BLADE Reboot Writer Responds To Report That Mahershala Ali Was Relegated To "Fourth Lead"

BLADE Reboot Writer Responds To Report That Mahershala Ali Was Relegated To "Fourth Lead" BLADE Reboot Writer Responds To Report That Mahershala Ali Was Relegated To "Fourth Lead"

Michael Starrbury, who worked on an earlier draft of the Blade script, has responded to the recent report that star Mahershala Ali was "relegated to third or fourth lead."

By MarkCassidy - Nov 02, 2023 03:11 PM EST
Filed Under: Blade

Yesterday, Variety published an exposé on Marvel Studios which highlighted some of the issues the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been experiencing as Phase 5 continues, and the report provided some insight into why there's been hardly any movement on the planned Blade reboot.

Marvel is believed to be having a tough time trying to nail the story down, and star Mahershala Ali is said to have been close to walking away from the project at one point due to frustrations with the script. Apparently, some early drafts saw Ali's new take on the Daywalker "relegated to third or fourth lead" in his own movie.

This would obviously be a very strange way to approach the reboot, but it sounds like Variety's report may not be entirely accurate.

According to writer/producer Michael Starburry, who worked on a draft of the Blade script prior to the Hollywood strikes, he never came across a version "where Blade was 4th lead or it was a narrative led by women and filled with life lessons." He does acknowledge that things could have changed when he left, but adds: "He was in almost every scene when I was involved. I don't know what happened but I'll just say I seriously doubt he was ever the 4th lead in any draft."

Marvel Studios reportedly plans to bring Blade in on a budget of $100 million or under. Oscar-nominated Logan writer Michael Green is the latest scribe to take a crack at the script, and, as far as we know, Yann Demange (who stepped in to replace Bassam Tariq earlier this year) is still on board to direct.

Given the violent nature of vampire-slaying hero, there's been some speculation that this reboot might join Deadpool 3 as the studio's first R-rated feature. However, while Blade is expected to be dark and gritty in tone, falling on the edgier side of Marvel fare, it sounds like the aim is still to bring it in at the usual PG-13/12.

What do you make of Starrbury's comments? Be sure to share your thoughts down below.

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EskimoJ - 11/2/2023, 3:02 PM
S'funny, all parties involved could be telling the truth.
GhostDog - 11/2/2023, 3:03 PM
Bro read the exposé and said
marvel72 - 11/2/2023, 3:07 PM
It's more believable that Blade was pushed down to fourth lead....

It's the Marvel way.
Toonstrack - 11/2/2023, 3:19 PM
@marvel72 - so what film has had that happen since its the marvel way?
marvel72 - 11/2/2023, 3:29 PM
@Toonstrack - Women awesome men jokes

Scarilian - 11/2/2023, 3:08 PM
Marvel skipping Blade to focus on his daughter and tell a daughter-father storyline is a lot more likely to me than them actually focusing on Blade.

This person is no longer involved, so his view on the script is not valid, especially seeing they ditched him because of 'creative differences' (e.g. they disagreed with his script)
EskimoJ - 11/2/2023, 3:35 PM
@Scarilian - Of course it's valid, it essentially rules out this occurring during his time with the project.

I'm curious as to when this would have happened, given the writers' strike started shortly after he left the project and only just ended recently.
guillimunster - 11/2/2023, 3:48 PM
@EskimoJ - thank you!
Origame - 11/2/2023, 4:00 PM
@EskimoJ - what if it rules out it was during his time. It still happened.
soberchimera - 11/2/2023, 4:14 PM
@Scarilian - Hasn't Blade's daughter literally just been introduced in the comics? And they want her to replace her dad in the movies already? Marvel Studios is apparently itching for their own Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Scarilian - 11/2/2023, 7:03 PM
@EskimoJ -
It specifically states EARLY DRAFTS, so very likely this is scripts that pre-dated the hiring of Michael Starrbury.

First writer: Stacy Osei-Kuffour
Second writer: Beau DeMayo
Third writer: Michael Starrbury
Fourth writer: Nic Pizzolatto (Co-writer of Michael Starrbury)
Fifth writer: Michael Green

The most likely source of this script focused around the relationship of Blade and his daughter is Stacy Osei-Kuffour, notable for the Watchmen TV series.

@Soberchimera -
I can understand how such a decision could have been a logical step for them considering the direction they took after Endgame. It seemed they were leaning on parent-daughter dynamics similar to how Phase 1-3 leaned on parent-son dynamics.

I'd imagine if they balanced it well then it could have worked as a strong father-daughter bonding movie and potentially appealed to a wider audience. Though it's definitely not what people were aiming for.

