All seems right in the Marvel universe again. At least for now. The behind-the-scenes situation with Blade seemed murky following the surprising announcement of Bassam Tariq’s departure from the future Marvel film. Now, directors come and go in Hollywood features all the time; however, it’s virtually unheard of for a filmmaker to be fired within weeks of filming. Originally, Blade was supposed to start production on November 2022, but the word going around was that both Marvel and Mahershala Ali were unhappy with the script. Reportedly, the original Blade script was only 90 pages long and had only two action scenes in it.
“Due to continued shifts in our production schedule, Bassam is no longer moving forward as director of Blade but will remain an executive producer on the film. We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.” That was Disney’s release statement confirming the departure of Bassam. Once Tariq was canned, there were some questions as to whether the studio would be able to hire a director within six weeks and churn out a script quickly. Realistically, it’s not impossible to do this; however, any possibility of the film being good would’ve been thrown out the window. Wisely, Disney opted to change their release, and now Blade is scheduled for September 6, 2024.
This means that Disney cares about the quality of its product and isn’t simply looking to rush out anything to meet a deadline. Since then, there haven’t been many updates about the Blade film. Until now. Variety has confirmed that Yann Demange has now stepped into the director’s chair of the upcoming Marvel pic. Demange has notably done White Boy Rick – the 2018 Matthew McConaughey film about Richard Wershe Jr. (played by Richie Merritt), who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was eventually arrested for drug trafficking and sentenced to life in prison. Demange also did ’71, which was about a disoriented British soldier (played by Jack O’Connell) who is abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast. However, Demange’s biggest calling card is the pilot episode of Lovecraft Country.
In addition, Michael Starrbury will take over the reins as the screenwriter. The Emmy winner has a notable slate of projects on his resume, including When They See Us, Legends of Chamberlain Heights, and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete. He replaces the original screenwriter Stacy Osei-Kuffour. According to the report, the Blade film will be “darker than most MCU movies.” Given the title character, it makes sense why a darker direction is the primary focus, though could Blade be an R-rated feature like the Wesley Snipes versions? It’s unlikely since Blade will come under the Marvel Cinematic Universe; however, there’s been no discussions about the film’s ratings, so it remains unknown.
Hopefully, if Blade is PG-13, it doesn’t make the mistake that Morbius made by purposefully pandering to the rating, so it targets everyone. A strong story should always come first, and the action is incredibly important, though a rating doesn’t always determine a good or bad film, take Hellboy, for example. The Guillermo del Toro features were beloved by critics and hardcore fans despite its PG-13 rating; however, the reboot with David Harbour was a strong R, and that film was a complete mess that drastically failed at the box office. The problems with Blade have pushed back a slew of Marvel films, including Deadpool 3, Fantastic Four, and Avengers: Secret Wars. With Starrbury and Demange leading the anti-hero, this should lead to a promising future for the upcoming film. Reportedly, the production of Blade will start sometime in Spring 2023.
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