Bassam Tariq
Bassam Tariq Image Credit: Shutterstock

Director Bassam Tariq will no longer be in charge of helming Marvel Studios’ ‘Blade’.

‘Blade’, which had a scheduled release date of November 3, 2023, was preparing to start filming in Atlanta this November, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The impact of Tariq’s departure on the start of production of the vampire action-thriller, which stars Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali in the lead role along with Delroy Lindo and veteran actor Aaron Pierre, is unknown.

“Due to continued shifts in our production schedule, Bassam is no longer moving forward as director of Blade but will remain an executive producer on the film,” Marvel said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.”

Tariq thanked Marvel in his own statement: “It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel. We were able to put together a killer cast and crew. Eager to see where the next director takes the film.”

Tariq also took to his Instagram handle to officially announce his exit with grace. In the post, he thanked Marvel, the cast and the crew of the film ‘Blade’, and also termed his ‘Blade’ journey as a ‘beautiful ride’ of his life.

At least once, if not twice, the start of production on ‘Blade’ has been moved, and according to reports, the movie has through numerous rounds of screenplay revision. The show’s current writer is Beau DeMayo, who has previously contributed to ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’, ‘The Witcher’ and its animated feature spinoff, as well as Marvel’s own ‘Moon Knight’. According to one source, the company is already looking for a new director.

Since the studio revealed the project amid considerable fanfare at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, ‘Blade’ has been one of Marvel’s most eagerly awaited movies. Ali unexpectedly appeared at the conclusion of the Marvel panel and put on a baseball cap bearing the Blade emblem. Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios, later revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that Ali had personally called him to show interest in taking on the role.

Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan created the character Blade, a half-mortal, half-immortal being who hunts vampires. The role was previously portrayed by Wesley Snipes in a trilogy that was published in the early 2000s.