The MCU Blade is cursed. Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to the character way back in 2011, though it wasn’t until 2019 that Kevin Feige unveiled a new take on the character and confirmed Mahershala Ali would star as the daywalker.
Since then Blade has been trapped in development hell, losing its original director Bassam Tariq, having its production start date repeatedly pushed back, total script rewrites, and was severely affected by the Hollywood strikes.
Now Variety has published a wide-ranging expose about behind-the-scenes troubles at Marvel Studios that touches on Blade, and one tidbit of information has our eyebrow raised so far it’s in danger of going into orbit:
“With Mahershala Ali signed on for the eponymous role of a vampire, things looked promising for a 2023 release date. But the project has gone through at least five writers, two directors and one shutdown six weeks before production. One person familiar with the script permutations says the story at one point morphed into a narrative led by women and filled with life lessons. Blade was relegated to the fourth lead, a bizarre idea considering that the studio had two-time Oscar winner Ali on board.”
Let the record show that we are in no way opposed to a female-led narrative that delivers life lessons, but perhaps an action movie about a leather-clad vampire slicing and impaling armies of evil vampires is not the place to do it. And relegating Blade to a bit part in a Blade movie? Perhaps not the smartest move.
This script has thankfully been tossed in the trash, though not before Ali threatened to walk:
“Amid reports that Ali was ready to exit over script issues, Feige went back to the drawing board and hired Michael Green, the Oscar-nominated writer of “Logan,” to start anew. Speculation around town is that the studio is looking to make the film, now slated for 2025, on a budget of less than $100 million — a deviation from Marvel’s big-spending strategy.”
Well on one hand bringing the Logan writer in to write Blade is a promising move. On the other, dramatically cutting its budget below that of other MCU movies may not bode well. Let’s be optimistic and hope that the money is spent on a grounded street-level story that sticks to Blade story basics.
Then again, at this point perhaps they should just retroactively fold the existing Blade movies into the MCU and bring back Snipes for one last vampire-staking B-movie romp.