Superhero film fans got an incredibly interesting tease this week when actor Wesley Snipes revealed that he’s recently had meetings with the folks at Marvel about reprising his role as Blade.
For those who may not remember the details, Blade was released in 1998 and in some ways was the first modern success for Marvel in the cinema. It came before Spider-Man or the X-Men movies raked in millions in the early 2000s, and even followed on the heels of a few failed projects concerning Captain America and other heroes.
However, Blade also wasn’t a “Marvel movie” in the sense that we tend to think of it. While the Blade character is of course associated with Marvel comics, New Line Cinema actually had the distribution rights for the film and its sequels.
Perhaps because of this fact, the Blade franchise ultimately more or less fizzled out following the release of Blade Trinity in 2004. Not only was this third and final Blade film poorly reviewed, but it basically signaled the end of the character in modern pop culture. Blade never really gained the kind of wider momentum that some other superheroes have enjoyed.
The series inspired a few fairly lousy console games, though there’s actually a pretty amusing casino adaptation of Blade you can still play here. It’s a bit simple, but it offers some good entertainment just by swapping out the same old usual slot icons for character drawings and various items from Blade’s extensive stash of weaponry.
Nevertheless, with the films having run out of gas in 2004 and only a few gaming adaptations to its credit, the Blade franchise as it was associated with New Line Cinema more or less died out. And that is precisely why Snipes’s recent reveal is so tantalising and exciting.
More than a decade after the conclusion of the New Line Cinema trilogy, Marvel Studios now owns the film rights to the Blade character, as of 2013. According to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, when characters whose film rights have been sold come back to Marvel Studios, it’s pretty clear that the films produced by other distributors performed worse than expected.
The assumption, then, is that Marvel Studios can either fix the characters by rebooting franchises, or choose not to go any further with them. And though Feige also made a point of remaining noncommittal to continuing with reacquired characters upon the news that Blade was back with the studio, the fact that Snipes is already in meetings is pretty telling.
There’s no official news at this point, but it certainly looks as if Wesley Snipes will be suiting up as Blade again after all.