I doubt the current script, which notably has only been worked on since around October, is similar to this leak - though I'd still lean to the potential for his daughter to be involved in the film as they want to set-up a young Avengers dynamic.
AnthonyVonGeek - 11/2/2023, 3:09 PM
Damn Marble you go to make a movie with a black male lead and you drastically cut the budget?
JDL - 11/2/2023, 3:40 PM
@AnthonyVonGeek - Lots of budgets are getting slashed. Get over it.
valmic - 11/2/2023, 3:09 PM
It’s Blade, seriously how hard could it be to get right. You don’t have to use the old movies but they are there to help guide how to create that world. Maybe even get Goyer to write some stuff.
BlackSpiderman - 11/2/2023, 3:23 PM
@micvalpro - They even have the Werewolf by Night world as a jumping point as well. Feels like this should be pretty straightforward. However, I'm not a Hollywood writer so what do I know. Lol
LSHF - 11/2/2023, 3:09 PM
It's like a keep saying; CLICKBAIT. Manufactured clickbait. So many of these articles are bullshit.
FireandBlood - 11/2/2023, 3:12 PM
Another movie they’re making without a story to tell just because they like the actor.
JFerguson - 11/2/2023, 3:14 PM
@FireandBlood - wait what’s the other one?
bobevanz - 11/2/2023, 3:19 PM
@JFerguson - all of them?
DrReedRichards - 11/2/2023, 3:20 PM
@JFerguson -

Agatha, if I were to guess. Kathryn Hahn is a treasure, but Harkness is hardly capable of carrying her own character-focused project.
DrReedRichards - 11/2/2023, 3:20 PM
@bobevanz -

lol, wut?
JFerguson - 11/2/2023, 3:24 PM
@DrReedRichards - if Sacha is in it, it’s a guranteed watch for me. But if he is, I feel like they would have announced it by now.

He would be more of a draw for me than Hahn personally
DrReedRichards - 11/2/2023, 3:26 PM
@JFerguson -

Sacha is in IronHeart, which makes even less sense in my opinion. But I agree with you, he's maybe the only reason that I have any interest in that one. For Agatha, I have no draw other than Hahn and Plaza.
JFerguson - 11/2/2023, 3:28 PM
@DrReedRichards - ah yes Plaza is most anticipated for me too

FireandBlood - 11/2/2023, 3:50 PM
@JFerguson - Ant-Man 3. They wanted Ant-Man in the Quantum realm fighting Kang, but they had no story to tell there so we got what we got
JFerguson - 11/2/2023, 4:10 PM
@FireandBlood - oh that’s the one you meant. Yeah storywise, that movie deserved better.

The reports that marvel “thought they put out a banger” and were “shook” by the negative reception still makes my stomach churn. The execs sound disillusioned to me.

I liked Johnathan Majors Kang but Antman fighting him doesn’t even sound good on paper.
bobevanz - 11/2/2023, 3:15 PM
Hmm why not come out and squash this rumor months ago? They wait until it's published to squash it LMAO
Toonstrack - 11/2/2023, 3:20 PM
@bobevanz - that's your response to the confirmation that variety published actual BS?

Of course.

Your agenda never fails you. You fail it often though.
Origame - 11/2/2023, 4:03 PM
@Toonstrack -'s not confirmed to be bs. The article say a draft had blade as the fourth lead. And this guy said it wasn't when he was writing.

It's not like we were specifically saying it was him who wrote it.
dagenspear - 11/2/2023, 6:22 PM
@Toonstrack - Your agenda, their agenda. What's the difference?
Toonstrack - 11/2/2023, 7:42 PM
@dagenspear - i don't back mine with lies.
Toonstrack - 11/2/2023, 7:44 PM
@Origame - he worked on the most recent version of it, before the strike. If there was a treatment of the script that featured that, he would've seen it for obvious reasons.

The only way one could exist is if this thing was made during the short period between when he left snd the strike.

Even surmising that a script was made with these details in that time which is unlikely, the notion that it was going to be moved forward and wasn't jsut a single treatment that happens all the time, is made up.
Origame - 11/2/2023, 8:35 PM
@Toonstrack - 1) nowhere does it say he worked on the latest version. Just a version of the script before the strike. He even claims it's possible there was something made after he was done.

2) well, he thinks that's enough of a possibility so...

3) you say this as if we have exact dates. When literally all he said was "a script before the strike".
Toonstrack - 11/3/2023, 1:31 AM
@Origame - its not likely any sources for that information and this guy who was actually writing on the film, didn't know about it. Its so unlikely; its impossible.

She needs to give up the scooters name or FOH. Must be fiege himself leaking this at this point because that's the only way these leakers would know this.
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