Fan Casting for Marvel's Blade
Updated: Jan 31
With Marvel's reboot of Blade announced and Mahershala Ali playing the day walker himself, we're all eagerly waiting for more announcements! Especially after he won his nomination and become the first Muslim actor to win the golden globe awards. Marvel notoriously had cast Ali before in the role of Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes as the main villain for Luke Cage. He was killed off half way through which us fans were extremely disappointed about due to Maharshala's performance was amazing and killing his character off was a waste of his potential. Now he is cast for Blade the biggest problem is aside from reusing him is that Blade is from the UK. It is likely Marvel will yet again ignore this and have Mahershala portray him as an American again. But what could an authentically British Blade cast look like?
Starting us off with the lead. If there was any British Black actor to play Blade. The perfect choice would be Joey Ansah. Much like Snipes, Joey is a martial arts actor skilled in Taekwondo, Ninjutsu, Capoeria, gymnastics, dance and some other style like Karate, Kung-Fu, Kalari and Kali. from his co-stars over the years. He is best known for doing his own stunts in roles like Desh Bouksani in Bourne Ultimatum and Akuma in Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist which he wrote and directed in too. Ansah being in his 30s is also good age range as Blade possesses a slowed ageing and healing factor much like Wolverine and Ansah being from Hammersmith, London means he can easily portray Blade with the Londoner accent he should have. Another interestingly lesser known thing about Blade is his mixed origin being half white half black by his parents (see below). Joey being of half Ghanaian and half English also makes him the perfect contender to play a classic mixed raced hero. Check out exactly what Joey Ansah is capable of here.
In Blade's earliest stories he encounters a team called the NightStalkers. They were a team of Vampire hunters, they also try to deal with other supernatural threats such as Werewolves and Demons. But their specialty is vampire slaying. Quincy Harker being the son of Jonothan and Mina Harker(From the Dracula novels), he serves as the elderly leader of the team. With Michael Caine in the role of Quincy he could have a some what British version of Agent Coulson. Being the one who bring Blade onto the team despite being difficult for them to trust Blade and having a strong sense of justice and paternal instinct for his team. Michael Caine would be a pleasure to have in the MCU as Quincy Harker.
Rachel Van Helsing is the great-granddaughter of the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing. She is trained by Quincy from a young age to protect herself from the vampires that haunt her bloodline. Now as a grown woman, Rachel is the top martial artist of the Nightstalkers being skilled in various forms of combat and weaponry she would serve as the main fighter much like Mockingbird and Melinda May did for their team in agents of shield. To play such a bad ass British bombshell we can look no further than Katrina Durden. British martial arts actress and stunt woman Katrina has slowly but surely working her way into the industry. She did play a minor role in the MCU before hand as one of the Zealots in Dr Strange, Street Fighter fans will recognise her for the role of Decapre in Street Fighter: Resurrection. Being talented in many martial arts like Taekwondo as well as a gymnast, weapons expert and equestrian. She can bring a lot of practical abilities to the role.
Frank Drake a human but also a distant descendant of Dracula himself. He is an American who joined the Nightstalkers to combat his ancestor from reigning terror. Through out the comics he remained an ally and also flirted with Rachel at every chance he could get. We could see a live action version of Frank playing a similar role to both Fitz and Lance Hunter. Being the main tech guy for the team but also the foreign flirty cynic. The easiest choice for this kind of role would be Andrew Garfield. Andrew didn't have the best of luck with Sony disregarding him as Spiderman but he could easily be welcomed into the MCU. As Andrew possesses Duel British and American citizenship he could pass himself off as an American living in the UK in fact one of his earliest acting roles was an American in Doctor Who in the episodes set in Manhatten with the Daleks and pig soldiers. His portrayal of geeky characters ranging from Spiderman and the Social Network will also suffice pretty well for him to play Frank Drake.
Along with a potential Frank and Rachel romance. In the comics, Blade first love interest was a British Black woman named Safron Clauder. Safron was initially a showgirl at the same night club where Blade was a Jazz musician. The two would leave together where Blade would go Vampire Slaying but she would love him none the less. In the Wesley Snipes film of Blade, a female ally of the name Dr Karen Jenson exists instead of Safron. Whilst they don't get together and Jenson is not seen in the sequel films. She did seem to be a more proactive female ally to Blade than his comic book's counter part's girlfriend. For a live action version. merging the two could be likely with Dr Karen being the medic for the Nightstalkers and the one who attempts to find a way to "cure" the vampiric curse and infection through studying Blade. The two could potentially become lovers through their time together. Either way our choice for Dr Karen/Safron would be Tiana Benjamin she is best remembered as Chelsea Fox in Eastenders, Anjelica Johnson in Harry Potter and Tara Andrews in Fast Girls. Her latest role will be in Absent as Angel. Lets take a look at Dr Karen Jenson from the original Blade film.
