It takes time to bring vampires into a superhero universe. For two years, we’ve known that Mahershala Ali will—eventually—play Blade, Marvel’s hybrid vampire hunter, but details about the film have been sparse. Following on February’s announcement that Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Watchmen) is writing the script, a director is now in talks to helm the film: Bassam Tariq, who directed the Riz Ahmed movie Mogul Mowgli.
This is very in keeping with Marvel’s directorial trend: Find a promising up-and-comer and launch them into the stratosphere. Remember when Taika Waititi made quirky indie films set in New Zealand? Feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
Tariq’s resume is mostly short films; he and Ahmed co-wrote Mogul Mowgli, about a British Pakistani rapper whose career is dramatically affected by an illness. According to Deadline, who broke the news, Marvel has been meeting with possible directors for months. Their finalists presented their visions to the studio, “and in the end it was Tariq’s vision that ultimately won all parties over.”
Blade was last played on the big screen by Wesley Snipes in a trio of late-’90s/early 2000s films that were written by David S. Goyer, who has since veered off into DC’s cinematic sandbox. Pre-MCU, Blade was a considerable success—but he didn’t have to share a universe with gods, talking trees, and super-soldiers. It’s going to be so interesting to see how this all fits together.
No release date has been announced.