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Blade: Here's How Mahershala Ali Was Cast in the Role

While Marvel Studios undoubtedly unveiled a plethora of surprises during its Hall H presentation at Comic-Con on Saturday, the biggest piece of news came in the closing minutes of Marvel's panel. As the Marvel casts -- new and old -- gathered on the Hall H stage, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased projects that didn't have time to get to, before announcing there was still one surprise left: Blade!

To the surprise of everyone, Feige brought actor Mahershala Ali out at the end of the presentation, who pull out a hat he'd been carrying at his side. That's when the lights went dark and the Marvel Studios' Blade logo lit up the large Hall H screen behind him. It was arguably the night's biggest news given how surprising it was, so how exactly did it all come together? According to Feige, Blade is happening because of Ali.

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RELATED: Marvel Studios Announces Blade Project Starring Mahershala Ali

After winning his second Academy Award for Green Book, Ali reportedly called Marvel Studios because he was interested in joining -- re-joining? -- the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "When Mahershala calls, you answer," Feige told The Hollywood Reporter. Feige and company were said to have had a few meetings with Ali, with the actor wasting no time by telling them he wanted to play Blade early on. Ali's love for the role and enthusiasm over joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe ultimately led to them moving forward with him on Blade.

Some fans, of course, noted that Ali technically already played one character within the MCU as he played the villain Cottonmouth in Season 1 of Luke Cage on Netflix. However, those shows never truly connected to the films despite technically existing within the same world. He also voiced Aaron Davis in Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so this will mark his third Marvel role in as many years. But this time around, he finally gets a Marvel franchise of his own and Feige seems more than thrilled to see Ali take on the role first made iconic by Wesley Snipes.

RELATED: Aquaman Director James Wan Pitched a Blade Reboot to Marvel

At this time, no director or release date has been announced for Blade.

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