Another member of the NightStalkers in Taj Nital. A towering 6'6" tall British Punjabi Sikh member of the team. Unlike the rest of the nightstalkers, he is religious and also is married. In the comics he was essentially like Agent Mack of Agents of Shield. The big guy of the team with a big heart and bonus as Mack is religious too, Christian unlike Taj who is Sikh. It would be likely that Taj being a form a Punjabi background would be a practitioner of Shastri Vidya/Gatka and would use such martial arts skills and weapons when fighting Vampires. Also the perfect way for the MCU to feature their first Sikh hero. For the role of Taj, we can see British Indian actor Rahul Kohli take the role, while Taj (much like Luke Cage and Thor) stands at 6'6" in the comics. Rahul is far from diminutive as he stands at 6'4" (much like Mike Colter and Chris Hemsworth). He would perfectly fit this character as his better known roles in the states is Ravi Chakravarti in iZombie. A guy with a big heart to match his big size. He has done some DC projects most notably Jack Sphere in Supergirl and he voices Scarescrow in the Harley Quin TV Series. It would a treat to have him in the MCU as the first Sikh character and first British Asian actor as a British Asian character
Wife of Taj, she hasn't had a lot of attention in the comics aside from being wheel chair bound after a Vampire attack and later lost her son Adri to a mob of angry villagers. There's not a lot to cover on her. However if Jyota could play a more prominent role within the Nightstalkers she could be similar to Orcale from DC Comics. Literally the guy.... the girl in the chair for the group. Keeping track of surveillance and communication for the team and if she doesn't end up in a wheel chair like her comics counter part, maybe some action into the field too. The perfect actress for Jyota would be Anjli Mohindra. Anjli is best known for her role in the Whoinverse series Sarah Jane Adventures as Rani Chandra, she would appear in Doctor Who this time as a separate character Queen Skithra. She has had multiple other well known roles such as Veronica Chandra in Cucumber, WPC Megan Ward in Paranoid, Bindi in Boy with the TopKnot, Zaheera Kamara in Bancroft, Nadia in Bodyguard and Charlie's original disguise in DC's Legend of Tomorrow. Again if much like Rahul she moves from DC's CWverse to the MCU it would a welcome to have her as part of this universe too and hopefully stick around longer.
Adri Nital is the young child of Jyota and Taj Nital. He was left mute after a vampire attack on the Nital family. This caused Taj to join the Nightstalkers to slay every vampire for what they did to his wife and son. Unfortunately for Taj, Adri gets killed by the villagers after they discover his mother kept him locked up due to the vampire infection. Hopefully if we see the Nital family in live action. Adri could be a source of hope and innocence for the team like Clementine in the Walking Dead video games. Being a child he would bring a form of hope to the group. To play the role of Taj we can see Reiss Jeram best known for his role in Informer as Nasir Shar the younger brother of Raza who is the main character of the series. Reiss has portrayed the role of a young Sikh before so he could do it again for this role too.
In the comics Eric Brooks is born in Soho, London to Vanessa Tara Brooks. Or sometimes just called Tara Brooks. While she was apparently an American immigrant to the UK. During the early 1900s Black immigrants to the UK were mostly from commonwealth nations and part of the Windrush generations usually from the Caribbeans or West African and East African. For the sake of realism, MCU Tara should be of Caribbean origin like majority of the UK's Black population. For the perfect actress to play her? We believe Diane Parish could be fitting for the role. Parish being of Montserratian and Dominican origin can fit the Caribbean background. She is best known for her roles in the Bill as Eva Sharpe and in Eastenders as Denise Fox. Hopefully they can use her to play Blade's Mum for a few scenes as she does return in Vampire form to be used against him in other media.
Whilst most casual fans know or Blade's mum. Very little even think about the existence of Blade's dad. I mean Mum can't have a baby on her own ya know. But we don;t need to go into the specifics here. What is known about Blade's father is that he is called Lucas Cross and was married to Tara. So what happened to him? According to the comics Lucas is part of a group called Order of Tyrana. A Secret cult that specialised in the Occult and Vampires. Possibly Lucas was part of a Vampire hunting society, but unfortunately he is forced to leave his pregnant lover Tara in the UK while he is summoned to his home country Latveria (Same country that Dr Doom comes from) for a crime he is being framed for. This turns out to be a trick as he is imprisoned and bitten by Vampires which will lead to Lucas being forced to fight his own son when they reunite as adults. Due to his East European heritage, this makes Blade one of the few mixed raced superheros of the classic tiimes. We felt London based Polish actor Piotr Baumman would be the most appropriate choice for the role. He can easily do an East European accent to fit the character and is around a reasonable age for the role. He is best known for his short lived role in Eastenders as Konrad Topolski, Coronation Street as Jan Lozinski and in Spies of Warsaw as Maxim Mostow.
