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There is a lot to look forward to from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the many upcoming Marvel movies and many upcoming Marvel TV shows to stream on Disney+. However, one of the most hotly anticipated projects is Marvel’s Blade movie, which is still a subject of mystery for fans looking forward to seeing the big screen return of the most iconic vampire hunter in comic book history, especially with two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali in the title role.
For anyone who feels like they have been waiting a vampire’s lifespan for the MCU reboot, perhaps we can provide you with some wishful thinking by bringing you up to speed on the latest updates in Blade’s development. But, first, we will have to start from the beginning.
Talk Of A New Blade Movie Dates Back To 2009
The first Blade movie, starring Wesley Snipes as the titular hunter named Eric Brooks at birth, is remembered as one of the best Marvel movies before the MCU and when R-rated comic book flicks were still rare. The 1998 adaptation spawned two sequels and a short-lived TV series in 2006. It was only a couple years later when Snipes began leading the conversation of bringing of the bringing the half-man, half-vampire back to the big screen.
After a prequel movie proposed in June 2009 went nowhere, Wesley Snipes expressed interest in Blade 4 the following year - just as the MCU was starting to heat up. Soon enough, Kevin Feige was asked about adding Blade to the universe, teasing how he and Marvel Studios have discussed it, but no avail. Less than a year after The Conjuring director James Wan revealed he once pitched a Blade reboot in 2018, the MCU’s Blade reboot conversation took a major step forward.
MCU’s Blade Reboot, Starring Mahershala Ali, Was Confirmed In July 2019
More than 20 years after Marvel’s vampire hunter became a comic book movie favorite, Kevin Feige announced that an MCU reboot of Blade was in development during Marvel Studios’ San Diego Comic Con panel in 2019. The confirmation came with the reveal that Mooonlight star Mahershala Ali, who had just won his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Green Book, would take over the title role, having pitched the idea for a new Blade movie to Feige in the first place.
Despite years of campaigning to return to the role, Wesley Snipes gave the Blade reboot his blessing, citing Mahershala Ali as "a beautiful and talented artist whose expressions I look forward to experiencing for many years to come." "Daywalkers" (Blade fans) also began demanding that the MCU at least give Snipes a part, namely Blade’s mentor Whistler, which we will just have to wait and see about.
In August 2019, Deadpool 2 Director David Leitch Expressed Interest In The Blade Reboot
Fans will also have to wait and see about who will direct the Blade reboot, a position that has yet to be filled. Conversations over who should be at the helm came immediately after the announcement, with Jordan Peele’s name thrown around as a prime potential candidate. Unfortunately, the Oscar-winning mastermind behind Get Out and that year’s Us told Rolling Stone that it was not the right time for him to live out what he still referred to as "a filmmaker’s dream."
The following month, Deadpool 2 director David Leitch told ScreenRant that he would be interested in making the new Blade movie his next Marvel Comics adaptation, adding that he worked stunts on the 1998 original. Still, no one’s name has been etched on the director’s chair yet, but one important position has been filled.
Watchmen Writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour Was Tapped To Write Blade In February 2021
Other than star Mahershala Ali teasing his Blade look with concept art in May 2020, updates on the reboot were scarce for more than a year since its announcement. That was until February of 2021 when the movie finally found its scribe. - Marvel Studios hired Stacy Osei-Kuffour to pen the script for Blade, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. This will be the second comic book adaptation, after HBO’s Watchmen series, that the writer and actress (who earned an Emmy nomination for an episode of the Hulu original comedy PEN15) has worked on. Not to mention, Osei-Kuffour will also be the first Black woman to write a Marvel movie.
Later In February 2021, Kevin Feige Caused A Stir When Discussing Ratings For Future Marvel Movies
However, not every "first" involved with the Blade reboot has been a means for celebration in the eyes of fans. During Marvel Studios’ panel at the Television Critics Association in February 2021, Kevin Feige had this to say when asked about the MCU’s future with more adult-oriented programming:
I think we target everything we’re doing now for kids and adults. So I think your question is: more adult or R-rated. You know, other than Deadpool, which has already established itself as a certain genre and a certain rating that we’ve already said we would not mess with when we start working with Deadpool – which we have. Other than that, we’ve not ever encountered a story, or a storyline, or a character’s journey that a PG-13 or the tone or the ratings that we’ve been using up to this point has prevented us. We’ve never been held back by it. If we ever are, then certainly there could be a discussion to be had now that there are other outlets like Hulu, like Star. But that just hasn’t been the case yet. We’ve been able to tell all the kinds of stories we’ve wanted to with the tonality and the rating structure that we have now.
At first glance, the above quote does not seem to have anything to do with Marvel’s upcoming vampire hunter movie, but fans took it as a potential sign that the Mahershala Ali-led reboot could be the first Blade movie to get a PG-13 rating. This would be disappointing to some given that the literally blood soaked source material typically demands no less than an R and, since Marvel Studios previously confirmed Deadpool’s risqué nature would stay the same in the MCU, there is no reason Blade should not receive the same treatment.
The Blade Reboot Will Reportedly Begin Filming In July 2022
Of course, a potential PG-13 branding has been far less of a concern among "Daywalkers" than the Blade reboot’s shooting schedule. It was not until March 2021 when Marvel Studios revealed that the anti-hero thriller would begin filming in September of that year, only for that date to change by a wide margin soon after.
On May 5, 2021, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Blade’s production schedule has been pushed from September 2021 all the way to the following July. The reason for the delay was to spend more time with Stacy Osei-Kuffour on the script. It is a valid and perfectly reassuring reason that also helps explain why we still do not know when to expect this film to hit theaters.
What Is Marvel’s Blade Movie Release Date?
On the morning of May 3, 2021, Marvel Studios released a "Hype Video" to get fans excited for all that is come in Phase 4, including the reveal of Black Panther II’s full title (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and release dates all the way into 2023. However, there were a few things missing from the video, including any mention of Blade whatsoever.
Of course, the vampire hunter was not the only one left in the shadows, as there is little we know so far about Fantastic Four, the forthcoming MCU induction of Deadpool, or when more Avengers movies can be expected. News that filming begins Summer 2022 means we can likely expect a 2023 release date for Blade, but, once again, only time will tell.