Long before The Black Panther was hailed as a much-needed African American presence in comics and film adaptations, there was Blade. Created by Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan for Marvel Comics, and a trilogy of films starring Wesley Snipes was released between 1998 and 2004. But did you know that when the folks at New Line/Warner Brothers first started developing the property, they considered making Blade Caucasian? Neither did Wesley Snipes!
Per Screen Rant:
Blade star Wesley Snipes didn’t know the studio considered whitewashing the character during development. Blade is commonly considered to be the movie that kicked off the current comic book movie craze. Blade was based on a cult, B-list Marvel character who hunts vampires, with the movie reinventing him as a human/vampire hybrid with high tech weapons. The movie also featured great action sequences, a fresh take on the vampire myth and some fun supporting characters, like Blade’s crusty human partner Whistler.
The same article quotes Snipes as saying:
“I was not aware. I think I heard that from the article but I wasn’t aware that that was part of the history. Hollywood! Can you imagine the creative individual who thought of that?”
We’ve entered a new age of cultural sensitivity in Hollywood, a time when assigning white actors to roles created for minorities can kill a film’s box office potential. Just look at the disaster that was Ghost in the Shell. Attempts were also made to cast an Asian character as white in Neil Marshall’s Hellboy, currently in post-production. Thankfully, Blade was faithfully adapted, making it an example of a comic book movie done right. Now how about a reboot?
You can check out the trailer and synopsis for 1998’s Blade below.
A half-mortal, half-immortal is out to avenge his mother’s death and rid the world of vampires. The modern-day technologically advanced vampires he is going after are in search of his special blood type needed to summon an evil god who plays a key role in their plan to execute the human race.
Blade is directed by Stephen Norrington from a script penned by David S. Goyer; in addition to Snipes, the film stars Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, and N’Bushe Wright.
Related Article: The Untold Truth & Secret Origins of “Black Panther”