Deacon Frost is one of Blade's best known and iconic villains throughout his history. In most of the stories, Deacon is the vampire that bit Tara Brooks, killing her and giving Blade the Vampire powers but none of the weaknesses due to being in Tara''s womb at the time of her death. In the comics he is portrayed as a rather sinister German scientist who uses Vampire DNA to become immortal. Whilst many are more familiar with the film and anime's younger version where he is less sophisticated and more crude and immature. After watching Danish actor Claes Bang's performance as Count Dracula in the series called.... Dracula by the BBC. I can easily imagine him fit balance the aspects of comic book Deacon Frost with the anime and film versions to bring us a more charismatic character. Standing at a 6'4" would also fit the intimidation factor if he was to square up to Joey Ansah.
Obviously we can't have Blade without the real Count Dracula either. Dracula has remained a staple part of Marvel Supernatural area especially where vampire's are concerned. Usually finding himself an antagonist to the likes of Blade, Hussain family, Morbius, Werewolf at Night, ghost riders and the Helstrom siblings. So its a given he should appear in the series, He was portrayed by Dominic Purcell as a modern resurrected under the name of Drake. However sticking to the comic book's Romanian heritage maybe better and another East European actor to fit this role can be Predrag Bjelac. Serbian actor Predrag Bjelac is best known for his role in the Harry Potter series as the Headmaster of Durmstrang academy called Igor Karkarov, he also appears in Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Capsian as Lord Donnon. It would be great to have him on board as the fearsome Count who was in fact based of the Romanian Vladimir Dracula or Vlad the Impaler.
Wishful thinking here. Like very wishful thinking. Jamal Afari was an American jazz musician turned vampire hunter who ended up training Blade in several martial arts and knowledge in the supernatural. We can imagine a redo of this idea, maybe Jamal, Tara and Lucas were part of an international organisation that hunted vampires. After Lucas and Tara go missing. Afari decides to visit the UK only to find their son Eric. So he adopts Eric out of loyalty to his lost friends and trains him. With Wesley Snipes having played Blade as an American vampire hunter, it would be pretty cool to bring him back as Blade's Mentor from the comics. A bit like Van Damme playing the mentor for the Kickboxer remakes where as before he was the one that needed the mentor in the original film. It would be a great shout out for the fans of the older films as well as awesome way to bring Snipes into the project.
So we have mentioned Dr Faiza Hussain before. Simply put it. She is a British Pakistani doctor who has the power to telekinetically move and shape living animals and humans. She is also the owner of Excalibur (king Arthur's sword) and has a few magical abilities to boot. She is also marvel Kamala Khan before Kamala Khan was even conceived. It would be a perfect opportunity to have a British Asian Muslim hero in the MCU since that is one of the biggest minorities in the UK. For the role of Faiza we can see Asmara Gabrielle take the role. She is best known for the titular role of Finding Fatimah and she also appears in Riz Ahmed's short film the Long Goodbye. As she is from a British Asian Muslim background it seems fitting. Additionally why would Dr Faize Hussain have any relevance to Blade? well lets look down below to meet her Father and find out.
Dr Yussuf Hussain, the British Pakistani father of Faiza. He is essentially a regular hard working doctor and loving father and husband. Seems pretty average. Nothing special there right? Well not much in known about him except he was not keen on his daughter being a vigilante and is apparently not much religious. But unfortunately he gets kidnapped by vampire working for Dracula and turned into a vampire against his will. But apparently resisting their influence enough to join up with M.I.13 to fight against Dracula helping Blade and Faiza in the final fight. For the role of Dr Yussuf Hussain, he can see British Pakistani Ace Bhatti fit the role. His best known roles from Whoniverse spin off Sarah Jane Adventure's as Headmaster Haresh Chandra, the doting father of Rani and also the Sinister Eastenders villain as Dr Yusef Khan..... Hmmm coincident? well Yusuf seems to be a popular name these days. Even Kamala Khan's dad is called Yusuf Khan what are the chances?
Hannabal King, many of the film fans will remember him from Ryan Reynold's performance in the Blade 3 Trinity film which... well did not live up to the same standards as the 2 previous Blade films. So who is Hannabal King in the comics? Well he is an American Personal Investigator that ends up somehow in London where he gets bitten by Dracula. From then on he is forced to only work at night and drink blood from blood banks until he is able to find a cure desperate not to feed on anyone living. This could be an interesting character arc of King's but the films had him be more of a motor mouth who is a wise cracking mercenary and having been cured by from the vampirism prior to the film is immune to it. (so he was B-Tech Deadpool that no one wanted). Either way if we do get Hannabal as an unfortunate American in London. UK based American actor Corey Johnson would be the perfect fit. He has a long list of credits usually as a minor american character in a UK filmed project regardless if the setting is UK or US. Considering he has been living in the UK maybe he can commit to a long term role as an American living in the UK. See what interesting culture clashes his character can face. Maybe even ones the actor himself faced when he first migrated to the UK.