BLADE Star Mahershala Ali "Increasingly Frustrated" With Marvel As New Details Emerge About BTS Issues

BLADE Star Mahershala Ali "Increasingly Frustrated" With Marvel As New Details Emerge About BTS Issues

Heaps of details about Marvel Studios' Blade struggles have been revealed, and it sounds like Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (Eternals) is reaching the end of his tether. You can find out more right here...

By JoshWilding - Jun 21, 2024 09:06 AM EST
Filed Under: Blade
Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Marvel Studios' Blade recently lost a second director in Yann Demange, prompting a fresh round of speculation about why Kevin Feige and company simply can't get this long-awaited movie - first announced in 2019 - into theaters. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, both sides are to have grown frustrated with Blade's prolonged development process, with the Daywalker himself, Mahershala Ali, said to be "increasingly frustrated" with the situation. 

The trade explains that he handpicked Demange after Bassam Tariq walked away from Blade in September 2022. At the time, the movie had been in pre-production and was gearing up to start shooting two months later. 

Marvel Studios decided Tariq wasn't a good fit and, after presenting Ali with a list of possible directors, executives were surprised when the Oscar-winner "conducted his own search after having concerns that the list largely featured filmmakers who were untested at the big studio level."

That may sound strange and, to put it bluntly, it is; Ali is said to have "exercised an inordinate amount of influence over the project, in a way few other actors have on Marvel movies." He was the one who got the wheels turning on Blade after reaching out to Marvel Studios and supposedly "envisioned Blade as his Black Panther."

Ali also turned to True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto to pen the screenplay, only for the writer's strike to bring work to a halt...again. 

Actors Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) and Aaron Pierre (Mufasa: The Lion King) were let go from the project, with Michael Green next up to take a crack at the screenplay before Demange's exit led to The Fantastic Four and Thunderbolts*'s Eric Pearson getting involved. 

"There wasn’t enough attention paid to it," one insider says. "It really was a casualty of the 'too much' era."

To recap, Watchmen writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour was the first writer tasked with writing Blade before X-Men '97 Head Writer Beau DeMayo was brought on board. Nic Pizzolatto was up next, with Michael Starrbury following after Tariq's departure. 

Green followed and then Pearson signed up. He's an MCU vet expected to finally get Blade over the finish line. 

Blade is undeniably troubled and it's beginning to feel like the news will break any week now that Ali has left the movie over "scheduling issues." The only other time Marvel Studios has announced a movie in such a high-profile way before scrapping it is Inhumans (which Marvel Television eventually turned into a TV series).

For now, Blade is eyeing a November 2025 release. Stay tuned for updates.

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Itwasme - 6/21/2024, 9:34 AM
I'm sitting on a knifes edge waiting to see what happend next...
thewanderer - 6/21/2024, 11:50 AM
@Itwasme - as much as I like Ali as an actor, I don’t know that I want vampires in the MCU.

Yes there are alien species galore, but IMO the MCU has been at its best when Earth based characters and stories have stayed as grounded as it can to a possible reality.
Itwasme - 6/21/2024, 11:58 AM
@thewanderer - I think that's great. To me the strength has been doing different things under the same umbrella. different styles, different tones and so on. Audience members will have different opinions on what they prefer and that to me is the cool part.
FireandBlood - 6/21/2024, 9:35 AM
He’s going to exit this project and who tf can blame him
supermanrex - 6/21/2024, 9:40 AM
@FireandBlood - marvel feels like a mess right now with all the canceled and reshuffled shit. the biggest problem they got right now is PR. they are still playing this [frick]ing ultra secretive no spoilers allowed shit that Feige loves despite the fact they need to come out and give us a clear [frick]ing roadmap of what is coming up. they can do that and not spoil shit. they are getting kicked in the mouth right now by all this bad press on BTS turmoil on different projects. meanwhile Gunn is keeping us informed and knocking down bullshit rumors daily and we still dont know shit about his story lines. but the hype is real and hopeful over at DC vs all this doom and gloom surrounding the MCU offerings. we need a presentation from Feige that gets excitement going again.
FireandBlood - 6/21/2024, 9:49 AM
@supermanrex - I’ll be honest. Outside of their Elseworlds stuff, I’ve got little to no interest in whatever Gunn and DC are doing. WB/DC lost me years ago with their bollocks. And Marvel just cooked their own momentum. They also seem very reactive right now, which is rarely a good thing. Idk, I feel as if the genre is just kind of limping along, and we’re all waiting for something to blow us away except there’s nothing really in sight and no, Wolverine & Deadpool ain’t it. That’ll come and go.
GeneralZod - 6/21/2024, 10:59 AM
@FireandBlood - Agree that Wolverine/Deadpool is just a placeholder. It should do $750 million+ with China, but it's really just recycled stuff. The thing hurting the MCU right now is the self-vandalization Marvel Studios did to their own brand after Endgame. They lost general audence goodwill. General audiences don't trust the name anymore. Remember when we would go to a theater at the start of an MCU film and the "Marvel Studios" logo would appear with the comic book pages flipping through, and audiences would erupt in applause? That doesn't happen anymore; it's quiet. They need to world-build and start from scratch. Hire likeable actors and put them into good stories. They need to make the MCU cool again. That needs to be Fantastic Four. They CANNOT fail with Fantastic Four (after predecessors have failed at it). That first FF trailer might be the most important trailer in Marvel Studios history because they're behind the eight ball.
Webster614 - 6/21/2024, 12:01 PM
@GeneralZod - Agree with everything you said. It's crazy though cause I used to have fait that Marvel would figure it out. I have zero faith they're going to get FF right. I see it being a complete mess. I hope I'm wrong.
FireandBlood - 6/21/2024, 12:01 PM
@GeneralZod - Agreed, getting Fantastic Four right is paramount and not just that, but actually getting people to show up. It’s true, the brand no longer arouses people the way it once did and they need to try and revive that.
ObserverIO - 6/21/2024, 12:21 PM
@FireandBlood - If Deadpool and Wolverine is everything it should be, then that will be the turning point for the genre.
ObserverIO - 6/21/2024, 12:23 PM
@FireandBlood - After that, Cap4and Thunderbolts just need to sustain that momentum. They just need to not be shit, then it's all down to The Fantastic Four.
The1st - 6/21/2024, 1:02 PM
@supermanrex - Good point. I feel like Gunn's doing it out of necessity and out of learning from the Marvel model. He knows people don't wanna get shot.

