Since Marvel Studio President Kevin Feige's presentation at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, Marvel Studios has announced a future slate of over twenty projects across Disney+ and theatrical releases. Out of all the projects announced alongside the original Phase 4 slate, none is more mysterious than Blade, a vampire-hunting solo film led by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali.
With two years already passed since the film's announcement, there has been minimal progress on the production. A director has yet to be announced, however, Stacy Osei-Kuffour is reportedly set to pen the script. Given the Watchmen writer was only recruited to the project in February this year, the film likely remains in the scripting stage with production not expected to begin until 2022.
Currently, Marvel Studios' slate for Phase 4 and beyond consists of twenty-five projects. Based on this, it can be assumed some may not hit until Phase 5. Some of Feige's past statements have indicated Blade may serve as the beginning of the MCU's next chapter with the film reported to be the furthest away.
However, Blade's release being so far off doesn't seem to be stopping Marvel Studios from beginning to plant the seeds for it as the latest episode of Loki dropped a subtle reference to the vampire hunter's world.
LOKI HINTS AT BLADE IN LATEST EPISODE
During Loki's fourth episode, “The Nexus Event,” Owen Wilson's Mobius referenced familiar Marvel beings the TVA has captured, such as “Kree, Titans, [and] vampires:”
MOBIUS: “You know, we brought in Kree, Titans, vampires.”
While the Kree is a clever nod to the alien race found in Captain Marvel, and Titans are a clear reference to Thanos who hails from the planet Titan, the mention of vampires has significant implications on one future MCU project.
Blade, who will be played by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali in an upcoming solo film, is a half-vampire who dedicates his superhero career to hunting supernatural beings. Until recently, the character has always flown solo, however, recent Marvel Comics have seen the vampire hunter finally join the Avengers.
While minor references and jokes toward vampires have been made in the MCU before, this is the first definitive confirmation that the blood-sucking creatures exist somewhere on the timeline.
COULD BLADE DEBUT BEFORE HIS SOLO FILM?
Unfortunately, viewers shouldn't get their hopes up for any further setup for Blade or vampires in Loki since this was likely a clever reference on writer Michael Waldron's part. But, with so long still to go until the Ali-led solo flick eventually hits theaters, it would be exciting to see him show up in another Marvel project before that point.
Given the horror approach Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is said to be taking, the highly-anticipated blockbuster would make a fitting point to introduce the supernatural side of the Marvel universe.
Intriguingly, Waldron is also penning the script for the upcoming magical sequel. With Loki already setting the stage for much of that film's plot, could the genius writer set up vampires to debut in the MCU sooner than expected?
Since the TVA have been policing the entirety of reality, it isn't surprising to hear they've had every kind of creature and alien race through their doors at one point or another. The Kree are a highly important race in the Marvel universe, having already made their presence known in the MCU through Captain Marvel.
However, this isn't the first reference Loki has made to the Kree as the near-apocalypse moon of Lamentis-1 from last week's episode is said to be on the edge of Kree space within Marvel Comics.
Mobius' reference to Titans, the alien race to which Infinity War and Endgame villain Thanos belongs, is particularly interesting given the interaction the Mad Titan had with the Infinity Stones. With the excess of Infinity Stones around the TVA offices, Nexus events involving them are clearly a common occurrence.
Loki's use of the Space Stone to escape capture in Avengers: Endgame is what turned him into a Variant, so it would make sense if there were versions of Thanos that also used the stones to stray off the Sacred Timeline.
Ultimately, it's a struggle to imagine the TVA's Minutemen managing to apprehend a being capable of controlling the power of the Infinity Stones, raising the question of where all those Infinity Stones came from.
As Marvel continues to dive into the weird and wacky side of its universe, it will likely continue to make reference to some of its crazier creations such as vampires and other alien races.
While Blade is yet to set an official release date, the first four episodes of Loki are streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.