Wesley Snipes' original Blade first vanquished those thirsty bloodsuckers 21 years ago, yet interestingly, studio New Line Cinema was just a stone's throw away from introducing another Marvel favorite in the same movie: Dr Michael Morbius (aka Morbius the Living Vampire).
Oscar-winner Jared Leto might be donning the lab coat and fangs for next year's Sony Marvel Universe spectacle Morbius but thanks to a Blade alternate ending, fans of Old Bitey Mike might begin to wonder why he wasn't brought into the cinematic fold much earlier.
Director Stephen Norrington (who also played the character) shot the scene because of screenwriter David S Goyer's penchant for multiple endings, but it looks like Morbius' entrance wasn't strong enough to close out Eric Brooks' big-screen debut.
Check it out below.
As you can see, the movie would have concluded with Morbius appearing on a rooftop stalking Blade and his companion Dr Karen Jenson as they discuss their next move. After the vampiric baddie is pointed out in the distance, the "Daywalker" unsheathes his sword and readies himself for battle.
According to Fortress of Solitude, this final sequence was intended to set up the plot for Blade 2 (released in 2002), but the studio clearly went down another route on that project, instead bringing in director Guillermo del Toro and featuring a pack of mutant vampires (Reapers) as its antagonists.
Fans of the first instalment will remember that the official final scene sees Snipes' superhuman hunter trek to Moscow, where he continues his vengeful blade-wielding quest in the snowy capital. Here, the actor's even given the chance to polish up on his Russian, which was... cool?
And yet we can't shake off the notion of Morbius' failed introduction – how might Blade 2 have differed if he'd stuck around in that alternate ending and subsequent sequel?
Well, in the original Marvel comics, one particular series (Daywalker) saw Blade and the biochemist-turned-bat-creature battle in the towering New York City streets. Interestingly, this storyline also witnessed Spider-Man getting in on the action – taking Blade's side before Morbius eventually bites his hunter.
But fear not, our stylish hero not only survives but becomes even stronger.
Consider this for a tasty slice of fan-fiction: tying in with Sam Raimi's same-year release of the first Spider-Man movie, Blade and Tobey Maguire's web-slinger collaborate on the big screen for Blade 2, adapting this Daywalker comic series and waging war against the Living Vampire.
Now that's a movie to get your Spider-Senses tingling (no offense to Jared Nomak).
Meanwhile, Life's Daniel Espinosa is stepping behind the camera for 2020's Morbius and we know that the action will be displayed through the prism of an origin story – very different to the Blade version of the character, who seemed fully established on screen.
Arriving 22 years after Blade's release, Leto's Living Vampire will be an anti-hero rather than the villainous neck-muncher of the early Marvel comics. Here, former Doctor Who star Matt Smith will instead provide the snarling antagonism, with reports suggesting he'll portray a re-worked incarnation of the super-villain Hunger, known as Loxias Crown (via The Hashtag Show).
But Morbius doesn't wander alone when it comes to scrapped Marvel characters in the original Blade trilogy, as the lycanthropic Werewolf by Night was also discarded on the cutting-room floor for Blade: Trinity.
Luckily for fans, the evidence of the beast's intended appearance survives on YouTube.
Switching to six months in the future, Ryan Reynolds' character Hannibal King swaggers through a casino during the alternate ending, where he's pursuing some kind of enemy.
"Ain't no more vampires left King, so who d'ya want to hunt?" badgers a staff member, before Reynolds typically quips: "Well, that is a great question my friend and I've got one for you: what do you get when you cross a vampire with a werewolf?
"You get a fur coat that sticks to your neck..." he adds, brandishing his weapon as the wolfman tears into shot.
Could this big dog be the next star of his own origin tale?
Morbius will fly into cinemas on July 31, 2020.
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