Marvel announced Mahershala Ali would be the next Blade at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019.
During a recent stop on The Late Show, Ali admitted he was certainly feeling the pressure ahead of his in-the-flesh appearance in the MCU as a vampire-hunting superhero. “I’ve never walked into a role where the anticipation was so great. Where people are already so familiar with the character and they have real opinions and points of view and all of that,” the actor explains. “It feels different. There’s clearly an added layer of pressure, which I will embrace,” Ali adds.
Ali technically made his MCU debut in the first of two Eternals post-credit scenes, but in voice alone, which was a little maddening for the 47-year-old actor. “I was losing sleep over this line,” Ali laments, explaining how he usually works out his voice for a character on the first few days of shooting. An October 7, 2022 release date for his proper introduction in a standalone Blade film was reportedly leaked earlier this year. However, just weeks later, Marvel revealed their full slate of 2022 and 2023 titles was getting pushed back by two or three months each. It remains unclear whether Blade was one of those getting rescheduled. That said, work does appear to be underway, as Marvel announced it had locked in Mogul Mowgli director, Bassam Tariq, to lead the production.
Watch Mahershala Ali discuss the pressure of being Marvel’s new Blade with Stephen Colbert below.