Superhero movies dominate Hollywood these days, and there’s no franchise in the genre bigger than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Often Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies or the 2000’s X-Men films are credited as helping to kick off this ambitious action movie series.
It’s easy to understand why. For an entire generation, these were probably the first superhero movies they ever saw on the big screen. But there’s a trilogy of superhero films that are often forgotten when the earliest days of the MCU are discussed, the Blade movies. Thankfully one group of dedicated fans haven’t forgotten the debt of gratitude that Marvel owes to the vampire hunter.
In fact, they’re so dedicated to Blade that they managed to make his name trend on Twitter last night after an innocuous tweet set them off. The tweet that offended them dared to suggest that it was Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, who we have to thank for the MCU, and it irked Blade fans who wanted their hero to get a bit more respect.
The general thrust of their argument centres on Marvel’s financial difficulties in the mid-’90s, when the comics giant was facing bankruptcy. Fans claim that Blade saved the company from this grim financial fate. This is kind of right, but while Marvel did earn some money from Blade, it wasn’t exactly a king’s ransom.
It was Wesley Snipes’ Blade. Marvel was bankrupt & sold off all major properties. Blade was a last ditch effort to save studio from closure. The success of Blade paved way for Iron Man & MCU. If not for Wesley Snipes, There’d be no MCU. Why black folks always getting erased? 🤦🏽♂️ https://t.co/RKLOTon5of
— Kyle J. Howard (@KyleJamesHoward) September 7, 2021
— Ruin & Reminisce Podcast (@RnR_Shelley) September 7, 2021
Blade was the first hit movie MCU ever had.. I see y’all like to revise history https://t.co/IbnXaRubPI
— theddie🐍🏁 (@RedHuxtable) September 7, 2021
MCU has openly admitted Blade is the reason they exist lmao https://t.co/JcpDvdGz9H
— ✊🏾 (@MattMcDonald__) September 7, 2021
The studio only got $25,000 from the Blade box office. There’s an argument to be made that it taught Marvel an important lesson. If you want to make real money, you have to make your own movies. This mindset led to Marvel eventually founding Marvel Studios, and the rest, as they say, is history. Blade fans do have one thing right, however, the film demonstrated from the very beginning that R-rated films led by a diverse case could turn a profit.
One person who agrees Blade is important to the foundation of the MCU is Kevin Feige. “My tenure at Marvel started 17 years ago, and there were two things that sort of launched the modern era. One was X-Men, which was the first thing that people said, ‘Oh, there’s life here,'” Feige told Joblo. “But a few years before that, there was Blade. A character nobody had heard of at all, had only appeared in a few issues of Tomb of Dracula or something, turned into a big franchise. That was always a great lesson for me, where you go, “’t doesn’t matter how well known the character is, it matters how cool the movie is.'”
Marvel Studios is working to bring Blade to the MCU with Mahershala Ali playing the titular vampire hunter. The movie is currently being written by Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who wrote the Watchmen TV series, and Mogul Mowgli’s Bassam Tariq had been hired to direct. Filming on Blade is expected to begin in July 2022.