All of the Delays for Mahershala Ali Reboot

Earlier than “Iron Man” and “Thor,” earlier than “Spider-Man” and “X-Men,” there was “Blade.” Starring Wesley Snipes because the titular daywalking half-vampire vampire slayer, the film debuted in 1998 at a time when Marvel comics had but to get pleasure from a profitable function movie adaptation. The New Line Cinema manufacturing was sufficient of a success — grossing $131.2 million worldwide — that Snipes returned for 2 sequels, establishing the corporate’s first ever bona fide film franchise. Had “Blade” bombed, the Marvel Cinematic Universe might by no means have occurred.

So when Marvel Studios introduced in 2019 that two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali was going to carry the character to the MCU, it appeared like a complete no brainer. 

5 years later, nevertheless, “Blade” has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and two main guild strikes, confronted three launch date adjustments, misplaced two administrators, and employed no less than a half dozen screenwriters in what might be essentially the most protracted improvement course of ever for Disney’s superhero division. 

Not like nearly the remainder of the trade, Marvel Studios commits to producing each title it publicizes — typically nicely prematurely of hiring the filmmaking staff that makes them, as was the case with “Blade.” Regardless of all of the delays and setbacks, insiders say the Marvel stays obsessed with getting the movie in entrance of cameras with Ali within the title function.

Right here’s a timeline of each main improvement on “Blade’s” winding street to film theaters.

July 20, 2019: Marvel Studios publicizes “Blade” reboot

Within the ultimate moments of Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige’s blockbuster post-“Avengers: Endgame” presentation at San Diego Comedian-Con, Feige dimmed the lights of Corridor H one ultimate time to debut a title therapy for “Blade,” after which introduced out Ali sporting a baseball cap with the identical emblem. Ali later shared that he pitched himself to Feige for the half after he stored listening to that Marvel was seeking to reboot the “Blade” franchise. However on the time Feige introduced Ali’s involvement, no director or screenwriter was connected to the challenge.

Feb. 5, 2021: Stacy Osei-Kuffour tapped to write down screenplay

Osei-Kuffour wrote on HBO’s “Watchmen” and earned an Emmy nomination for writing a Season 1 episode of Hulu’s “Pen15.”

Andreas Rentz/Getty Photographs

July 19, 2021: Bassam Tariq indicators on to direct

Tariq’s most high-profile film is 2020’s “Mogul Mowgli,” starring Riz Ahmed. He’s additionally made a sequence of documentaries and quick movies, together with “These Birds Walk,” “11/8/16,” “Red Mountain Choir,” “Wa’ad,” “Mogambo” and “Ghosts of Sugar Land.”

Nov. 5, 2021: Ali offers his first efficiency as Blade in Marvel’s “Eternals” — however it’s simply his voice

Ultimately credit scene of the Chloé Zhao movie, Equipment Harington’s character, Dane Whitman, opens an historic field containing the Ebony Blade, a cursed sword that has haunted Dane’s household for generations. Proper as Dane is about to select up the blade, Ali’s voice is heard off digital camera: “Sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?”

Harington informed Selection that, though he knew what was being stated to Dane in that second, he realized Ali was saying it as Blade solely about three weeks earlier than the movie’s premiere. “Chloé texted me saying that’s what they were doing,” Harington stated. “It really excited me, hearing that. He’s one of my favorite actors out there at the moment.” He added that he had “no idea” whether or not the scene means Dane would seem in “Blade.”

“I’m assuming that that would be the case, but who knows?”

Nov. 19, 2021: Delroy Lindo joins forged

The veteran actor (“Da 5 Bloods,” “The Harder They Fall,” “The Good Fight”) signed onto the movie for an undisclosed function.

Feb. 22, 2022: Aaron Pierre joins forged

Pierre, who made his breakthrough efficiency in Barry Jenkins’ restricted sequence “The Underground Railroad,” signed on for an undisclosed function.

July 23, 2022: “Blade” receives an official launch date

Feige introduced at San Diego Comedian-Con that “Blade” would start to shoot that October and would premiere on Nov. 3, 2023.

