Batman & Robin has often been accused of being so bad that it killed the superhero genre for years. A lot of fans will point to X-Men or Spider-Man reviving the genre in the early ’00s, but the real hero who paved the way for the return of superheroes was Blade.
Blade was released in 1998, only a year after Batman & Robin. It was a reimagining of the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Blade was a half-vampire who possessed the benefits of his undead parentage without any of the weaknesses. This earned him the title of “Daywalker” as he could not be destroyed by sunlight.
The original Blade movie was the first big success for Marvel in the movie industry. It would go on to spawn two sequels and a TV show, as well as changing the face of the comics that inspired the character.
The Blade movies are undoubtedly important in the development of the superhero genre, but it wasn’t easy getting them into theaters. We are here today to look at the many behind-the-scenes secrets of the Blade franchise.
From the terrible villain that caused numerous reshoots to the social media begging that may lead to a return of the Daywalker, here are the 15 Mind-Blowing Things You Didn’t Know About The Blade Movies!
15. Wesley Snipes Sued The Producers Of Blade: Trinity
The problems with working with Wesley Snipes didn’t end for the Blade: Trinity crew on the last day of shooting. Snipes would take the whole production to court as part of a lawsuit seeking payment for his poor treatment on the set.
According to the lawsuit: Wesley Snipes wanted five million dollars due to accusations of harassment over his race. He also said that the screenplay and the supporting cast were forced on him against his will.
Additionally, Snipes claimed that he had still not been paid his full fee for performing the role of Blade and was not exempt from tax liability as promised. Snipes also blamed David Goyer for the poor reception to the film.
14. L.L. Cool J Was Originally Going To Play Blade
Those who read the comics produced by Marvel in the ’90s would often see mentions of upcoming movie projects. These would talk about the actors who had signed on for the roles and the expected release dates of each film.
Pretty much all of these projects never left the development stage, as most of them were just cases of studios optioning a property and putting the feelers out to see if any actors were interested.
Blade was one such property that spent years in development hell. Rumors of a Blade movie started as early as 1992, with Variety reporting that L.L. Cool J was actively involved in the development of the film, with an eye for playing the lead role.
13. Blade: Trinity Had Major Behind-The-Scenes Drama
Blade: Trinity was the final film of the Blade trilogy. The film was financially successful and seemed to be open to more sequels, but this never happened.
One of the reasons cited for the lack of interest in making more Blade movies was Wesley Snipes’ behavior on set. Patton Oswalt (who played Hedges in the film) has talked at length about the problems on the Blade: Trinity set.
According to Patton Oswalt: Wesley Snipes would refuse to leave his trailer and would smoke weed all throughout the day. It got to the point where most of Snipes’ shots were performed by his stand-in save for the ones that involved closeups of Blade’s face.
Wesley Snipes also had an adversarial relationship with David Goyer, who directed the film. The two constantly argued on set, which culminated in Snipes trying to strangle Goyer during a disagreement.
12. Ryan Reynolds Has Admitted That Deadpool Is Basically Just Hannibal King
Ryan Reynolds was the breakout star of Blade: Trinity. His wise-cracking and one-liners as Hannibal King added some much-needed levity to the film.
A lot of the extra moments involving King and Abigail Whistler were created late in the production in order to make up Wesley Snipes refusing to perform certain scenes. Snipes would later complain about the extra attention given to the other characters in his lawsuit.
Ryan Reynolds is now best known for his performance as Deadpool in the massively successful movie of the same name.
Reynolds has since attributed his performance as Deadpool to the one he gave for Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity. Reynolds admitted that he first encountered his interpretation of the wise-cracking/sword swinging Deadpool in Hannibal King, as both are similar characters.
11. Blade Underwent A Lot Of Reshoots (Due To How Stupid The Villain Looked)
Blade started production in 1997. This was during the time when CGI was still in its infancy and it was tricky for special effects to create realistic looking people. Movies during this period still relied on practical effects, as CGI was also prohibitively expensive.
It seems that the producers of Blade were a little too enthusiastic in their desire to use a fully CGI monster.
Deacon Frost (the villain of the film) was originally meant to turn into a giant tornado of blood. Frost would periodically reappear from the blood in order to taunt Blade, before being destroyed by the anti-vampire serum.
The effect of the blood tornado looked so terrible that it was savaged by test audiences. This poor reception caused the studio to order reshoots so that Deacon Frost was kept in a humanoid form for his final battle.
10. The Unused Werewolf Ending
Blade: Trinity brought the Nightstalkers into the canon of the films. These are a team of human vampire hunters who use powerful weapons to even the odds against their undead foes.
The two most prominent members of the team were Abigail Whistler (played by Jessica Biel) and Hannibal King (played by Ryan Reynolds.) These two characters received a lot of focus in the story of Blade: Trinity, which is one of the things that prompted Wesley Snipes’ lawsuit against the production.
There was a chance that the Nightstalkers would receive their own spinoff movie. This can be seen in one of the alternate endings for the movie, which shows them hunting down a werewolf in a strip club. This was also the moment when werewolves were added to the canon of the Blade films.
9. The Sets From Blade: Trinity Were Used In Stargate: Atlantis
Building and dismantling sets can be one of the most expensive parts of any production. This is especially true for movies in the science fiction and fantasy genres, as they will often have to create whole sets from scratch.
Storing sets can be even more expensive, which is why the Star Trek movies would destroy the set of the Enterprise after every film and build a new one when the next one was commissioned.
The creators of Blade: Trinity didn’t have to worry about disposing of most of their sets. This is because they were inherited by the production of Stargate Atlantis, who reused many of the sets in the episodes of the show.
