The planned reboot for Marvel’s “Blade” now needs a new director as filmmaker Bassam Tariq has exited the project.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tariq exited the film ahead of its fall shooting date. “Blade” is currently scheduled for a November 2023 release.
Marvel’s Blade Loses Director Ahead Of Fall Shoot
THR reports that Blade was scheduled to begin shooting in just a couple of short months in Atlanta, Georgia in November. At the moment, it’s unknown how Tariq’s exit right before production was slated to start will impact production.
Two-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali (“Green Book,” “Moonlight,” “Luke Cage”) is set to start in the titular role, which will reintroduce the vampire hunting Blade, who is also a half-vampire, to audiences as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Actors Delroy Lindo (“Get Shorty”) and Aaron Pierre (“Old”) are also attached to costar in the film.
Marvel Studios confirmed in a statement to the trade that Bassam is no longer continuing with the “due to continued shifts” in the film’s production schedule. Per Marvel, Bassam will remain an executive producer on the reboot. Marvel Studios’ statement also expressed appreciation for the work Bassam has done on the film thus far.
Tariq released his own statement to THR, which sounded amicable. The filmmaker stated, “It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel. We were able to put together a killer cast and crew.” Tariq continued, “Eager to see where the next director takes the film.”
Tariq made his narrative feature directorial debut with 2020’s “Mogul Mowgli,” starring Riz Ahmed. He also directed the documentary feature “11/8/16.’
Uncertainty Regarding The Marvel Reboot
THR’s story also stated that the “Blade” reboot has reportedly undergone at least one start of production shift before, and possibly twice. Additionally, it’s undergone several rounds of script rewrites. Writer Beau DeMayo (“X-Men ’97,” “The Witcher,” “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”) is currently attached as a writer for the film.
One potential challenge facing Marvel is the history of the previous live-action “Blade” movie trilogy starring Wesley Snipes. Those films were very successful and beloved, but they were also all R-rated films.
Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008 with Iron Man, Marvel Studios and later Marvel Studios under Disney have never released a film set in the MCU with an R-rating. The closest the MCU ever came to that was the Netflix television shows, which were all rated TV-MA. However, their connection to the MCU is considerably nebulous at this point.
The reboot could face a potential challenge juggling fan expectations but also attempting to shoot for a wider audience with a lower film rating from the Motion Picture Association.
THR also noted that Marvel Studios is on the hunt for a new director. Ali made a vocal cameo debut as Blade in a post-credits scene for 2021’s “Eternals,” though he did not make a physical appearance.
The character Blade was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Golan, first appearing in Marvel Comics’ “The Tom of Dracula” in 1973. Since that time, Blade has appeared in Marvel animation, his own series of live-action films, an anime TV series, and a short-lived live-action television series on the now-defunct Spike TV.
Marvel’s “Blade” is currently scheduled for a November 3, 2023 theatrical release.