A few years after successfully making Spider-Man a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe following years of that character's solo big-screen adventures, Marvel Studios is preparing to try and do the same thing for Blade. It's been two years since studio head Kevin Feige revealed the project at San Diego Comic-Con, and nearly 20 years since the character last graced the big screen in pre-MCU film Blade: Trinity, but the Daywalker's new cinematic incarnation is finally taking shape in the hands of a new writer and director.
So, what can we expect from them? According to director Bassam Tariq, quite a bit of a freedom.
Tariq, who was officially tapped to make Blade earlier this year alongside writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Watchmen) and star Mahershala Ali, stopped by The Playlist Podcast last week to talk about his work, and while most of the conversation was about his acclaimed new film Mogul Mowgli, there was a little bit of time to tease what he has in store for Marvel's resident vampire hunter. Though he couldn't offer any story details, Tariq did note that he and Osei-Kuffour haven't necessarily felt any particularly tight continuity restrictions as the project's taken shape.
“Character is very important for me. I don’t think of genre, I think of character,” Tariq said. “It’s not so boxed in as people imagine it to be [working with Marvel Studios]. It’s quite exciting. And I think the reality is there is no Blade canon, you know? If you ever read the comics, they’re always changing…Unfortunately, the [comic book series] never lasted that long.”
In discussing what he meant by "there is no Blade canon," Tariq alluded to the name "Peter Parker" and how ironclad it seems to be in the popular imagination, whereas some Blade comics have depicted that character as a guy who's just named "Frank Blade." It's also worth noting that the version of Blade we got onscreen from Wesley Snipes in 1998 wasn't necessarily representative of the comics that came before it, and in fact the Snipes films heavily influenced the comics that came after them.
The Blade running around in the current run of Avengers, for example, bears much more resemblance to the film version than the character who first appeared in the 1970s, so it'll be interesting to see what Tariq and Osei-Kuffour choose to pull from...and what they choose to ignore.
"Hats off to Wesley Snipes and what he did," Tariq added. "Like, he started this whole thing."
Blade, starring Mahershala Ali in the title role, is set to finally begin production next year.