Sept. 27, 2022: Bassam Tariq exits as director

In a shock announcement, Tariq withdrew because the director of “Blade” roughly two months earlier than the movie was set to start filming. “It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel,” he stated in an announcement. “We were able to put together a killer cast and crew. Eager to see where the next director takes the film.”

Oct. 11, 2022: Launch date pushed to 2024

As a part of a wider change to its launch calendar, Marvel Studios pushed “Blade” from Nov. 3, 2023 to Sept. 6, 2024.

Tim P. Whitby/Getty Photographs for The Crimson Sea Worldwide Movie Competition

Nov. 21, 2022: Yann Demange joins manufacturing as director, and Michael Starrbury joins as screenwriter

Demange began his directing profession on TV exhibits like “Dead Set” and “Top Boy,” and directed the 2014 thriller “’71” and 2018 crime drama “White Boy Rick.” He additionally directed the pilot of the HBO sequence “Lovecraft Country.”

Starrbury — who was employed to write down a model new script for the movie — wrote on exhibits like “Colin in Black & White” and “When They See Us.”

Feb. 14, 2023: Feige says “Blade” will begin manufacturing in “10 weeks or so”

In an interview with Leisure Weekly, Feige stated that work on “Blade” is “going well” and that “cameras roll in, like, the next 10 weeks or so.”

April 12, 2023: Mia Goth joins forged

The actor, who had a breakout yr in 2022 with “X” and “Pearl,” joined for — you guessed it! — an undisclosed function.


April 28, 2023: Nic Pizzolatto indicators on to write down screenplay

Pizzolatto — who first labored with Ali on Season 3 of HBO’s “True Detective” — signed on as a screenwriter simply days earlier than the WGA strike started.

Could 5, 2023: Pre-production on “Blade” shut down throughout writers strike

As Feige had famous earlier within the yr, manufacturing was anticipated to begin on the movie in roughly a month.

June 13, 2023: Launch date pushed to 2025

Amid the continued writers strike and the looming actors strike, Disney pushed again movie releases throughout its total calendar, transferring “Blade” from Sept. 6, 2024 to Feb. 14, 2025.

Nov. 1, 2023: Michael Inexperienced joins as screenwriter 

Selection reported that Feige employed the “Logan” screenwriter to begin recent after Ali was dissatisfied with earlier drafts, together with one which was led by ladies and had Blade because the fourth lead. 

Nov. 9, 2023: Marvel pushes “Blade” again once more

As a part of a company-wide reshuffling following the dual writers and actors strikes, “Blade” was pushed from Feb. 15, 2025 to Nov. 7, 2025.

Dec. 6, 2023: Ali says he’s “sincerely encouraged” by progress on the movie

“We’re working on it. That’s the best I could tell you,” the actor informed Leisure Weekly. “I’m really encouraged with the direction of the project. We’ll be back at it relatively soon. … I’m sincerely encouraged in terms of where things are at and who’s on board and who’s leading the way as far as the writing of the script and the directing and all that. So that’s the extent of what I can tell you.”

March 17, 2024: Aaron Pierre says he’s not in “Blade”

“Early on, there were conversations,” the actor informed Selection on the purple carpet of the fifty fifth NAACP Picture Awards. “As the project evolved, I’m no longer part of that — attached.”

As is the case with nearly all Marvel casting, the studio by no means formally introduced Pierre’s involvement. 

June 12, 2024: Yann Demange exits as director, Eric Pearson joins as screenwriter

Almost two years after taking the directing reins, Demange quietly departed the manufacturing, which was reported weeks later.

In the meantime, veteran Marvel scribe Eric Pearson (“The Fantastic Four,” “Black Widow,” “Thor: Ragnarok”) signed on to write down the script, making him no less than the sixth author to sort out the screenplay, together with “X-Men ’97” head author Beau DeMayo. Hiring Pearson — seen internally as a more in-depth who can carry scripts over the end line — might be essentially the most promising signal but that “Blade” will, lastly, have his day within the solar.


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