The year was 1998 and tax evasion hadn’t caught up to Wesley Snipes, so he starred as Marvel’s half-vampire, half-mortal assassin Blade. There would be two more entries in the franchise, but lots of people write them off. I find them to be action-packed, goofy, and full of endlessly repeatable lines (especially Blade: Trinity), so I’ve gathered some facts about the first movie to show you all the path to righteous entertainment.
1. In 1992, Columbia Pictures and Marvel were working on getting Snipes to play the title role in a Black Panther movie. LL Cool J was the one attached to Blade at that time, though both obviously fell through.
2. Along with LL Cool J, other actors considered for the part of Blade were Denzel Washington and Laurence Fishburne. Snipes was ultimately chosen for the role, likely in no small part due to writer David A. Goyer’s interest in him and the actor’s martial art training.
3. An early version of the movie had a scene where Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and Blade kept a vampire baby in a jar for testing weapons. The vampire baby didn’t get to use the weapons; they used the weapons on it. For some reason, the studio thought it was off-putting to have their movie’s protagonist use weapons on a vampire fetus like some sort of more evil cosmetic company testing on animals.
4. The original ending tested horribly with audiences, as Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) turned into La Magra during his final confrontation with Blade. The blood tornado Frost morphed into looked like someone barfed globules of catsup onto the film. It looked like their special effects team consisted of a kid with unlimited jelly and a blind man. It looked like ToeJam & Earl, but in a bad way.
5. The character of Whistler did not exist in the Marvel comic book universe until after he appeared on an episode of Fox’s animated Spider-Man series. That 1994 appearance prompted Marvel to extend Whistler’s existence to comic books and then their cinematic universe.
6. A Stan Lee cameo was supposed to occur in the aftermath of the fight in the blood club. Lee was a cop that found Quinn (Donal Logue) on fire, but he was cut from the flick.
7. Main villain Deacon Frost was offered to Jet Li, but he instead took a part in Lethal Weapon 4, which I forgot existed until I researched items for this list.
8. Pearl (Eric Edwards) was a gigantically obese vampire that also oversaw the vampires recordkeeping. According to director Stephen Norrington, Pearl was massive because of his penchant for eating the hearts of infants and children.
9. The Blade in the comics was English and his mother was a prostitute named Tara Brooks. Both the movie and comic version had their mother taken from them by Deacon Frost, but in the comics she died instead of living on as a vampire. Blade was saved by his mom’s fellow hookers.
10. The Blade of the comics also had fewer powers, having the ability to sense supernatural beings. He was also immune to being infected with vampirism. After the movie, the comic version got himself bitten by Morbius. This imbued him with all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses of vampires. It also made him look like Wesley Snipes.