Due to apparent delays with the development and production, Blade's director has exited the project and the film is now looking at rewrites.
Blade star Mahershala Ali was cast back in 2019, fresh off playing Cottonmouth in the Netflix Marvel series, Luke Cage. By July 2021, it was reported that Bassam Tariq would be the director. However, aside from Ali’s Blade speaking to Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) off-screen at the end of the Eternals (2021), nothing new was heard about the film.
Now that Blade has lost its director, where does this leave the Marvel Studios Phase 5 film? Read on for what we know so far.
Director Tariq exits Blade
The news broke on Twitter by industry insider Jeff Sneider that the Marvel Studios reboot of Blade lost its director.
I’m told BLADE filming has been pushed to November as Marvel searches for a new director. Also hearing Beau DeMayo has come on to work on the script.
— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) September 28, 2022
It was soon confirmed that director Bassam Tariq did indeed drop from the Blade film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel stated the reasons for Tariq’s departure is due to changes in the production schedule:
Due to continued shifts in our production schedule, Bassam is no longer moving forward as director of Blade but will remain an executive producer on the film. We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.
But while Tariq is no longer directing, he is still going to be an executive producer. Speaking to Variety, Tariq stated he was looking forward to where the next director will take the project.
In the same tweet by Jeff Sneider that Blade is looking for a new director, he says that the script is probably being rewritten. He also mentions the new writer being brought on-board is Beau DeMayo (Moon Knight, X-Men '97).
Marvel has not confirmed this development. But, if accurate, DeMayo will be replacing the previous scriptwriter, Stacy Osei-Kuffour. On that note, rumors have surfaced that star Mahershala Ali and the higher ups at Marvel Studios are not completely satisfied with the most recent script.
According to some reports, the last version of the Blade script is only 90 pages long. Moreover, there are only two major action scenes. This would be a far cry from the hyperkinetic martial arts extravaganza of the first Blade film from 1998 which starred Wesley Snipes.
More Blade script details
With news about the potential Blade script rewrites, The Illuminerdi reported supposed details from the current version. These include having Blade take place in the 1920s with more traditional vampires. The film would follow Blade growing into his role leading into the modern age.
— The Illuminerdi (@The_Illuminerdi) September 29, 2022
This is closer to the actual comic book origins of Eric Brooks (aka Blade the Vampire Hunter), who was born in a London Brothel in the late 1920s after his mother was infected by vampire Deacon Frost. He was raised by jazz musician Jamal Afari, who coined his nickname of Blade for his proficiency with knives.
However, the comic book version of Blade had significant differences from the 1998 film version. While he had an extended lifespan and could sense vampires, he did not have the other abilities of superhuman strength, speed, and regeneration. But given the popularity of the Wesley Snipes version, it is likely Mahershala Ali’s Blade would incorporate these later powers.
One key benefit to setting it farther in the past is that Blade would be consistent with the other superhero horror project Marvel Studios is releasing: Werewolf By Night. Perhaps this would lead to the supernatural corner of the MCU being a shadow war that happened that most were not aware of, leading to the Midnight Sons.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe reboot of Blade is targeting a theatrical release date of November 23, 2023.