It’s difficult to track back the mammoth popularity of the superhero genre to one particular source. Many would argue it to be Marvel’s first serious foray into the genre with Iron Man in 2008, whilst you can also make a case for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man or even Bryan Singer’s X-Men.
Though, recently, Bassam Tariq, the director of the 1998 film Blade, has credited the lead actor of the film, Wesley Snipes, for “creat[ing] the superhero world that we’re in”.
Released before the millennium, even after all these years, it still remains Snipes’ most iconic work. Based on the Marvel superhero, Snipes stars as a human-vampire hybrid who employs his exceptional martial arts skills in order to protect humanity from evil vampires.
“Wesley was Blade! It wasn’t that he was like Blade, or that he played like Blade. He was Blade,” cinematographer Theo van de Sande said. “When he came onto the set he had his posse around him and they’d stride onto the set. They flowed into the space. I dealt with him a lot and liked him a lot. We had a good time together. He was also a co-producer on the film.” It’s easily one of Snipes best films and is a necessity on your essential watch list.
But how could a film about a hybrid vampire spark such a clamour for superhero flicks? Director Tariq has the answer. Speaking to IndieWire, Tariq commented, “What’s exciting about the film that we’re making is [there] hasn’t been a canon for Blade, as we’re reading through the comics and everything”. Continuing, the director noted, “Him being a daywalker is the one thing that’s been established, and you know we can’t deny what Wesley Snipes did, which was he basically got this whole ball rolling”.
Tariq also observed, “A Black man created the superhero world that we’re in, that’s just the truth. For me to now be working with somebody as talented and a juggernaut as Mahershala Ali, and the writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, I’m just so – I’m so honoured to be working with real Black juggernauts and Black talent”.
Bassam Tariq is due to direct a new adaptation of Blade as part of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Mahershala Ali taking the mantle from Wesley Snipes. Speaking to Uproxx, Snipes reported that he would be making his own Blade adaptation to rival the Marvel reboot, commenting, “We set our character in the world of shape-shifters and a little bit of time travel. But the action is going to be… Well, we did white belt action in Blade. Now we’re going to do black belt action”.
A release date has yet to be announced for either Blade adaptation. Check out the trailer for the original Wesley Snipes film below and watch it on Netflix now.