“What did one blade of grass say to the other? ‘Without a director, it’s really hard to make dew.’” That’s why Disney decided to push back production on the upcoming Marvel film Blade after losing its original director, Bassam Tariq. However, there is now a new director ready to master the art of the Blade franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lovecraft Country’s Yann Demange is set to take over directing duties for the project that has been in paused for a while. Joining Demange to steer the film in a new direction is Emmy-nominated writer Michael Starrbury as the new screenwriter. The film, which stars Mahershala Ali in the titular role as well as Mia Goth, Aaron Pierre and Delroy Lindo, was scheduled to begin production this November, with a November 3, 2023, release date. But with the new team on board to start, Disney is giving them a little bit more time with a production start date of 2023 and a new September 6, 2024 release. There’s no word yet on if the new release date will push the project into the Phase 6 Marvel plans.
Marvel has said that Tariq’s removal is due to production issues, not artistic differences. “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,” Marvel stated to THR on September 27. “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.” Tariq released his own statement, calling it an “honor” to work with Marvel on the film.
The film was announced in 2019 as part of Marvel: Phase Four and reportedly went through a number of revisions; Beau DeMayo had allegedly tapped in for rewrites of Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s script, but Marvel has not made any statements about the writing credits of the film. Ali as Blade made a brief appearance in the post-credits scene of Eternals, solidifying his place in the MCU as the character earlier than expected. Turns out there are worse things out tonight than vampires — they’re called production delays.
This post has been updated throughout.