MCU blades face 3 major challenges from MCU
Mahershala Ali's take on Blade will have to contend with Wesley Snipes' adaptation, but its biggest challenge may come from the current MCU itself.
Expectations are high for the MCU's Blade movie, but the film's success will be greatly challenged by the franchise itself. The MCU's Blade is ready to fail as it draws comparisons to earlier film adaptations starring Wesley Snipes. While Mahershala Ali's "Blade" is likely to be an excellent portrayal of the character, perfection was demanded from the film from the start.
First introduced in Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula #10, Blade's vampire hunters have been around since 1973. The Wesley Snipes movie was the first truly successful comic book adaptation and paved the way for franchises such as the MCU. Ironically, however, the scope and plans of the MCU could jeopardize Daywalker's role in the franchise, whose solo Blade movie is only just getting started.
Blade Needs To Introduce Vampires To The MCU
When the MCU first started, both Iron Man and Thor took some steps to focus on the sci-fi aspects of the franchise, even suggesting that Thor's powers were just very complicated science. this is starting to change Doctor Strange, but only with the arrival of Phase 4 of the MCU, magic and fantasy are truly embraced. Properties like Moon Knight and Marvel's Night of the Werewolves have fully embraced the presence of gods and fantastical creatures in the MCU.
This means that when Blade's vampire story reaches MCU Phase 5, it will feel more natural. Ultimately, however, Blade will be responsible for introducing vampires into the franchise, defining their Marvel lore and avoiding conflicts with possible clichés. A movie to define all of this would mean distracting attention from the narrative of Blade as the antihero. While there have been hints of a vampire presence in the MCU as far back as Rocky season 1, it will be an added challenge for Blade to bring the creatures to life.
Blade Has To Pay Off The Dane Whitman Tease
Although Blade does not technically appear in the MCU, Mahershala Ali's voice for the character is heard in the end credits scene of Eternals. This scene suggests that in the MCU Blade will somehow be paired with Dane Whitman, and possibly serve as a form of Nick Fury's character in the MCU's Multiverse Saga. Clearly the blade knows Lots of stuff about Dane Whitman, the family sword he checks out in the end credits, and Whitman's possible role as the Black Knight.
While this suggests Blade has an important and exciting role in the MCU outside of the solo Blade movie, it's another challenge for that solo movie. Since Whitman and Blade meet at the end of the Eternals, Whitman's absence from Blade would be an odd and distracting choice. At the same time, however, including him as part of the story could have prevented Blade from properly focusing on the complex and personal story of the film's protagonist.
While many MCU movies and TV shows leave open questions about where the other heroes fit in the movies and why they can't help. Since Blade has nothing to do with the Avengers and flies under the radar of most hero groups in the MCU for good reason, his connection to Dane Whitman puts the Blade movie at risk of still asking that question. Perhaps the only surefire way to avoid this is to make Blade a prequel origin story and leave Mahershala Ali's character meeting Whitman to the end of that prequel story.
Blade Has To Set Up The MCU's Midnight Sons
While the MCU audience can sometimes be a little too sure that something is coming that doesn't actually happen (like Mephisto), a lot of the groundwork has been laid for the MCU's superteams. In the comics, the Midnight Children are a group of people with superpowers who have a certain moral code that may not align with the Avengers. A large number of characters became part of the Midnight Children at more or less times during their run, but Blade was a particularly noteworthy member.
Some Midnight Sons members appear in the live-action Marvel adaptation, which may complicate the team. This includes Nicolas Cage's Johnny Blaze in the Ghost Rider movies, Finn Jones' Iron Fist in the Netflix TV show, and Jared Leto's Morbius in the Sony universe. The multiverse means that any or all of these characters could join the Midnight Children, but there are many more members who are already in the MCU or confirmed to join soon.
While Black Knight wasn't part of the original lineup, if Blade included him along with the Midnight Sons set, then Dane Whitman was an easy addition to the team. Other members that could be added include Doctor Strange (who will play a larger role in future MCUs), Moon Knight, Night Werewolf, Humanoid, and King. It's unclear when the Midnight Sons project will make its way to the MCU, but with Blade seemingly taking on the role of Nick Fury for the team, Blade needs to at least acknowledge the team.
Since Blade needs to introduce vampires, pay off the setup for Dan Whitman to be the Black Knight, and prepare Blade as leader of the Midnight Children, it has a lot of work to do. While this gives Blade a huge upcoming role in the MCU, it also presents a huge set of challenges for the role as he needs to support so many future MCU plans and team building. If Blade is going to meet all of these challenges, there may not be much room for Blade to tell its own story and become a truly self-contained project that can give the character what he deserves. Ultimately, Blade showcases the strengths and weaknesses of an MCU that has grown so large over the years.