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Sunday, February 26, 2006

NEW YORK COMIC-CON: SPIKE TV/BLADE PANEL

Geoff Johns signs for fans after Spike TV/ Blade panel.

NEW YORK -- The upcoming Blade televison series figures to have a few Marvel guest-stars, it was revealed Saturday at the Spike TV/Blade panel at New York Comic-Con.

Comics writer Geoff Johns, who co-wrote the pilot movie with David Goyer and serves as a consulting producer, hinted at who might be in the show.

"There's a new adversary for Blade that we took from the comics," said Johns, who is writing two episodes. "We had to reinvent him a bit, but it's going to be pretty cool."

Johns also said that a name of a character will be mentioned in the pilot episode that Marvel fans should pick up on. When asked in the Nightstalkers will appear, Johns said, "Probably. Eventually. Kind of."

And, he said, "We might have a couple of characters from Marvel comics that you might surprised about."

The series kicks off on Spike TV on June 28 at 10 p.m. Thirteen episodes are planned for the first season. The two-hour pilot has been shot and production will begin in mid-March in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the remaining 11 episodes.

Johns was joined at the panel by Jim Rosenthal, president of New Line Television, and Bill McGoldrick, vice-president of original programming for Spike TV. They fielded questions from the audience pertaining to both the TV series and the movie franchise and debuted a new action-filled trailer for the series.

In other notes from the panel:

* Rosenthal said that although there are currently no plans for a fourth Blade theatrical film, he doesn't consider the franchise dead as a feature property.

"The third movie did very well for us, and there's room for more," he said.

* The series will take place right after Blade: Trinity. "It follows the movie continuity pretty tightly," Johns said. "We'll have some characters from the movies."

* All of the panelists agreed that Spike TV was a perfect place for Blade and McGoldrick said it figures to at least push FX-level of mature content.

"It has a lot of violence and ass-kicking, which fits our demographic," McGoldrick said.

"There's so much action that you can't see on TV, but you can seen on Spike," Johns said. "You can push the boundaries with Blade, which is good because Blade likes that."

* Johns on why Blade film star Wesley Snipes isn't in the TV series: "He's a movie star. He doesn't have time for a weekly television schedule."

* Kirk "Sticky" Jones takes over the role. "Sticky is finding his voice as the character," Johns said, adding that his martial arts skills continue to improve.

* Johns said the series will allow an exploration of Blade's character and his background. The fifth episode will show where Blade got his tattoos and what their meaning is.

* Johns named one of the characters in the pilot, Marcus Van Sciver, after his Green Lantern artist Ethan Van Sciver.

* Chen is now Blade's go-to-guy for weapons and gadgets. Johns said Blade has a "pretty deep" history with Chen.

* Randy Quaid guest-stars as a professor in an episode dealing with vampire ash addicts. Johns explained that if someone snorts vampire ashes, they take on vampires power, but the change is only temporary and with dire after-effects.

* The show's writers just broke down the ninth episode.

* McGoldrick said that Marvel had "a lot" of input into the show.

* Johns said Blade will have a wide array of weapons, but the sword will remain the favorite. "His name is Blade," Johns said.

* Love interests for Blade? "He'll have a lot," Johns said.



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