I know today (April 1st, at the time of writing) of all days is the worst day to report on anything, but the following information comes from a source who I believe doesn't play April Fools' Day jokes on its fans: Collider.com.
I've been following Collider with intense interest in the past month or so, having been led there by being a fan of both Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis of SchmoesKnow.com.
These are a group of guys who, like many of us, just love movies and like to skip over all the nonsense click-baiting and sourceless rumors.
Is A Blade film In The Works At Marvel Studios?
Check out the clip from Collider's daily "Movie Talk" video where they specifically talk about the MCU Blade film:
For those of you who don't want to watch the 3-minute video, here is a transcript from the official site:
In a casting report released yesterday and reported on by Movie Beat, Marvel is gearing up an official reboot to their Vampire Action franchise, Blade. While there is no word on a director, the studio is reportedly looking at a very short-list of actors that includes Michael B. Jordan and Birth of a Nation’s Nate Parker; with relative unknowns Aml Ameen who had a small role in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Elijah Kelley from Red Tails and Hairspray. Marvel aims to start filming the movie this summer and as of this report, no mention on whether or not the movie will get an R-rating. With Marvel owned, of course, by Disney, fans are expecting a friendlier PG-13 rating. ~ Collider.com
What Could Blade Mean For The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Well, who knows. I actually find it very odd to believe that Marvel Studios would choose now to begin production on a film starring one of their darker characters when they'll have just begun Phase 3, which will come to a head in the 2018/2019 double-film event, Infinity War. Quite honestly, I'd have pictured Blade as more suitable for Netflix's medium, considering the wonders they've done with characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the Punisher — and are looking to do with Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
But perhaps, Blade will be a bridge the gap between the Netflix MCU and the silver-screen MCU — but once again, I feel like Daredevil would have had the best shot at that. Perhaps, due to Blade's vampire-centered mythos, that places him in a supernatural setting similar to the Doctor Strange film, set to release later this year.
I guess I shouldn't question it too much at this point. Blade is a great character and deserves a Daredevil-esque comeback.
Does Blade Need To Be R-rated? Will Marvel Studios Take That Chance?
Blade is indeed a very dark character, and with Marvel Studios' films seemingly geared more in a "family-friendly" direction, I imagine it would be hard to pull off a suitably PG-13 Blade movie. However, it might also be perplexing to casual audiences to see an R-rated MCU tie-in film because, as I said already, that's what Netflix is for. Unless, of course, Marvel Studios is looking to change the game up due to the recent success of Deadpool; but at the same time, I thought none of the Marvel Studios films were ever going to go dark, as Kevin Feige said at an Age of Ultron post-screening Q&A at USC:
"There is no dark turn in the MCU. He says every year fans come up to him and ask him if this movie is when the MCU goes “dark” or takes a “dark” turn. He said while the trailers may seem ominous or have a sense of impending doom, the movies do not have that feel, and will not. He said he ‘Hoped people would catch on by now’ – there will be no giant dark turns in the MCU where it then continues to head in that direction. The humor is in the DNA of the movies, there are no plans to change that." ~ Kevin Feige (November 2015)
It's a bold move, Marvel.
Let's Talk About The Shortlist Of Actors
Here are a list of the actors that have been rumored to be on the Blade shortlist:
Michael B. Jordan - His most recent roles consist of Johnny Storm a.k.a. Human Torch in 2015's Fantastic Four reboot (which was a failure in every way) as well as Adonis Johnson in the critically acclaimed Creed.
Nate Parker - His stand-out role seems to be that of this year's Birth Of A Nation film, though I've not seen it. Many of his films have been critically acclaimed, though I must to admit I've not seen one of them.
Aml Ameen - No, I did not spell his name wrong. The only notable film that I have seen him in is the highly entertaining (for myself at least) young adult film, The Maze Runner. Though I cannot say that the actor stood out too much to me in that film.
Elijah Kelley - Another actor whose films I've never watched, yet seems to be praised highly by critics. Two of the films he's starred in — actually co-starred in with the other shortlist contender Nate Parker — are Red Tails and Lee Daniels' The Butler.
Of these, I have to be honest and say that I'm really rooting for Michel B. Jordan. I've been a fan of his since I watched him in Parenthood — not sure why that won me over. But everything else I've seen him in since then has been impressive, be it Josh Trank's Chronicle or his highly-successful Rocky spin-off, Creed. He's just so likable and impressive in everything he does.
Plus, I'd really like to see him get another chance at being a superhero, especially after seeing how badly Fantastic Four was. Heck, maybe they could bring along the rest of the talent that was underutilized in that film and throw them in supporting roles in Blade — just imagine Miles Teller as Frost.
Overall, I am very interested in the prospects of this movie. I really like the idea of casting Michael B. Jordan, though I am hoping that reports are wrong and that a film isn't being shot and instead it is another Marvel/Netflix production in the works.
Of course, who knows, maybe Marvel Studios is looking to pave the way for a new branch of R-rated films where we could possibly see Jon Bernthal get his own movie or see Ghost Rider make a grand re-appearance.