The Marvel Studios’ Comic-Con panel surprised nearly everyone with the revelation that Mahershala Ali, known for his highly praised roles in Moonlight, True Detective, and Luke Cage, has been cast as the new Blade for an upcoming movie. According to SuperHeroHype, Ali approached Marvel’s Kevin Feige about the role during a meeting earlier this year.
“When Mahershala calls, you answer,” Feige said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Feige revealed that Ali called the studio after he took home an Oscar for his role in Green Book, and after his request, Feige was happy to oblige.
Blade, the half-mortal, half-immortal vampire hunter, made his first appearance in the 1973 comic book The Tomb of Dracula #10. But the character didn’t hit the big screen until 1998’s Blade, which paved the way for many of the comic book films that followed. Wesley Snipes played Blade in the original and two sequels that followed, and he reportedly expressed interest in returning for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) iteration. But it looks like Ali has swiped the role — although there isn’t a sign of any bad blood just yet.
As of now, it’s unclear when Ali’s Blade will release, but it was confirmed by IGN not to be part of Marvel Studios’ phase four lineup, which runs until 2021.
Per The Inquisitr, Ali was included in the TIME 100 list, which is TIME’s list of the most influential and culturally significant figures of 2019. Ali’s blurb was written by producer and award-winning actor Octavia Spencer, who claims that Ali has been “captivating audiences for years.”
“… the fact that he’s recently been lauded with the highest honors our industry bestows is not surprising,” she added.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Ali, who is also a husband and father, spoke in-depth about how he approaches being a Hollywood actor.
“I’m just trying to find a balance, man,” he said.
“Trying to be responsible with my choices, do meaningful work. Handling the influx of work opportunities, and how demanding that is to do well.”
Although Ali admits that he’s always been a loner and he needs to fight to ensure he’s meeting the needs of his wife and child, he believes it’s definitely doable with a routine that fosters the right mindset.
“But my hypothesis is, if it’s all in proper alignment, you do it all better. I think there’s this magical space where it all feeds each other, until everything is richer. So, yeah,” he added. “I’m getting there.”