Why Deadpool Should Connect Blade to the MCU

If the MCU Phase 5 includes a Blade reboot, Deadpool would be the perfect Marvel character to welcome the vampire slayer into the rest of the cinematic universe. At Disney Investor Day 2020, Marvel Studios chief Keven Feige confirmed a Blade reboot was in the works and that more announcements would be made shortly. While little is known about the project so far, fans expect it will be a part of the greater franchise. Already, fans are speculated which upcoming Marvel projects could set up the character. Given the long history of the MCU however, Blade will likely need to have an established Marvel character who can usher Blade into the greater world of the MCU’s superheroes — and Wade Wilson aka “Deadpool” (Ryan Reynolds), who is transferring over to the MCU, is the best character to do so.

The Blade reboot was first announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2019, with Mahershala Ali set to star. The character was previously the focus of a trilogy starring Wesley Snipes, which started with the 1998 R-rated hit Blade. It was followed by Blade II in 2002 and Blade: Trinity 2004. Snipes played the titular character Eric Brooks, aka “Blade,” a half-vampire, or “dhampir,” who has committed his life to hunting down the monsters who killed his mother. Unlike in the original comics, this version of Blade had super-strength, which allowed him to go toe-to-toe with the supernatural monsters.   

Part of what’s so exciting about the prospect of Blade joining the MCU is that it presents an opportunity for the Disney-produced cinematic franchise to include some content for more mature audiences — assuming that Blade and Deadpool are both R-rated (and not just the latter title). After all, Snipes’ original trilogy was R-rated, and distinctly geared toward adult audiences with its graphic violence and sexual content. Assuming that Marvel Studios delivers a Blade movie that matches the tone of its predecessor, there’s only one other MCU character who would fit into this more adult-themed story: Deadpool.

Little is known about the upcoming Blade reboot — other than it being as part of the greater MCU — but audiences expect it to at least roughly follow the events of the Marvel comics, which served as the img material for the previous trilogy. This, however, poses some problems: One of the ramifications for Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame being such a colossal, MCU-spanning story (not to mention Captain America: Civil War) is that there is an addition challenge for the MCU to introduce new ideas and characters, since naturally it raises the question, “where were they during those other movies?” Blade and the vampires he fights are one such element that has been absent from the MCU, despite him being tied into the greater universe of the comics. For example, Blade was featured in the cross-over comic story Civil War, but wasn’t included in the MCU adaptation.

There are major elements from Marvel Comics that the MCU has never been able to use before due to licensing agreements. This includes the characters Blade, Deadpool, The X-Men and The Fantastic Four, as well as certain associated villains. Thus, Marvel Studios will need to find a way to explain why characters like the X-Men and other mutants weren’t in the MCU during the Avengers movies, especially since they used both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, but retconned their origins so that they weren’t mutants. Similarly, Deadpool is an established franchise alongside Fox’s X-Men universe (which is getting rebooted for the MCU), but Reynolds will be reprising his role, rather than the character getting rebooted as well. While it’s currently unclear how the MCU will reconcile these continuity disruptions, Deadpool’s metafictional tone will almost certainly play a role, and, like the previous two movies, he will likely share a screen with other Marvel super-powered characters.

Sony’s upcoming Morbius movie will be set in the MCU, which will at least set up vampires in this world ahead of Blade; however, in order for the move to feel like it’s a part of the greater MCU universe, Blade will have to be set up in other projects, and other MCU characters will need to appear in Blade. For example, the Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaue was previously introduced into the cinematic universe via Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the movie’s post-credits scene features Bucky Barnes, a main character in all of the Captain America films. Unlike Black Panther, the characters in Blade aren’t isolated in a hidden country like Wakanda though, which means the movie will have to find a way to explain why its characters have never crossed paths previously in the MCU. Including familiar faces from the MCU in Blade will go a long way in establishing the story as a part of the cinematic franchise rather than a separate story.

Reynolds’ Deadpool is the perfect choice for an established character to appear in Blade for a couple reasons. Even if he doesn’t appear in the MCU before Blade is released (although he almost certainly will), Deadpool, as played by Reynolds, is very familiar to audiences as an adult-oriented (and admittedly flawed) superhero, and can therefore help bridge Blade with the rest of the Marvel world, without sacrificing its horror content and R-rated nature. Like the vampire hunter, Deadpool also uses swords and guns, so their action sequences could be choreographed together effectively, and, since Deadpool is essentially a street-level fighter who happens to be a mercenary, there are ample opportunities narratively to have the characters cross paths. Finally, Blade’s serious nature would contrast Deadpool’s mouthy demeanor well, and pairing the two — even just for one scene — poses a lot of comedic potential.

From a metafictional perspective, there are several strong reasons why writers should include Deadpool in the Blade movie. Deadpool may be a familiar character, but he is relatively new to the MCU, so him and Blade can be outsiders together. While Deadpool doesn’t really have a strong history with Blade (or vampires), the two have crossed paths in the comics; Deadpool is versatile enough that he can fit into any story really, given the right “stakes.” While the supernatural and horror aspects of Blade may seem better suited for Doctor Strange, the sorcerer is already involved in so many storylines that using him poses problems. It would be smart if the MCU avoided him becoming the go-to deus ex machina to dismiss continuity issues. Furthermore, Doctor Strange is not street-level at all, and part of the charm of Blade is that he’s fighting an underground war against an unseen threat that lurks in the night — not a massive threat with global ramifications.

Finally, Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool in Blade offers unique potential for metafictional humor beyond the character’s typical self-aware quips. In the Deadpool 2 post-credits scene, Deadpool used his time machine to “correct” mistakes of the past, which included the actor’s previous (and much maligned) interpretation of Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Ryan Reynolds accepting a role in the bomb Green Lantern (a DC property, but part of the superhero genre nonetheless). The scene does not acknowledge Ryan Reynolds’ other previous role in a critically disappointing Marvel movie: he played Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity. At the very least, Deadpool should cameo in the Blade reboot just so that he can reference the actor’s previous role in the other Blade series — and in the process finish “cleaning up the timeline.”

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