There is a lot to look forward to from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the many upcoming Marvel movies heading to theaters and many upcoming Marvel TV shows to stream on Disney+. However, one of the most hotly anticipated projects is Marvel’s Blade movie.
The reboot is still a subject of mystery for fans looking forward to seeing the big screen return of the most iconic vampire hunter in comic book history, especially with two-time Academy Award winner (and one-time rap artist) Mahershala Ali in the title role. For anyone who feels like they have been waiting a vampire’s infinite lifespan for the latest Blade movie, perhaps we can bring you up to speed on the latest updates in the MCU flick's development, starting from the beginning.
Talk Of A New Blade Movie Dates Back To 2009
The first Blade movie, starring Wesley Snipes as the titular hunter (named Eric Brooks at birth), is remembered as one of the best Marvel movies before the MCU was established. The R-rated 1998 adaptation spawned two sequels and a short-lived TV series in 2006. It was only a couple years later when Snipes began leading the conversation of bringing the half-man, half-vampire back to the big screen.
After a prequel movie proposed in June 2009 went nowhere, Wesley Snipes expressed interest in Blade 4 the following year -- just as the MCU was really starting to heat up. Soon enough, Kevin Feige was asked about adding Blade to the universe, teasing how he and Marvel Studios have discussed it, but to no avail. Less than a year after The Conjuring director James Wan revealed he once pitched a Blade reboot in 2018, the MCU's role in the conversation took a major step forward.
MCU’s Blade Reboot, Starring Mahershala Ali, Was Confirmed In July 2019
More than 20 years after Marvel’s vampire hunter became a comic book movie favorite, Kevin Feige announced that an MCU reboot of Blade was in development during Marvel Studios’ San Diego Comic Con panel in 2019. The confirmation came with the reveal that Mahershala Ali, who had previously played another MCU character ("Cottonmouth" on Luke Cage), would take over the title role, having pitched the idea to Feige in the first place.
Despite years of campaigning to return to the role, Wesley Snipes gave the Blade reboot his blessing, citing Ali as "a beautiful and talented artist whose expressions I look forward to experiencing for many years to come." "Daywalkers" (Blade fans) also began suggesting that the MCU should at least give Snipes a part, perhaps as Blade’s mentor, Whistler. We will just have to wait and see about that.
Watchmen Writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour Was Tapped To Write Blade In February 2021
Other than Mahershala Ali teasing his Blade look with concept art in May 2020, updates on the reboot were scarce for more than a year since its announcement. That was until February of 2021 when the movie first found a scribe. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios hired Stacy Osei-Kuffour to pen the script for Blade.
This would have been the second comic book adaptation, after HBO’s Watchmen series, that the writer (who earned an Emmy nomination for an episode of the Hulu original comedy PEN15) worked on. Not to mention, Osei-Kuffour would have also been the first Black woman to write an MCU movie.
Bassam Tariq Was Tapped To Direct Blade
As soon as the Blade reboot was announced, conversations and rumors of who would be at the helm immediately began to swirl. At one point Jordan Peele’s name was thrown around before the Oscar winner told Rolling Stone that it was not the right time for him to live out what he still referred to as "a filmmaker’s dream." Deadpool 2 director David Leitch also expressed interest to ScreenRant around the same time.
The search for the new Blade director ended (or was put on pause, more accurately), as Deadline reported in July 2021, with the selection of Bassam Tariq. The Pakistani filmmaker, who started out with documentaries, had released his BAFTA-nominated feature-length debut, Mogul Mowgli (starring Academy Award nominee Riz Ahmed), just a year before landing what would have been the biggest gig of his career so far.
Kevin Feige Caused A Stir Regarding Blade And Future Marvel Movie Ratings
Not every announcement with the Blade reboot has been a means for celebration in the eyes of fans. During Marvel Studios’ panel at the Television Critics Association in February 2021, Kevin Feige had this to say when asked about the MCU’s future with more adult-oriented programming:
At first glance, the above quote does not seem to have anything to do with Marvel’s upcoming vampire hunter movie, but fans took it as a potential sign that the reboot could be the first Blade movie to get a PG-13 rating. This would be disappointing to some, given that the, literally, blood-soaked source material typically demands no less than an R. Not to mention, since Marvel Studios previously confirmed Deadpool’s risqué nature would stay the same in the MCU, there is no reason Blade should not receive the same treatment.
