly deals exclusively with vampires, he isn’t above stepping in to help out the other heroes with threats that concern everybody from time to time. However, Blade’s noticeable absence from the universe-altering events of the Infinity Saga will need to be given an explanation in Blade, especially for a hero supposedly savvy to the goings-on of the supernatural world. Eternals faced a similar problem, having to explain away what the Eternals were doing during Avengers: Infinity War.

The truth is, there’s no satisfying explanation for the absence of a powerful hero during the cataclysmic battles of the Infinity Saga. Whether it’s mutants or vampires, any powered beings the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces from here on out will need to have a good reason for not participating. Deciding how fresh into his career as a vampire hunter Blade is over this question may have hurt the development of the film.

4. Phases 4 And 5 May Have Shaken Marvel’s Faith In Their Own Writing

More may be riding on Blade than the MCU initially planned for

Split image of Monica Rambeau in space suit and Captain Marvel looking sad in the MCU

Ever since the end of Phase 3, the MCU’s once sure-fire success has come under question. While Phase 4 had some critical and commercial misses, the alarming box office loss from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels in 2023 made it clear that the MCU is far from the media giant it once was. It could very well be that the MCU is scrambling to apply the lessons learned from those films to the script of Blade.

As one of the earliest films to herald in Phase 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Blade will have to impress audiences. Depending on how the rest of Phase 5 is received, it could very well be that Marvel Studios has more riding on the fun vampire side story than they expected. Frequent changes to the story could be a reflection of this anxiety, the studio needing to be more selective with what stories make it to the box office after the failures of 2023.

3. Blade Is A More Serious Character Than Most MCU Protagonists

The MCU’s trademark comedy might not be a good fit

Mahershala Ali in sunglasses with Blade in Marvel Comics

Wesley Snipes Blade trilogy was fundamentally a little bit silly, containing brilliant lines like “Some mother****** are always trying to ice skate uphill.” That being said, there was always a certain earnestness to the semi-unintentional comedy that sits a far cry from the MCU’s snarky sarcastic humor. Sure enough, Blade is a pretty serious character in the comics, spending more time brooding than cracking jokes, and deserves to be treated as such in his newest adaptation.

The MCU’s script for Blade could be struggling with this discrepancy. While Marvel has put more serious characters to screen, they often become more goofy and light-hearted over time, such as with the increased comedy of the later Thor movies. Blade doesn’t lend himself to the quirky quips of most Marvel characters, and the film’s development may be struggling to find his voice in a way that stays true to the source material without feeling altogether out of place in the MCU.

2. Blade’s Delays Put Into Question Mahershala Ali’s Longevity

Blade might not work as a long-term commitment

Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth in Marvel Television's Luke Cage

Although Mahershala Ali was the one to pitch Marvel Studios with the idea of a Blade movie, the delays haven’t been kind to his prospects for returning. Ali will be around 51 years old by the time Blade premieres, if there are no further delays. Comparatively, Wesley Snipes was 36 years old in the original Blade, being a capable action star into his early 40s with his experience as a black belt martial artist in real life.

In a world in which newly-introduced MCU heroes might go six years or more in between appearances, as is the case with Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi, Ali’s prospects as a returning character might not be certain. This might be being taken into consideration in the rocky development of Blade, Marvel going back and forth on whether they should close Eric Brooks’ chapter in the MCU in the same movie it began in. With each year the film is delayed, the chances of Ali aging out of the role before he can return are more and more likely.

1. Blade’s Ties To The Eternals May Be Muddying The Waters

The script may be held back by previous promises

Dane Whitman in front of the Black Knight's Ebony Blade

Though his titular film is yet to release, Blade has technically already made his feature debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the post-credits sequence for Eternals, a voice can be heard speaking to Kit Harrington’s Dane Whitman, later confirmed to be none other than Mahershala Ali himself playing Blade. The scene sets up the appearance of the Ebony Blade, a powerful magic sword and integral weapon to Blade’s comic mythos.

Writers for Blade may be struggling with how to run with the small setup provided by Eternals. The film was poorly received, and it’s likely that many prospective audiences interested in going to see Blade might not have seen it. In this sense, Blade‘s writers are in a lose-lose scenario, possibly angering fans if they outright ignore the tease but alienating others by making the post-credits scene of one of the MCU’s least popular films required viewing beforehand.

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