8. Blade’s Creator Tried To Sue For A Piece Of The Movies
The major comic publishers in North America will often claim the ownership rights of any character that they publish.
This means that the creators of many of your favorite characters have been paid almost nothing for all of the sales, merchandise, and box office profits that the character created. This situation led to many of the industry’s biggest names leaving Marvel and DC in the ’90s and forming Image Comics.
When the first Blade movie was about to be released, it prompted the creator of the character to take legal action in order to seek a piece of the profits.
Marv Wolfman sued both Marvel Comics and Time Warner in an effort to claim ownership over the character that he created. The results of this case could have changed the industry significantly.
7. Morbius Was Planned To Be The Villain Of Blade II
Blade ends with the titular hero hunting vampires in Moscow. This left the series wide-open for a sequel, should there be a desire to make one.
The original ending of Blade that was scrapped also had a different sequel-hook. When Blade and Karen were standing on the roof, they saw another vampire watching them in the distance.
According to David Goyer, this vampire was intended to be Morbius the Living Vampire, who is best-known for being a Spider-Man villain. Blade and Morbius had encountered each other in the comics before, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to use them in the same movie.
Morbius would eventually be tied up in another project and couldn’t appear in the Blade movies. This is because Sam Raimi had considered using him in Spider-Man 4. That movie never got made, but it prevented Morbius from being used in other projects for a long time.
6. The Movie Version Of Blade Eventually Appeared In The Comics
The version of Blade that you see in current Marvel Comics is clearly inspired by Wesley Snipes’ portrayal of the character. This extends to everything from his appearance, to his powers and choice of weapons.
The original version of Blade was a very different character. His powers were restricted to sensing the supernatural and being immune to vampirism. The name Blade comes from his preference of using bladed weapons, of which he used a wide variety.
When the Blade films became a success, they resulted in the Blade from the comics being changed to match his movie counterpart.
This happened when Blade was bitten by Morbius, which gave him all of the strengths of being a vampire without any of the weaknesses. It was at this point that he started referring to himself as the Daywalker and started resembling Wesley Snipes.
5. The Morgue Ending
The werewolf ending isn’t the only alternate ending for Blade: Trinity. The canon ending of Blade: Trinity involves Drake using his powers to masquerade as Blade, in order to allow Blade the chance to escape. This was the ending shown in the theatrical version of the film.
The ending used in the unrated version of Blade: Trinity is different. In this version, it is actually Blade who is found and brought to the hospital at the end of the film.
He wakes up and fights the doctors and police officers that are trying to restrain him. The scene ends with a single doctor cowering before Blade as he approaches her, with the suggestion that he is about to feed on her blood.
4. The Blade TV Show Is Canon
It seems that the negative experience making Blade: Trinity didn’t sour David Goyer’s desire to work on more projects involving the character. He would go on to helm Blade: The Series, which ran for a single season on Spike in 2006.
Those fans who have been asking for a Blade 4 may not be aware that we already received a sequel to Blade: Trinity, as Blade: The Series is canon with the films.
Blade: The Series takes place after Blade: Trinity, with most of the vampires in the world being wiped out by the Daystar. There are still lots of vampires who survived and went into hiding, with Blade now hunting them in order to wipe out the undead menace for good.
3. Whistler Debuted In Spider-Man: The Animated Series
The fans of the Blade movies would be forgiven for thinking that Whistler was an important character from the comics who was adapted into the films.
This is due to how important Whistler is as a character in the series, as he is essentially Blade’s father figure. Whistler was so popular that they brought him back for the sequel, even though his death seemed pretty final in Blade.
Whistler has actually never appeared in official Marvel canon as a character. His debut happened in an episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. This was due to one of the writers on the show receiving a copy of David Goyer’s script and liking the character so much that they added him in.
While Whistler debuted on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, he is still considered to be created by David Goyer.
2. The TV Edit & “Hoo-Hoo”
The popularity of home releases and streaming video means that we are no longer forced to watch awful TV edits of movies that have to remove all of the cussing and the nudity.
There were some brave souls out there who had to remove all the F-bombs from films like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, which made the movies so comical that they actually became even more entertaining.
Blade: Trinity also endured this kind of censorship when it was shown on TNT. All instances of referring to male genitalia were replaced with “hoo-hoo.”
This meant that characters would often tell each other to go suck their hoo-hoo, which is almost charming in a childlike sort of way: it sounds like the ancient evil vampires are kids who have to use euphemisms in order to avoid getting into trouble with their parents.
1. Wesley Snipes Wants To Return To The Role
The movie rights to the Blade franchise returned to Marvel in 2013, along with those of Ghost Rider and Punisher. Those last two have since appeared in Marvel’s TV shows, but we have yet to see any sign of the Daywalker.
Wesley Snipes’ troubles with the law (involving his tax problems) and his incarceration meant that he could not reprise the role of Blade for a long time.
It seems that Wesley Snipes has finally overcome his bad experience on the set of Blade: Trinity, as he has publicly petitioned Marvel over Twitter to reprise the role of the character. Marvel has been silent on the issue, with no word being spoken either way on the prospect of more Blade appearances.
The established history of the Blade franchise might be what is deterring Marvel, as it means adding vampires to their Cinematic and TV universes. The Twilight franchise diminished the cool factor of vampires by a significant degree, so Marvel might just be waiting for the right time.
There is also the issue of whether they want Wesley Snipes to reprise the role of Blade. He is certainly deeply associated with the character, but he also proved what a pain he was to deal with on the set of Blade: Trinity. Snipes also isn’t getting any younger and the timeframe for his return as the Daywalker grows shorter each day.
It’s likely that Blade will return in some form, but the chances of us seeing a Blade 4 starring Wesley Snipes are slim at best.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about the Blade movies? Sound off in the comments!
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