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Marvel Studios is going to take some extra time to sharpen its Blade feature project.
In the wake of parting ways with director Bassam Tariq two weeks ago, the studio is pressing pause on the vampire adventure thriller that is to star Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. Marvel is temporarily shutting down production-related activities in Atlanta, where the project was to have shot starting in November, while it conducts a search for a filmmaker and further develops the feature.
Crewmembers were notified Tuesday, according to a source.
The studio is hoping to restart the production in early 2023. After the publication of this story, Disney pushed Blade from its Nov. 3, 2023, release date to Sept. 6, 2024 — one of a slew of changes due to the film’s delay.
Blade had seen its start of production shift at least a couple of times as it underwent several rounds of script rewrites. Beau DeMayo, who has worked on shows such as Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, The Witcher and its animated feature spinoff, as well as Marvel’s own Moon Knight, is the current writer.
When Tariq left the project, many presumed that a director would be quickly slotted in so the production wouldn’t miss too much time. But in the two weeks that have followed, it became clear that Marvel wanted to slow down and deepen the search. By the same occasion, the studio thought it should take the time to coalesce other aspects of the feature project.
“They want to really get it right,” says one source.
Blade has been one of Marvel’s more anticipated films since the studio announced the project to much fanfare at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019. At the very end of the Marvel panel, Ali made a surprise appearance and put on a baseball cap with the Blade logo. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige later told THR that Ali had personally called him to express interest in playing the character.
Blade was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan for 1973’s The Tomb of Dracula No. 10. He is a half-mortal, half-immortal who hunts vampires in order to avenge his mother, who was killed by a vampire as she gave birth to him. Wesley Snipes previously played the character in a trilogy released in the early 2000s.
Oct. 11, 11:51 a.m. Updated with Blade‘s new release date.
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