The fact that there was going to be a Blade reboot as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came as a huge surprise when the announcement was made at the San Diego Comic-Con back in July of 2019 – but all these years later, we’re still waiting on the film to make its way into production. Filming is supposedly going to commence soon, though, so we figured it was time to put together a list of Everything We Know About Blade (the MCU reboot, that is).
The Blade character was previously played by Wesley Snipes in three feature films and by Sticky Fingaz in a short-lived television series. This time around, he’s going to be played by Mahershala Ali, who was already attached to the project when it was announced in 2019… and while there was no indication online that Ali has been interested in playing Blade, this was actually a role he had been chasing for a couple years by that point. During an interview on The Tight Rope podcast, he revealed that he had first asked what Marvel was thinking of doing anything new with Blade on the day the Marvel / Netflix series Luke Cage (where Ali played Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes) premiered, which would have been on September 30, 2016. At that time, Ali was told that Marvel was considering making a new Blade TV series. He wanted to play the character, but in a movie. Soon after he won an Oscar for his performance in the film Green Book at the start of 2019, he was able to get a meeting with Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Feige to talk about Blade. That’s when the movie deal started to come together.
Although some fans were upset to hear that Wesley Snipes wouldn’t be reprising the title role in Blade, Snipes himself wasn’t bothered. Speaking to Yahoo, Snipes said, “I’m cool with it. I don’t walk around as Blade, so I’m not attached to the character like that, you know? I feel no emotional loss. Zero. I’m happy that he’s been cast, and more than likely he’ll do a great job.” Snipes and Ali did talk about the character, with Snipes giving his successor some advice: make sure you’re in shape, try not to get hurt, and enjoy it while it lasts.
Delroy Lindo has been signed on to appear in Blade alongside Ali since November of 2021, and is apparently still attached to the project. The same isn’t said for Aaron Pierre, who was said to have landed a highly coveted role in the film back in February of 2022… but it seems that his character has since been dropped over the course of the multiple rewrites the script has gone through. Mia Goth was cast in the film back in April of 2023, and rumors have been swirling that she’ll be playing the villainous character Lilith.
At the start of 2022, the folks at Murphy’s Multiverse got their hands on character descriptions that were supposedly being used as part of the casting process. The characters they heard about were: “Abid”, described as a burly, South Asian character who has taken a vow of silence after a turbulent life; “Huntley”, described as a man, 40-60; and “Faiza”, a French-speaking North African female between 20 and 40. They speculated that these characters would actually be Blade’s fellow vampire hunters, introduced in the pages of the comic book Tomb of Dracula. They suspected that “Abid” was Taj Nital, “Huntley” was Quincy Harker, and “Faiza” was Rachel van Helsing. “Taj was indeed a burly, South Asian character who was first introduced in Tomb of Dracula #3, who did not speak; however, in the comics, he didn’t speak because he had his throat ripped out by vampires, so a slight change there. Taj, along with Rachel van Helsing, the granddaughter of great vampire hunter Abraham van Helsing, worked with Quincy Harker to hunt down the world’s oldest vampire threat, Dracula. Harker, the son of Jonathan and Mina Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, eventually worked with Frank Drake, a descendant of Dracula, and Blade to take on the vampire nation.” But if these characters were ever in the script, there’s a chance they have been written out, like the one Aaron Pierre was going to play.
Ali made his debut as Blade with a vocal cameo at the end of Eternals, where he interrupts the character Dane Whitman (played by Kit Harington) before he can touch a mystical sword called the Ebony Blade. In the comics, Whitman becomes the Black Knight while wielding that sword, so some fans thought he might show up as the Black Knight in Blade. However, Harington has said that the Black Knight was never meant to be in the movie. The Ebony Blade, on the other hand, might be a different story…
The movie was announced in July of 2019, but it wasn’t until after we got through the 2020 lockdowns that a writer was hired to work on the film. In February of 2021, we heard that Stacy Osei-Kuffour, known for her work on the TV shows Watchmen and PEN15, was writing the script. Since then, we’ve heard that drafts have also been written by Michael Starrbury (When They See Us), True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto (who worked with Ali on season 3 of that show), and Beau DeMayo (The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf).
At one point, we heard that Blade would start filming in September of 2021. Then it got pushed to July of 2022, with filming to take place in Atlanta, Georgia and New Orleans, Louisiana. There was a delay due to creative issues, and then it would start filming in 2023. It was just weeks away from filming when the production had to be delayed due to the writer’s strike, followed by the actor’s strike… once the writer’s strike ended, it was announced that a new writer, Michael Green (Logan), had been hired to start the script over from scratch.
That’s when Variety reported on some of the problems that had been holding Blade back, including five writers, two directors, and a shutdown six weeks before production was to star. It sounds like there were too many cooks in the kitchen, with perhaps the braintrust at Marvel looking to go a little too P.C: “One person familiar with the script permutations says the story at one point morphed into a narrative led by women and filled with life lessons. Blade was relegated to the fourth lead, a bizarre idea considering that the studio had two-time Oscar winner Ali on board. Amid reports that Ali was ready to exit over script issues, Feige went back to the drawing board and hired Michael Green, the Oscar-nominated writer of Logan, to start anew.”
Starrbury took to social media to say that he never saw a script that didn’t have Blade as the lead, but maybe such a script did exist at some point when he wasn’t involved. Whatever the case, it looks like Green might be the writer whose script gets filmed.
As Variety mentioned, the project has been through two directors on its way to the screen. John Wick‘s uncredited co-director David Leitch, who has gone on to make films like Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw, said he would “love to” direct Blade. Chad Stahelski, who directed all of the John Wick movies and was also second unit director on Captain America: Civil War, said Blade was the one Marvel property that he would be really interested in taking the helm of. But instead of those experienced action directors, Marvel turned to Bassam Tariq, a documentarian who made his narrative feature debut with the 2020 drama Mogul Mowgli. Tariq was hired in July of 2021, but stepped away from the project in September of 2022, citing scheduling issues. Two months later, Yann Demange (White Boy Rick) signed on to direct the film, and it looks like he’s going to see it through production.
It wasn’t always a sure thing that the MCU Blade was going to be rated R like the previous Blade movies were. But when Demange came on board as director, he got Marvel to agree to let him make an R rated movie. As he told Deadline, “They gave me the R, which is so important. … We are going to have fun, because Mahershala is such a deep actor. I’m excited to show a kind of ruthlessness, a roughness he has, that allows him to walk the earth in a particular way. I love him for that. He’s got dignity and integrity, but there is a ferocity there that he usually keeps under the surface. I want to unleash that and put it on the screen.”
Now that Blade seems to be moving forward smoothly with Yann Demange set to direct, Michael Green writing the script, and Mahershala Ali, Delroy Lindo, and Mia Goth cast, industry scooper Daniel Richtman has also shared details on what he hears the story is going to be. According to his Patreon report, Blade is an R-rated period piece that will tell the story of “Lilith going after Blade’s daughter’s blood to create an army of Daywalkers.” Lilith’s weapon will apparently be the Ebony Blade, which was previously featured in Eternals.
Blade has had several release dates over the year, but as far as we know, right now, it’s on track to start filming soon, aiming for a November 7, 2025 theatrical release date.
And that’s everything we know about Blade… so far…