It was towards the end of July it was first reported Bassam Tariq had entered talks to helm the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Blade reboot, but it was only last week that the filmmaker confirmed his involvement. The 34 year-old is a largely unknown quantity, with just one feature film and one documentary under his belt, but Kevin Feige’s outfit is famed for picking directors out of left field that prove to be inspired choices.
Introducing vampirism into the established MCU mythology is going to require some creative world-building, especially when the bloodsucking undead were never mentioned once up until a throwaway line of dialogue from Owen Wilson’s Mobius in Loki. You’d have to imagine that somebody like Nick Fury or organizations including S.H.I.E.L.D. and/or Hydra would have been aware that vampires are real, so it’ll be interesting to see how the fanged elephant in the room is ultimately addressed.
There’s also the looming shadow of Wesley Snipes to contend with, and while two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali is one of the best actors in the business, everything he does is going to be compared to the original iteration of the Daywalker. In a new interview, Tariq admitted that he’s planning to respect the initial Blade trilogy, while still putting his own stamp on the material.
“What’s exciting about the film that we’re making is there hasn’t been a canon for Blade, as we’re reading through the comics and everything. Him being a Daywalker is the one thing that’s been established, and you know we can’t deny what Wesley Snipes did, which was he basically got this whole ball rolling. A Black man created the superhero world that we’re in, that’s just the truth. For me to now be working with somebody as talented and a juggernaut as Mahershala Ali, and the writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, I’m just so honored to be working with real Black juggernauts and Black talent. For me to just be with them in this room and listen and learn as I build this out, it’s really an honor.”
With a star, writer and now director in place, development on Blade is well-placed to start ramping up significantly. There’s no start date for production or release window in place as of yet, but Marvel Studios do have an open slot in October 2023, right around the spookiest time of the year.