It’s already been four years since Marvel first announced its plan to make its own Blade film, starring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali in the title role of a half-vampire, half-human hero who hunts bloodsuckers. And yet here we sit in late 2023 and the movie is still several years away at the very earliest. Production has yet to get underway, and even before the writers’ and ongoing actors’ strikes, there were reports in the media last fall of the film getting put “on hold.”

One would think Blade would not be that tricky of a movie to crack; after all, there was already a trilogy Blade films starring Wesley Snipes, and two of them were quite good and quite financially successful. Combine that premise, with all of its built-in appeal, and a popular and award-winning actor, and Blade should be a slam dunk. Yet it is taking Marvel very long, especially by their standards, to make this reboot a reality.

Blade title card promo photo
Disney, Marvel

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According to a new report in Variety, it’s not for lack of trying. They cite a “personal familiar with the script permutations” to say that as the project has dragged on it has “gone through at least five writers, two directors and one shutdown six weeks before production.” They claim that the premise of the film at “one point morphed into a narrative led by women and filled with life lessons” with Blade “relegated to the fourth lead.” That sounds genuinely bizarre. It’s a Blade movie! (Then again, a recent report claimed that Marvel’s first attempt at Daredevil: Born Again, which has since been scrapped, did not feature an in-costume appearance by its title character “until the fourth episode.” So perhaps it is of a piece.)

Supposedly Logan writer Michael Green is now working on a new draft of the Blade script, and Marvel is hoping to make the film on “a budget of less than $100 million.” The money is far less concerning, at least to me, than the sheer number of writers and rewrites, and the fact that Marvel, whose creative instincts seemed infallible not so long ago, are apparently unsure how to proceed with a relatively straightforward premise.

Blade is currently scheduled for release in theaters on February 14, 2025. We’re still waiting for Ali’s version of the character to make his full-fledged onscreen debut. Four years later, the closest we’ve come is an off-camera cameo in the end credits of Eternals — an appearance so brief and obtuse, people weren’t even sure it was him until Marvel confirmed it after the fact.

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