Who Is Blade? Mahershala Ali’s MCU Vampire Explained

Blade the vampire hunter is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here's what you need to know about the character, his origins, and powers.

Mahershala Ali Blade Movie Character Powers

Blade, the day-walking vampire hunter, will soon be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as performed by Mahershala Ali in a film of the same name. Although most audiences will know the part-vampire hero of the night from the 1998 movie starring Wesley Snipes, his comic history actually goes back to the seventies where he was created as something of a heroic nemesis for the mighty Count Dracula.

Created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, Blade was introduced in Tomb of Dracula #10 in 1973 as a part-time member of Quincy Harker's vampire-hunters, a band of occult experts who were hunting the Count and other supernatural menaces across the modern world. Blade joined in their crusade on-and-off, preferring to work alone. Over the years, Blade would intersect with those on Dracula's tail and many other heroes in the Marvel canon as he came up against any and every vampire he could find.

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Related: When Will Marvel's Blade Movie Release?

The trench-coat-wearing hero has become iconic, not just as a black comic book protagonist, but as a long-standing mascot of Marvel's horror side. His stories are dark and twisted and explore and depict evil in a distinctly gloomier and more gothic fashion than one would usually in Marvel's pages, all of which is typified in his own horrifying origins.

Blade's Comic Book Origins

Eric 'Blade' Brooks was born in 1929 in London, England. His mother, Tara Brooks, gave birth in a brothel in Soho, and died during labor. The doctor they'd called to assist her during the complicated birth turned out to be a vampire, Deacon Blue, who drained her blood while she slowly died. Miraculously, Eric not only survived, but while Deacon was sucking his mother's blood, some vampiric enzymes traveled through his bloodstream, giving him a plethora of enhanced abilities.

Taken in by his mother's friends, Brooks began training under the watchful eye of vampire slayer and jazz musician Jamal Afari as a child, beginning as a low-level hunter when he was a teenager. After his girlfriend Glory Anah and Jamal were transformed into vampires, Eric decided to hunt Dracula and all vampires full-time as a lone creature of the night.

Battling the original vampire lord across the globe, Blade came close to killing the bloodsucker on a number of occasions but never quite manages to do the deed for good. Along the way, Blade makes acquaintance with a number of others on the trail for monsters and otherworldly creatures. Some he works with, some he doesn't, but he always lends his swordsmanship to the battle against the villains of the Marvel universe.

Related: Predicting Marvel's 2022 Movie Release Slate

What Are Blade's Powers?

Blade's power-set is akin to Spider-Man's, but vampire-themed instead of spider-themed. He has super-senses, speed and strength, a heightened healing factor and a much longer lifespan than the average human, as well as an immunity to full vampiric transformation and other psychic powers, and the power to sense supernatural activity around him. On the flip-side, he needs human blood to live, which he acquires from hospitals and other places where he doesn't need to hurt anyone to feed.

Through his combat training, Blade has honed and sharpened his skills, making him a fierce predator with his hand-to-hand capabilities. He's a master mixed-martial artist across most of the major disciplines, his swordplay and marksmanship are enough to make anyone nervous, and he's an expert tactician when it comes to street fighting - meaning he's never cornered when battling forces of darkness on the mean streets of any city. His best-known weapon is his titanium-coated sword, which he holds on his back. His outfit since the nineties has been all black and grey, sporting a long leather trench-coat over slim-fitting gear that's discreet and provides holsters for his array of stakes and throwing knives.

Aside from his physical abilities, Blade has an intense intellect that includes fluency in multiple world languages and knowledge of vampire lore and associated mythology. He is a walking, talking tour-guide to the occultist side of Marvel canon, able to provide key backstory to otherwise weird, inexplicable goings on.

Related: Every Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie

Mahershala Will Play Blade In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Over 20 years since the character was brought to life by Wesley Snipes,we learned that two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali will be portraying Blade for the MCU. The reveal came as a surprise at the very end of Marvel Studios' presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, with Ali joining the rest of the Marvel stars on stage and putting on a baseball cap that revealed the Blade logo.

Blade will be released as part of the MCU's Phase 5, most likely between 2022 and 2023, though there's currently no director or writer attached. There have been previously no mentions of vampires in the MCU, and Blade's inherent subject matter will be a departure for the franchise. But with an actor like Mahershala Ali onboard, and a whole multiverse of possibilities opening up in Phase 4 and beyond, we're definitely excited to learn more about the Blade movie.

Next: Doctor Strange 2 Theory: The Multiverse Introduces Blade (Not The X-Men)

Key Release Dates
  • Blade release date:
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
  • Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
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