It doesn’t take very much for the genre press to latch onto a “rumor” involving comic book movie casting, but a curious report Thursday seems to be getting the mostly hands-off treatment, and probably for good reason.
In what appears to be an old school tabloid gossip column on NYDailyNews.com called “Confidenti@l,” the News reports that “sources close” to actor Wesley Snipes say it’s “looking good” that he’ll close a $3m (“plus a cut of the profits”) deal to reprise his role as Marvel’s vampiric ‘daywalker’ in a Blade sequel.
The rumor, buried in the middle of the column and not headlined, has been picked up by a few outlets, including MSN, with little qualification. And qualification is likely wise, because there appear to be significant issues with the story. First and foremost of course, is that Marvel Studios reportedly now owns the film rights to Blade, not New Line who made the first three films.
In May 2013, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly about getting the rights to Ghost Rider, Blade, and Daredevil back, “Whenever a character comes back to us, it’s usually because the other studios don’t want to make the movies anymore – and that usually means the [previous] movies may not have been particularly well-received. They all have potential, but we’re not going to say ‘We got it back – make it.’”
Of course, just a few months later, they did announce that Daredevil was being produced for a TV series in conjunction with Netflix (Luke Cage, who was also a recent reacquisition, will get a series later, too). Marvel Studios also has a well-known writing program in place, where they allow young writers in to offer possible takes on characters they’re looking into producing. Also in May 2013, THR reported that the writing program “has scripts for Blade and Ms. Marvel features. Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Black Panther and The Runaways are other projects on the horizon.” Doctor Strange has since been confirmed as in production. Iron Fist became another of the Netflix TV series. Captain (née Ms.) Marvel and Black Panther, meanwhile, are the two other most talked about properties, whether it’s from press, fans, and even members of Marvel Studios.
So while Marvel appears to have a clear path to do a Blade sequel if they so choose, both the idea of a Snipes-headlined sequel and the Daily News gossip item are both conspicuously out of character for Marvel Studios.
As Guardians of the Galaxy demonstrated, the current big-name star of Marvel Studios stable is in fact the Marvel Studios brand itself, and it would seem like an odd move to not only put a franchise in the hands of an 80s-90s movie star largely out of the spotlight for the last decade, but also continue a continuity established at another studio before the advent of their own cinematic universe.
In and of itself, Blade wouldn’t seem to be on the top of anyone’s shortlist for a development slate already crowded with sequels of mega-successful franchises. And even if it were, a younger, rebooted version of the character would seem the more likely option. Blade might in fact be more of an ideal candidate to appear on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or one of the Netflix Defenders series (Blade and Luke Cage have recently been teaming up in the pages of Mighty Avengers comic books, after all).
Marvel Studios is also notoriously secretive and protective of this sort of information, and to have a member of an actors camp not only leak development plans to a gossip column before they were finalized, but to also blatantly release financial terms, seems on the surface like the act of someone without much direct dealing with Marvel Studios, or the misinterpretation of an over-zealous gossip columnist.
So while Wesley Snipes is reportedly “open to” a return to the role, and thinks they “got some stones left unturned, and there’s some latitude left for [them] to build on,” as he told MTV last month at the San Diego Comic-Con, right now, Marvel movie fans should likely take this report with an Infinity Stone of salt.?
Newsarama was unable to reach anyone at Disney to comment on the report due to the Labor Day weekend.