The Blade Cast Also Features An Iconic Acting Veteran And A Former DC TV Show Star
Outside of the announcement of Mahershala Ali in the title role at the very beginning, details of who would be joining the Oscar winner on the Blade cast were scarce until later in 2021. That November, Delroy Lindo (known for Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and, more recently, Da 5 Bloods) joined the cast for what will be his second shot at joining the MCU. The actor previously starred in an unaired pilot for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off Marvel’s Most Wanted in 2016.
Also announced as a Blade cast member in early 2022 was Aaron Pierre, whose previous experience acting in a comic book adaptation was his role on Syfy’s Superman prequel series Krypton as Dev-Em. The British actor is also known from the Amazon Prime miniseries The Underground Railroad and M. Night Shyamalan’s Old cast as Mid-Sized Sedan.
Blade Has, Technically, Already Made His MCU Debut
With anticipation for the new Blade movie growing with every waking moment, it appears that Marvel Studios was kind enough to give fans a taste of its upcoming take on the character in a recent MCU installment. However, it would be understandable if the tease was initially unnoticed by some fans.
In the post-credits scene for Eternals -- Oscar winner Chloé Zhao’s adaptation of Jack Kirby’s ageless heroes -- Dane Whitman (former Game of Thrones cast member Kit Harrington) is about to pick up a sword, seemingly to fulfill his destiny as the Black Knight, before he hears a voice asking if he is sure he wants to do that. That voice belonged to Mahershala Ali as Blade, which Zhao would later confirm to Fandom.
Blade Was Reportedly Meant To Start Filming In July 2022
We cannot exactly say when Mahershala Ali’s Blade will show up in the MCU next, nor if it will be in his own movie. In fact, it was not until March 2021 when Marvel Studios revealed that the thriller would begin filming in September of that year, only for that date to change by a wide margin soon after.
On May 5, 2021, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Blade’s production schedule had been pushed from September 2021 all the way to the following July, which Production Weekly also confirmed. The reason for the delay, as the THR article explained, was so Stacy Osei-Kuffour could spend more time on the script.
What Is The MCU Blade Movie's Release Date?
On the morning of May 3, 2021, Marvel Studios released a "Hype Video" to get fans excited for all that was to come in Phase 4, including the reveal of Black Panther II’s full title (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), and movies set for release in 2023. However, there were a few things missing from the video, such as any mention of Blade whatsoever.
Luckily, fans would only have to wait another year to learn that the movie was finally given a release date of November 3, 2023, during Marvel's Hall H Panel at 2022's San Diego Comic-Con. It was in October 2022 when the movie's release date was pushed back nearly another year -- September 6, 2024, to be exact -- due to recent circumstances causing yet another production delay.
Director Bassam Tariq Dropped Out Of Blade In 2022
A little more than a year after finding a replacement to helm Blade after David Leitch left the project, Marvel Studios would have to go back to the drawing board again. On September 27, 2022, The Hollywood Reporter released an exclusive report announcing that Bassam Tariq was no longer directing the project with "continued shifts in [the studio's] production schedule" cited as the reason. The film's production would then go on hold, once again.
Blade Found New Director And Writer In Late 2022
In November 2022, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Yann Demange was brought on as Bassam Tariq's replacement to helm the Blade reboot, which reportedly starts shooting in summer 2023, according to CBR. The Parisian filmmaker's feature-length efforts include 2014's '71 and 2018's White Boy Rick, but he is arguably best known for directing the thrilling pilot for HBO's Emmy-winning horror series, Lovecraft Country.
THR also mentions that Michael Starrbury has been tapped to pen a brand new script for the film. The writer is best known for his work on Ava Duvernay-produced shows like When They See Us (which earned him an Emmy nomination) and Colin in Black and White. At this time, Blade is still on track to hit theaters on September 6, 2024.
It looks like fans still have plenty of time to stream the first Blade movie -- also starring Stephen Dorff, who is apparently not looking forward to MCU's reboot -- and its sequels and rewatch all the Marvel movies in order before the reboot brings the character back from the dead. Hopefully, the "Daywalkers" can also stand to wait a bit longer. We also hope that Kevin Feige and company agree with ScreenRant that having both Blade and Deadpool in the MCU is another great opportunity for Ryan Reynolds to poke fun at his previous career in comic book movies.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.