Wesley Snipes gives his blessing to Mahershala Ali as he takes over Blade in MCU

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At Comic Con, Marvel announced a whole wave of movies as part of phase four, a female Thor, that Valkyrie is LGBTQ+… and casually threw in the fact that Mahershala Ali is the new Blade in the closing seconds.

The casting has been met with delight from Marvel fans and lovers of Oscar-winning acting in general – and thankfully, former Blade star Wesley Snipes is among that crowd.

Snipes, who played the half-vampire vampire hunter in Blade, Blade II and Blade Trinity, said he was ‘surprised’ by Mahershala being cast as Blade, but is totally on board.

In a statement given to Entertainment Weekly, the 54-year-old said: ‘To all the DAYWALKERS losing their minds right now, chillaaxx. Although the news comes as a surprise, it’s ALL GOOD. Such is the “business” of “entertainment!”

‘Much peace to the MCU crew – always a fan. Honour and respect to the grandmaster Stan. Congratulations and Salaam to Mahershala Ali, a beautiful and talented artist whose expressions I look forward to experiencing for many years to come. Inshallah, we will someday work together.

‘Most importantly to my loyal fans, the incredible outpouring of love is overwhelming. I am grateful for the never-ending support. So, “nah fret nah worry, it’s not de end of de story.” Welcome to the Daywalker Klique.”

Thank goodness for that.

Snipes played ‘Daywalker’ (so-called because his human side allowed him to walk in the sunlight) Blade, aka Eric Books, in 1998, 2002 and 2004, when the character was owned at New Line Cinema. However, in 2011 – at which time Snipes was in prison for failure to file U.S. federal income tax returns – the rights for the comic book character went back to Marvel.

Still, the White Men Can’t Jump star was keen to reprise the character of Blade, tweeting in 2016: ‘When it comes to another BLADE, there’s alway was a possibility #SharpeningMyTeeth Ball’s in Marvel’s court.’

The Blade reboot starring Moonlight and Green Book star Ali will not be part of phase four, so won’t be out before 2022 at the earliest.

MCU boss Kevin Feige told Fandango: ‘We have, for years, wanted to find a new way into Blade. We love that character. We love that world. Now with Doctor Strange and the supernatural elements coming into the MCU, it felt like we could definitely start exploring that.

‘Mahershala wanted to come in and meet with us, and when Mahershala Ali wants to meet, you take the meeting. I think he had just come off of his second Academy Award, and we were talking very polite and he was talking about what a fan he is. And then he just cut right to it and was like “Blade”. And we were like, “Yes”.’

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