Spoilers ahead for Avengers #10.
In this week’s Marvel Comics Avengers #10 … or is that #700? (Hey wait, what happened to the whole “Legacy” thing?), Blade shows up after a few years of sporadic appearances, offered membership in the Avengers by the Wasp.
His seemingly upcoming role in Marvel’s now-flagship franchise (he briefly appeared as Ronin in Mighty Avengers) follows a few years of strange goings-on for the ‘daywalking’ vampire hunter. In 2015 the publisher announced with some fanfare plans to introduce Blade’s daughter in her own series as the MU’s new resident vampire exterminator, with her father serving as mentor. But plans for the title apparently got exposed to sunlight and vaporized into dust sometime after the initial high-profile announcement.
Perhaps she’s still in Marvel’s plans down the road, but for now the original Blade seems in line for a high profile return and residence in Avengers Mountain.
… yeah, that’s a thing now.
The entire Avengers #10 return got us thinking about the current parallels between the comic book Marvel U and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly how Wakanda and the Black Panther have become something of the center of gravity for both. We’ll get into that in more detail another day. but since we’re always on the lookout for the little clues Marvel’s publishing and animation departments seed in regard to future developments in the Marvell Cinematic Universe, that last Blade teaser segment got our brains a-churnin’.
To us, Blade always seemed like something of a no-brainer for a Netflix series, perhaps as the flagship property in a whole supernatural corner of the MCU, complimenting the Defenders ‘street-level’ niche.
Like Daredevil, Blade is a recovered Marvel property with big-screen pedigree, but in this case, an arguably more successful film pedigree than the Man Without Fear.
We’ve come to think of 2000’s X-Men as the first major Marvel movie, 2002’s Spider-Man as the first Marvel blockbuster, 2008’s Iron Man as the first MCU film and this year’s Black Panther as the first black superhero to headline a film in a shared universe. But Blade was really the first major Marvel theatrical film (c’mon don’t make us count Howard the Duck), starring a black lead two decades before Black Panther.
Starting in 1998, Blade was New Line Studios’ little three-film franchise that could, featuring Wesley Snipes’ no-nonsense half-vamp-himself, topping out with Blade II’s $155 million worldwide box office haul in 2002.
The films weren’t critically that well-regarded, but better thought of in fan circles, and one film even featured Ryan Reynolds as a wise-cracking comic book character.
The franchise was a true trailblazer...
The films enjoy something of a nostalgic quality among fans, a dynamic not lost on Snipes, who has occasionally hinted at discussions with Disney or Marvel about reviving the character. There have even been rumors of the daughter character being introduced on screen somewhere, with Snipes serving as her mentor.
But with Marvel Studios giving the full backing of its MCU powers to Disney’s upcoming streaming service Dinsey+ and the long-term future of a Marvel-Netflix relationship now in doubt, a supernatural-Netlfix sub-universe seems increasingly unlikely.
So we’re here to call for a full-fledged Blade theatrical revival, as a card-carrying member of Marvel Studios' MCU.
As we previously discussed, Marvel Studios is in something of an at best unprecedented and at worst odd place right now. Maybe it’s intentional due to Avengers 4's presumed secrets or maybe it’s due to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 blowing up real good. But for whatever reason for the first time ever fans and the press don’t even know what the next film to go into production will be. After July 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which just wrapped production, the MCU will take a long nine months off before something opens in the first weekend of May 2020.
Given the secretive nature of Avengers 4, the practical issues the universe faces with the promised and assumed retirements of key players like Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Robert Downey Jr. and the conclusion of the entire Thanos-Infinity Stones narrative through line, there are legitimate questions about how the second MCU decade is going to go. Will fatigue set in?
Newsarama hopes Kevin Feige and co. have plans for a big helping of NEW and surprising, starting as soon as Avengers 4. Don’t get us wrong, we’re still looking forward to sequels, and a kickass Black Widow international espionage adventure is as welcome as it is overdue.
The Eternals..? Well, we have open minds, but we’re hoping new corners of the more Earthbound MCU also get explored.
That said, a little nostalgia wouldn’t be the worst thing either, and with eldest statesmen RDJ, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jon Favreau still kickin’ it every year or so the MCU really doesn’t have much to fuel a nostalgia-turn. Somewhat oddly, nostalgia would actually be a new element to the most successful shared universe ever.
The return of Blade - check that, the return of Wesley Snipes as Blade - and introduction into the MCU would probably be a welcome treat for all Marvel movie fans. It would call back to the roots of Marvel on film, introduce another prominent character of color, and bring back Snipes in his first high-profile role in some time. And all at the same time, it would introduce a whole new element to the universe – once again, the more monstrous supernatural corner, as opposed to Doctor Strange’s more magical piece of the pie.
Here at Newsarama we have something of an Avengers 4 fantasy we talk about from time to time. In comic books, issues introducing new creative runs often feature a splash page that hints at future storylines. Grant Morrison’s recent Green Lantern #1 included such a splash, and this week’s Avengers #10 includes a few additional short story sequences that foreshadow upcoming storylines.
We’d love to see a sequence in Avengers 4 that hints and teases at the post-Phase 3 future of the MCU. It'd be great if Marvel can manage to keep a few secrets and introduce some new heroes that'll surprise us all during the film. Hell, a sign in front of a mansion in Westchester or a flaming '4' over the Manhattan skyline could accomplish that without any actors. But seeing a few seconds of Wesley Snipes rockin’ sunglasses at night slicing through some vampires is also near the top of our wishlist.
We’re pretty sure the fan ovation to such a moment would be pretty rockin’ too.