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Wesley Snipes has broken his silence after Marvel revealed over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con that the Blade franchise would be rebooted seemingly without him.
Mahershala Ali will play the vampire hunter — half-mortal and half-immortal with the mission of ridding the world of vampires.
Snipes was in the title role in the David S. Goyer franchise, which began with the 1998 original and was followed by two sequels, Blade II and Blade: Trinity, that have collectively grossed more than $400 million at the global box office.
Marvel fans credit the films with laying the groundwork for what the powerhouse Marvel Cinematic Universe has become as Blade was the first successful film venture based off a Marvel Comics character after numerous duds.
So, needless to day, some on social media felt the news was a slap in the face to Snipes, who previously said he hoped to be folded back into the MCU.
In a statement to Comicbook.com, Snipes told upset fans to take it easy.
“To all the DAYWALKERS losing their minds right now, chillaaxx,” he said in the statement. “Although the news comes as a surprise, it’s ALL good. Such is the ‘business’ of ‘entertainment!’ Much peace to the MCU crew – always a fan.”
Added Snipes, “Honor and respect to the grandmaster Stan. Congratulations and Salaam to Mahershala Ali, a beautiful and talented artist whose expressions I look forward to experiencing for many years to come. Inshallah, we will someday work together. Most importantly to my loyal fans, the incredible outpouring of love is overwhelming. I am grateful for the never-ending support. So, ‘nah fret nah worry, it’s not de end of de story.’ Welcome to the Daywalker Klique.”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter after the weekend’s SDCC presentation, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said that Ali called the studio after winning the Oscar for his work on Green Book.
“When Mahershala calls, you answer,” Feige recalled. “At the meeting, Ali came right out and said that he wanted to do Blade. That was that.”
Snipes previously told THR in 2018 he was “very much open to all of the possibilities” when it came to playing the character once more.
He said at the time, “If Blade 4 comes along, that is a conversation we can have. And there are other characters in the Marvel universe that, if they want to invite me to play around with, I am with that too. I think the fans have a hunger for me to revision the Blade character, so that could limit where they could place me as another character in that universe.”
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