Mahershala Ali was first announced as the star of Marvel’s Blade way back in 2019. Five years later, we don’t seem much closer to actually seeing the film, which has been developed and redeveloped, delayed and re-delayed numerous times. Within the last few weeks, the film lost another director, Yann Demange, and brought in another writer, Eric Pearson, to write yet another draft of the project’s script.

The Hollywood Reporter has a full accounting of all of the movie’s various iterations and issues so far. They mention Ali having “exercised an inordinate amount of influence over the project, in a way few other actors have on Marvel movies” and note that the strikes of 2023 greatly impacted the project’s forward momentum.

Interestingly, they also mention that one version of the film would have been a “period piece.” This Blade, in contrast to the ones starring Wesley Snipes from the 1990s and 2000s, would have been “ set in the 1920s, according to sources, and featured Mia Goth as a vampire villain named Lilith who wanted the blood of Blade’s daughter.”

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

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According to THR, the current version of the project has been returned to the present day. Their sources claim that Demange left the film recently after “both sides grew frustrated by Blade’s prolonged development process.” The period piece Blade script was written by X-Men ’97 creator Beau DeMayo back in the fall of 2022.

This would not be the first time a Marvel movie took ages to move from announcement to release. At the same San Diego Comic-Con panel where Marvel revealed their Iron Man movie from Jon Favreau, they also touted an Ant-Man movie that would have been directed by Edgar Wright. That film also had an extended development process; eventually Wright left the film, which wound up being directed by Peyton Reed. And Ant-Man did well enough to get two sequels. So taking five years to get Blade into production isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. (Necessarily.)

The next Marvel movie, Deadpool & Wolverine, is scheduled to open in theaters on July 26, 2024.

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