Marvel's Blade Reboot Somehow Stumbled into Yet Another Scandal

If only there was an expression for this.

New Line Cinema

Marvel is no stranger to long-gestating projects. Captain America: Brave New World has been delayed and reworked long enough to warrant a title change, and its McDonald’s toys are releasing months before the actual movie. But that’s nothing compared to one of Marvel’s most exciting projects suffering delay after delay and obstacle after obstacle over the course of five years. Though the studio hasn’t abandoned the movie, the whole affair has become remarkably personal.

Blade, the Mahershala-Ali-starring remake of the classic 1998 movie, was announced in July 2019. Since then, the film has experienced delays both out of its control (a global health crisis, the dual writers’ and actors’ strikes) and self-inflicted. So far, six screenwriters have tried to crack Blade’s story, including True Detective mastermind Nic Pizzolatto and former X-Men ‘97 showrunner Beau DeMayo.

An even bigger obstacle has been finding a director. Bassam Tariq was given the job in 2021, but he left the project in 2022, months before filming was supposed to begin. Marvel soon found a replacement in Yann Demange, but last week he announced that he’d also be leaving the project.

Blade was announced at Comic-Con 2019, in the hopeful wake of Avengers: Endgame.

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Blade has been a labor of love for Mahershala Ali, but the investment may be losing its value. Ali’s lawyer, Shelby Weiser, expressed her frustrations with the project to a Hollywood Reporter profile of entertainment lawyers. “That deal was in 2019, and they still haven’t shot it, which is pretty much the craziest thing in my professional experience,” she said.

Stars expressing disappointment in Marvel’s methods isn’t anything new; Scarlett Johanssen even took the studio to court in a dispute over Black Widow’s release strategy. But a lawyer stepping in to express frustration on behalf of a client is a level of disappointment we haven’t seen before.

With Blade’s 2025 release date looking dubious, Weiser’s statement feels like a warning shot. A half-dozen screenwriters and two directors have already walked away from the project; its star could be next, ruining hope of seeing the vampire hunter integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Eternals’ post-credits scene promised. Maybe, however, Marvel will get the message and realize that audiences just want to see Ali stab vampires.

Blade is scheduled (for now) to hit theaters on November 7, 2025.

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