James Wan is best known as a horror director, thanks to his years spent in the genre on films like Saw and Insidious. But he’s beginning to break out of that box, first with Furious 7 and now with Aquaman. The DCEU film will be James Wan’s first foray into the realm of superheroes, but not for lack of trying. The director actually pitched a reboot of Marvel’s vampire hunter Blade years ago, as he explained:
It sounds like James Wan went to Marvel Studios coming off his success with 2013’s The Conjuring, looking to capitalize by rebooting the long-dormant vampire hunter. That was his first brush with a comic book property, and given his background as a horror director, you can see why his first thought was to reboot Blade. The director was a fan of the character, and could have brought his horror instincts to the reboot and thus kicked off that side of the supernatural in the MCU.
Obviously nothing ever came of James Wan’s Blade pitch, and he eventually moved on and wound up in the waters of DC, but it is always interesting to think about what might have been. This is just another chapter to the alternate reality stories of the Marvel and DC film universes.
The Aquaman director also told the Happy Sad Confused podcast that he didn’t have a full pitch presentation for a Blade reboot; he just had an idea that he liked. Unfortunately, he no longer remembers what his specific idea was so we are left to speculate. Maybe it’s for the best, because being introduced to a great idea and robbed of it becoming a reality at the same time is a tough pill to swallow.
While James Wan didn’t get to reboot Blade years ago, nobody has done so since. The last Blade film, Blade: Trinity was in 2004. Since then, the MCU has become the dominant force at the box office, adapting weirder and less well-known characters. As such, the calls for a reboot of the vampire hunter have grown ever louder.
Wesley Snipes has been pushing for it and the topic continues to crop up over the years. The time seems as good as any too. The success of Black Panther has shown the appetite for a black superhero, and Blade is one that people are already familiar with just waiting to daywalk again. James Wan may not be the one who does it but presumably someone will get the chance at some point and the idea of having a horror director do it seems right.
As for James Wan, he had the arguably more challenging task of taking a superhero that used to be the butt of jokes and building a massive movie tentpole movie around him, complete with extensive world-building and way fancier special effects than fake teeth and blood splatter.