Marvel Studios’ forthcoming Blade reboot has lost its director, Bassam Tariq, less than two months before production was expected to begin, Variety reported Tuesday. The departure could complicate the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s packed schedule, which has Blade premiering Nov. 3, 2023.
Tariq confirmed to Variety he was out as director; but the trade also reported that Tariq is still attached to the project as executive producer. “Eager to see where the next director takes the film,” Tariq told Variety.
Blade, a reboot of Wesley Snipes’ vampire-hunting cult hit from 1998, was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. It is slated to be part of the MCU’s “Phase 5,” announced at SDCC this past July.
Although this film is part of the overall MCU, Blade is a key figure among the super-monsters subgenre that Marvel Comics spun up in several 1970s publications, including crossovers with The Amazing Spider-Man. The most recent screen adaptation from this line of heroes and villains was March’s poorly received (and non-MCU Sony Pictures adaptation) Morbius.
That said, Marvel Studios keeps its releases on a tight schedule and often teases or links them up narratively, in post-credits sequences or the films themselves. If Tariq leaving Blade as director delays the movie overall, it could affect other Phase 5 movies, like May 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 or The Marvels, planned for July 28, 2023.
Blade made his first MCU appearance with actor Mahershala Ali’s voice-over in a post-credits sequence for 2021’s Eternals, in which Blade speaks to The Black Knight, Dane Whitman (played by Kit Harington).