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PHILADELPHIA -- Richard Roundtree will be playing Blade's father in an episode of Spike TV's upcoming Blade: The series, consulting producer Geoff Johns revealed Saturday at a Wizard World Philadephia panel about the show.

"It's awesome, it's going to be really cool," Johns said.

Roundtree, forever linked as Shaft, was recently in Sci Fi's Painkiller Jane movie. He also played John Henry Irons' uncle in the Steel feature film.

Episode 8 of the series will feature a Year One approach, Johns said, showing Blade growing up. The series will fill in the gaps about the character's life, including why got his tattoos and what they mean.

Johns was joined on the panel by Lisa Ullmann, Spike TV's director of original series, and they fielded questions after showing a trailer for the show.

* Marc Spector is mentioned in the trailer, and Johns said the show's producers would like to use Moon Knight as some point.

Johns said he would really like use Union Jack and Baron Blood in the series, and there's been talk of the Nightstalkers returning.

Morbius is doubtful, Johns said, because his rights are tied to the Spider-Man film franchise.

Asked about Dracula, Johns said, "Dracula's dead."

* Steppin' Razor, an obscure early 1990s character who appeared in both Ghost Rider and Blade comics, has been updated for the television series.

Ullman told The Continuum that he will be played by Bokeen Woodbine, whose TV credits include Bones and CSI: Miami.

* Johns said it's possible other characters from the film franchise will be used in the series, as it is in continuity with the three movies. He noted that the Reapers from Blade II have been discussed, but, "I don't know if they'll come back."

* Whistler will be featured in his younger days, even before he injured his leg.

* Blade: The Series will be shot with a Spike TV cut, as well as an R-rated version for DVD release.

* Johns said Blade is a "different animal" than shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel. "This is Spike TV," he said, "so that means a lot more people die."

* Johns said that David Goyer, who wrote all three Blade films and directed Blade: Trinity, is very involved with the series as executive producer. "Goyer wanted all 13 episodes to be one big movie with a conclusion," Johns said, "but have plot threads that go into Season 2."

Johns said he's read Goyer's first draft for a Flash feature film at Warner Bros. "It's frickin' awesome," Johns said. "And I'm a tough critic when it comes to the Flash."

* The series follows the third movie, and Johns said it will be explained why all vampires didn't die with the Daystar Virus.

* Johns said his favorite vampire in the series is Charlotte, a pureblood, for "reasons that you'll have to see."

Episode 10 is currently filming in Vancouver, and scripts are being worked on for the 12th and 13th episodes.

* The show will explore the vampire world, including the 12 houses formed after a vampire civil war. Johns said there will be different types of vampires.

* Johns praised the work as Kirk "Sticky" Jones as Blade, saying that he was a big fan of comics and understood the world. When it was suggested the Jones, a rapper for Black Onyx, provide music for the series, Johns said, "That's interesting. That's a really good idea."

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