Bassam Tariq will no longer be helming Marvel Studios’ blade remake. The Hollywood Reporter first announced that Tariq has stepped away from directing the project starring two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as the titular vampire slayer originally played by Wesley Snipes, just two months before production was set to begin on the film.
“It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel,” said Tariq in a statement, confirming his exit. “We were able to put together a killer cast and crew. Eager to see where the next director takes the film,” Tariq said in a statement, confirming his exit dele as director.
Marvel also released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter announcing Tariq’s departure, claiming that his exit was due to scheduling issues and announcing that Tariq would remain an EP on the film. “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,” read the statement. “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting blade to where it is.”
Tariq was initially tapped to direct the film starring Ali, Delroy Lindo, and Aaron Pierre in the summer of 2021. Prior to blade, the Pakistani American filmmaker made a name for himself for directing and cowriting 2020’s Mogul Mowgli starring Oscar-nominee Riz Ahmed as a British Pakistani rapper confronting a terminal illness.
First announced in 2019 at San Diego Comic-Con as a part of Marvel Phase 4, blade is currently scheduled to hit theaters on November 3, 2023. watchmen writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour reportedly wrote the script, with rewrites from moon knight writer Beau DeMayo, although no official writing credits of the film have been announced. Ali has already soft-launched his portrayal of blade in the MCU, making a brief voiceover appearance in the postcredits scene of 2021’s eternals where he speaks with Harington Kit‘s character, Dane Whitman. What Tariq’s late-stage exit from the production means for Marvel’s meticulously curated Phase 4 timeline is unclear as of yet.