Marvel’s Blade reboot won’t be restricted by comics canon, according to director Bassam Tariq. The vampire hunter was first portrayed by Wesley Snipes in his first cinematic appearance, 1998’s Blade. The next installment, Blade II, came in 2002 and was then capped off by Blade: Trinity in 2004 in a trilogy that was commercially successful but not well-received by critics. After acquiring the rights to the character, Kevin Feige announced at San Diego Comic-Com in 2019 that a Blade reboot was in the works with Mahershala Ali set to play the titular character.
Since the announcement, the MCU’s Blade has been moving full steam ahead. Stacy Osei-Kuffour, a writer on HBO’s Watchmen, was brought on board the project to usher it through development as head scribe. Just a few months ago, the Blade reboot found its director in Bassam Tariq, the indie filmmaker behind Mogul Mowgli starring Riz Ahmed, who will now be helming an MCU blockbuster. There haven’t been any other castings other than Ali as Blade since being announced two years ago, but the project isn’t expected to begin filming until next summer.
In the meantime, Tariq has been promoting his most recent film, Mogul Mowgli, and dropping some Blade teasers along the way. The most recent comments came during the director’s appearance on The Playlist Podcast (via Gizmodo). While Tariq couldn’t go into detail regarding the script Osei-Kuffour is working on, he did discuss the creative freedom they have been given by Marvel, coupled with the fact that there is no official comics canon for the film to be restricted by. Read what Tariq had to say below:
“What’s so great is it’s not as boxed in as I think people imagine it to be, which I thought it was. But it’s quite exciting, and I think the reality is there is no Blade canon. In some comics, his name is Fred H. Blade, you know, instead of Eric Brooks. Unfortunately, the runs never lasted that long, and there have been some interesting and exciting waves. But I can say [the new movie is] character first.”
Even though Blade has been appearing in comics since the 1970s and was one of the first Marvel characters to appear in a feature film, general audiences are not as intimately familiar with his backstory compared to other Marvel heroes like Spider-Man. Peter Parker’s web-slinging superhero has appeared in various film franchises and now has a well-established origin story that audiences are familiar with, which is why the MCU version skipped it altogether.
Blade, on the other hand, does not have a well-known backstory nor an official canon, as Tariq points out. For these reasons, he and Osei-Kuffour aren’t boxed in by any comics storylines and have complete creative freedom to craft their own Blade narrative. However, there is still plenty of source material for the two to pick and choose from, so it will be interesting to see how they decide to introduce Blade to a whole new generation via the MCU.