After a search that has taken many months to complete, Marvel has finally landed on a director to helm their highly anticipated reboot of Blade. Although the deal is not quite complete, Deadline is reporting that Bassam Tariq has been chosen by Marvel president Kevin Feige to introduce vampire hunter Blade to a new generation.
If the name is unfamiliar, don’t feel bad. Tariq has one feature on his resume, that being Mogul Mowgli, co-written by Tariq along with Riz Ahmed. Other than that film, Tariq’s career has revolved around a few documentaries (These Birds Walk, 11/8/16, Mogambo, and Ghosts of Sugar Land) and a couple of shorts (Red Mountain Choir and Wa’ad).
For Marvel and Feige, the search was extensive and also included new Blade, Mahershala Ali. When they first began their search, Marvel was considering writer-director options, hoping to keep them one and the same. But as time went on, Feige was not finding someone who could handle both duties to tell Blade’s story.
In February 2021, Feige announced that Watchmen writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour was chosen to pen the script. Along with writing Watchmen’s seventh episode, Osei-Kuffour has worked as a story editor on HBO’s series Run and the Amazon series Hunters. Osei-Kuffour also received an Emmy Award nomination for the writing of a Season 1 episode on Hulu’s Pen15.
The hiring of Tariq follows in step with Feige and Marvel’s desire to identify up-and-coming new talent as it pertains to young directors. Marvel did the same with Taika Waititi shortly after he directed Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Marvel’s decision on Tariq marks the sixth person of color to take on the directing reigns for Marvel. Tariq follows in the footsteps of Waititi, Ryan Coogler, Chloé Zhao, Destin Cretton, and Nia DaCosta.
A Blade reboot had always been on Marvel’s mind but was never at the forefront. That changed when Ali requested a meeting with Feige. “We have, for years, wanted to find a new way into Blade. We love that character. We love that world,” Feige said to Fandango back in 2019. “Now with Dr. Strange, and the supernatural elements coming into the MCU, it felt like we could definitely start exploring that. Mahershala wanted to come in and meet with us. And when Mahershala wants to meet, you take the meeting. And I think he had just come off of his second Academy Award. And we were talking very polite and he was talking about what a fan he is, and then he just cut right to it, and was like “Blade.” And we were like, “Yes.””
It’s hard to say no to a two-time Academy Award winner. Ali first won his Best Supporting Academy Award for his performance in the film Moonlight. His second nod came as Best Supporting Actor as well for the 2018 film Green Book, starring opposite Viggo Mortensen.
Blade first gained life when he appeared in the Marvel comic Tomb of Dracula way back in 1973. He immediately became a cult favorite, but it was until 27 years later that Blade would see the big screen. Wesley Snipes famously portrayed the vampire hunter in three films, Blade (1998), Blade II (2002), and the third film in the trilogy, Blade: Trinity (2004).
Since that time, rumors of Snipes returning to his most famous role had been constant, but nothing ever materialized. There was a lot of grumbling, supposedly coming from Snipes’ camp when Ali was announced as the new Blade, but Snipes put that rumor to rest when he came out in support of Ali’s hiring.
Now that Marvel has their director with Tariq, Feige can get to work on filling out the cast. No other actor has been announced other than Ali but that should change shortly.
Bassam Tariq has a big task ahead of him, but Feige seems confident in his choice. At the moment, Marvel has not set a release date for Blade, though the movie is expected to be part of Marvel’s Phase 4, which looks to run through 2023.
As more news develops around Blade, GFR will be sure to pass it on.