Marvel's Blade has shut down again due to the writers' strike.
Long-time fans of Marvel comics have been particularly looking forward to the upcoming Blade movie starring Mahershala Ali, especially because the success of those original Wesley Snipes movies helped establish the modern era of superhero movies. And recent announcements have sounded promising, including the fact that horror icon Mia Goth was set to join the cast. Unfortunately, Deadline reports that the studio has ceased production on this film due to the ongoing WGA writer’s strike.
In a somewhat bitter irony, Marvel would likelier be further ahead in the production of the new Blade movie if not for its previous delays. The movie was originally set to be directed by Bassam Tariq and released in 2023, but Marvel shifted that release window to 2024 because Tariq backed out of the project only weeks before it was going to start. Last November, Marvel hired Lovecraft Country director and executive producer Yann Demange to direct, but they hadn’t yet found the perfect person to write the script.
Recently, that changed when Marvel hired Nic Pizzolatto to write the script just last month. Pizzolatto is best known for creating the HBO hit series True Detective, and that show (particularly the creepy first season starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey) demonstrates he has the chops to bring a scary Marvel story to life. However, the studio recently ran into something they find much scarier than vampires: the writer’s strike.
Despite Disney recently pressuring creative staff to return to work, Pizzolatto is striking in solidarity with the rest of the WGA writers. This effectively puts Marvel in a no-win situation regarding Blade that even William Shatner couldn’t get out of: they can try to replace Pizzolatto, but the best writers are part of the WGA and are also on strike. Their only other alternative is to wait for the strike to end, but that means pushing back one of their most anticipated (and most delayed) movies even further.
Marvel had no official comment on Blade being delayed, and there is always a chance that Kevin Feige is looking at this as something of a blessing in disguise. In the wake of the so-called superhero fatigue that James Gunn and others have noted, Marvel reluctantly agreed to release only three movies and two shows each year rather than four movies and four shows. Having to figure out which release dates to move where always creates logical difficulties, and now the strike has ensured that Marvel has time and breathing room to fine-tune their future lineup of shows and series.
Even if Marvel is lowkey relieved that Blade and other productions have been delayed because it could help cure our global superhero fatigue, the real loser in these situations is always the fandom. The original Blade came out two years before the first X-Men movie from Fox and four years before the first Spider-Man movie from Sony, helping to shape everything from the style and cinematic language we use to bring superhero stories to life to the aesthetics of the onscreen heroes. This next Blade film could similarly revolutionize superhero cinema. If anyone says otherwise…well, as the man might say, there are always some haters trying to ice-skate uphill.