Blade director Bassam Tariq has exited the project weeks before filming is scheduled to begin.
The upcoming Marvel reboot, which stars Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) as the vampire hunter, was set to start shooting in November in Atlanta, US.
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As confirmed by Marvel to The Hollywood Reporter, Tariq, known for helming 2020 drama film Mogul Mowgli, will no longer direct the project.
“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 outlet. “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.”
In a separate statement, Tariq said: “It’s 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.”
According to journalist Jeff Sneider on Twitter, sources familiar with the project have claimed the current script for Blade is “roughly 90 pages” long and only features two “lacklustre” action sequences. He also claims Ali is “very frustrated with the process” and that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is “spread too thin”.
NME has reached out to Mahershala Ali’s reps for comment.
Marvel announced a reboot of Blade at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019. Later, Ali made a surprise voice cameo in the role during a post-credits scene in 2021’s Eternals.
The role was previously played by Wesley Snipes in 1998’s Blade, which spawned two sequels in 2002’s Blade II and Blade: Trinity in 2004.
Marvel’s reboot of Blade is scheduled to be released on November 3, 2023, as part of the studio’s Phase Five slate.