Marvel Studios should give credit when credit is due, for it was Wesley Snipes that brought fresh blood into the superhero genre when the action star introduced movie audiences to Blade in 1998.
Before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy, it was Blade that helped Marvel take a bite out of the box office with Snipes as the titular 'Daywalker', a half-human, half-vampire slayer whose sole purpose is to rid the world of vampires.
The popularity of Blade led to Blade II (2002), Blade: Trinity (2004), and a short-lived television spin-off with Kirk 'Sticky Fingaz' Jones succeeding Snipes in the role.
Blade led Marvel to carve out successful franchises out of X-Men and Spider-Man, but so-so and modest success with The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Elektra, and The Punisher.
After a three-year jail term for tax evasion, Wesley Snipes is back on the big screen in The Expendables 3, where he joins Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. This latest installment of the blockbuster franchise finds Barney Ross (Stallone) and his crew of old-school mercenaries becoming a target for revenge for Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), an arms dealer who co-founded the Expendables with Ross, who then seeks out new blood to combat this latest threat.
Now, with the possibility of Robert Downey, Jr. suiting for a fourth Iron Man as armored Avenger Tony Stark, there's also the possibility of Snipes returning to Marvel, as the actor admitted to MTV his interest in reprising the role of Blade, one of the few black superheroes ever on the big screen.
Before there was Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, there was Blade.
The Expendables 3 comes out next Friday.