What’s going on with Blade, Marvel’s most cursed reboot?

Marvel Studios just can’t seem to shift its Blade-shaped headache, as the heavily delayed blockbuster starring Mahershala Ali lost its second director Yann Demange just a few days ago.

Announced at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con International as part of the company’s Phase 5 rollout, this tantalizing reboot not only stars a double Oscar winner in the lead role previously played by Wesley Snipes in three pre-MCU films. between 1998 and 2004, but also a richly dark 51-year comic history to draw from.

Along with this summer’s Deadpool & Wolverine and next year’s The Fantastic Four, Blade has the potential to be one of Marvel’s most indelible outings yet – so what’s going on?

WESLEY SNIPES, BLADE II, 2002WESLEY SNIPES, BLADE II, 2002

Wesley Snipes in the 2002 sequel Blade II, directed by Guillermo del Toro. (New line cinema)

Tellingly, it took two years for this vampire hunter’s awakening to settle on a director: Mogul Mowgli’s Bassam Tariq. However, two months before the planned start date of production, he officially left the director’s chair while staying on as executive producer.

“It was an honor to work with the great people at Marvel. We managed to put together an incredible cast and crew. I’m excited to see where the next director takes the film,” Tariq’s farewell statement said.

The film’s planned release was subsequently pushed back from November 3, 2023 to September 6, 2024.

Berlin, Germany.  February 21, 2020. 70th Berlinale, Photocall, Panorama, Mogul Mowgli: director and screenwriter Bassam Tariq.  The International Film Festival takes place from 20.02.  until 01.03.2020.  Credit: Gregor Fischer/dpa/Alamy Live NewsBerlin, Germany.  February 21, 2020. 70th Berlinale, Photocall, Panorama, Mogul Mowgli: director and screenwriter Bassam Tariq.  The International Film Festival takes place from 20.02.  until 01.03.2020.  Credit: Gregor Fischer/dpa/Alamy Live News

Bassam Tariq. (Gregor Fischer/dpa/Alamy Live News)

Yann Demange, director of the underrated Troubles thriller ’71 and TV horror series Dead Set, was announced as Bariq’s replacement in November ’22.

Considering his 2018 Matthew McConaughey film White Boy Rick, this was a promising appointment indeed, but the simultaneous WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes of 2023 halted Blade’s planned filming last June.

Five months later, as part of a company-wide reshuffle and without footage, Blade’s theatrical unveiling was postponed until November 25.

Between then and June ’24, Demange quietly became the second director to leave Blade, with an official announcement from Variety confirming that this unfortunate separation was at least amicable.

At the time of writing, a third filmmaker has yet to be chosen. Quentin Tarantino is free, I’m just saying…

Director Yann Demange poses for photographers as he arrives at the premiere of the film 'White Boy Rick' in London, Tuesday, November 27, 2018. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)Director Yann Demange poses for photographers as he arrives at the premiere of the film 'White Boy Rick' in London, Tuesday, November 27, 2018. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Yann Demange. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

While it’s not all that uncommon for screenwriters to come and go on a big screen, Blade has seen at least six writers review the script.

Watchmen’s Osei-Kuffour was the first to be added in 2021, but his concept was picked up by When They See Us writer Michael Starrbury the following year.

Leading man Ali’s old True Detective pal Nic Pizzolatto was brought on board in 2023, but even his efforts weren’t good enough. Logan’s Michael Green started from scratch, according to Variety, after Blade was apparently relegated to fourth place in the previous female-driven storyline.

However, Marvel ultimately ended up with a safe pair of hands with someone closer to home: Black Widow and Thor: Ragnarok writer Eric Pearson, who came in when Demange left.

Let’s see if he can give Blade the return he deserves.

Mahershala Ali at the Netflix premiere in New York Mahershala Ali at the Netflix premiere in New York

In any case, the two-time Oscar-winning actor seems determined to get Blade made. (John Nacion/Variety via Getty Images)

Despite all this chaos behind the scenes, Ali is a constant on the Blade team. Even his attorney Shelby Weiser seems perplexed, recently telling The Hollywood Reporter, “That deal was in 2019, and they still haven’t done it, which is about the craziest thing in my professional experience.”

In 2020, the star recalled pitching himself to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige after hearing about the reboot’s development.

“I just wanted to be considered for it because, at least in my mind, I definitely connected with Wesley Snipes going back to high school,” Ali explained. “People joke and say we looked alike and stuff.

“I just brought it up as someone who really wanted to take that (Blade) role and tackle it. He’s a little bit darker than some of the others and so that element was appealing to me.”

It would be foolish to pass up bringing something new and ferocious to the MCU, and he clearly knows that. The chance to work opposite co-stars Mia Goth and Delroy Lindo isn’t too bad either.

Blade currently has a release date of November 7, 2025.