Bassam Tariq will no longer direct Blade, the new movie from Marvel Studios. It had a release date of November 3, 2023, and was slated to begin filming this November. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news, and it remains unclear how Tariq’s departure will impact the production process of the vampire action movie where Mahershala Ali plays the lead. 

“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 told THR, adding, “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.”

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Tariq also released a statement, thanking Marvel, saying “Its been an honour 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.”. 

The studio is searching for a new director, THR said, citing a source. Blade has seen the production dates change once, if not twice, and the script has gone through several rewrites. The project has been hotly anticipated since its announcement at the San Diego Comic-Con, 2019. Marvel Studios head Kevin Fiege had told THR previously that the Oscar-winning actor called him directly and expressed an interest in playing the character. Blade was previously played by Wesley Snipes in a trilogy during the 2000s. Ali’s Blade has also made its MCU debut, appearing towards the end of Eternals, suggesting the superhero franchise was ready to explore its horror side too. 

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Blade tells the story of a half-mortal and half-immortal, who first appeared in the Marvel Comics in 1973, in The Tomb of Dracula No. 10. Blade kills vampires to avenge the death of his mother, who was killed by one such creature as she gave birth to him. 

Tariq had been attached to the project since the summer of 2021.