It’s been over two decades since Wesley Snipes brought Blade, Marvel’s premier vampire hunter, to life. Released in 1998, the film was a commercial success grossing $131.2 million at the global box office and quickly gained a cult following. Hailed as one of the actor’s signature roles, it was followed by two sequels, Blade II and Blade: Trinity. Now, the character is set to make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut with Mahershala Ali taking over as the anti-hero.
Fans were a little disappointed to hear that the Moonlight star snagged the role since Wesley Snipes had been campaigning to suit up as the vampire hunter for years. They even began suggesting that Marvel should, at the very least, give him the role of Blade’s mentor Abraham Whistler. Addressing the calls for his inclusion, the original Blade star told Comicbook.com that it doesn’t seem likely. He said Marvel has not approached him to appear in the reboot, joking that he may need more practice acting first.
“No. I’m still working on my acting skills,” Wesley Snipes told the publication. “So when I come up as an actor, maybe they’ll reach out and say, ‘Let’s have a conversation,’ or maybe they don’t feel I’m an ensemble player.” Although the 59-year-old may not appear in the new Blade film, he previously has shared his support for Ali in the role. Speaking to Yahoo last year, he said his successor will be a great fit. “The issue of him being cast wasn’t between us, I’m cool with that,” he explained. “I don’t walk around as Blade, so I’m not attached to the character. I feel no emotional loss and I’m happy that he’s being recast.”
The Blade reboot is scheduled to begin principal photography in early July. This means Marvel will be introducing the vampire hunter to a new generation of viewers by 2023. But Wesley Snipes fans shouldn’t lose hope just yet. Marvel has previously shown its willingness to include characters from franchises outside their studio. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness featured cameos from Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Anson Mount’s Black Bolt.
While he may not be part of Marvel’s Blade reboot, Wesley Snipes has a pretty stacked job card. He will star as Damon Moore in Paper Empire alongside Kelsey Grammer as Swiss Banker Oliver London who serves as the money master of a cybercriminal group. The project was purchased by Hannibal Pictures at the EFM in February. While no release date has been set, the upcoming series is scheduled to air in early 2022.
Created, written, and directed by Robert Gillings, the Wesley Snipes starrer tells the story of Laurence Fintch. As the owner of Fintch Wealth Management Services, he has become the most dangerous financial fraudster in history through the use of his “Digital Limbo” cryptocurrency blockchain technology. After an FBI sting operation, Fintch is taken into custody and ends up in jail. But he soon devises an escape plan so he can dominate the realm of digital currencies and tokens, redefining the cyber world forever.
Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer will join the previously-announced cast for the upcoming action series. This includes the talents of Richard Grieco, Denise Richards, Robert Davi, Steve Guttenberg, Helena Mattsson, Robert Knepper, Anne Archer, and Cuba Gooding Jr. According to Collider Paper Empire is executive produced by Michael Tadross Jr, Bernard Salzman, David Ruggieri, and Edward Pershing.