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...for the most part.

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supermanrex - 6/21/2024, 9:36 AM
they are going to lose ali if they dont stop [frick]ing around. get beau back on it! obviously homey got a good track despite being fired for who knows what the [frick] for.
SonOfAGif - 6/21/2024, 10:59 AM
@supermanrex - He was fired because he loved his body and loved to be in skimpy outfits online. And the rumor of an only fans account showing nudity is supposedly the deciding factor yet nothing of the sort was ever proven or exposed.
lazlodaytona - 6/21/2024, 9:36 AM
Dude. Just hire Del Toro to do the whole thing. Perfect fix and we know we'd get an awesome Blade film.
MG0019 - 6/21/2024, 9:51 AM
@lazlodaytona - Del Torro? You mean the guy that’s abandoned more productions than he’s ever finished? 😅

Pretty sure they need someone who’ll deliver; not create a bunch of cool preproduction, then walk away, or lose interest. …again lol.

(Seriously tho, look up Del Torro’s track record. I also like the movies he actually makes. But the guy has started and abandoned sooo many movies. The biggest example would probably be Hobbit, which prompted a rushed catch up job by Peter Jackson.)
MotherGooseUPus - 6/21/2024, 9:55 AM
@lazlodaytona - i Loved his Blade II... but thats just me
DeadClunge - 6/21/2024, 11:20 AM
@MG0019 - still waiting for his jl dark + swamp thing 😮‍💨😮‍💨
ObserverIO - 6/21/2024, 12:27 PM
@MG0019 - It's rarely if ever his fault though. For Hellboy 3 and JLD the studio wouldn't give him the budget he needed. Mountains of Madness fell through and I think Peter Jackson secretly wanted the Shire back maybe.
TrentCrimm - 6/21/2024, 2:53 PM
@MotherGooseUPus -

If you like animation his Trollhunters series on Netflix is great.

The voice cast is incredible, Anton Yelchin, Emile Hirsch, Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun, to name a few, and the world building in it is fantastic.
MotherGooseUPus - 6/21/2024, 3:12 PM
@TrentCrimm - i do like certain animation styles. i tried his new version of pinocchio and wasnt a fan, but thats mostly cuz of all the singing.

ill give this one a shot, i do like most of his films
lazlodaytona - 6/22/2024, 10:07 AM
@MG0019 - sorry man. I didn't realize all that.
lazlodaytona - 6/22/2024, 10:08 AM
@MotherGooseUPus - Blade II is easily the best.
DravenCorvis - 6/21/2024, 9:38 AM
Still waiting for this to go the way of the movie version of The Inhumans.

Just don't see this iteration of Blade happening, but I hope I'm wrong.
ThreadIsFemale - 6/21/2024, 9:38 AM
Disney should strike iron while it is hot and make Amandla Stenberg The Blade of our generation. The grifters squeaks would be delightful.
ThreadIsFemale - 6/21/2024, 12:38 PM
@ObserverIO - then they're not real fans. If it had to be female role then I guess I'd settle for Kitty Pryde. Or Jean Grey. Definitely someone powerful.
ObserverIO - 6/21/2024, 12:42 PM
@ThreadIsFemale - For the sake of diversity, I'd rather not replace another redhead with a black woman (or a non-red white woman for that matter).
ThreadIsFemale - 6/21/2024, 12:46 PM
@ObserverIO - you're right, it's been done. What about Jubilee? Or Lady Deathstrike?
ObserverIO - 6/21/2024, 1:06 PM
@ThreadIsFemale - I could see her as Deathstrike. But you'd have to tweak things to keep the Japanese origins. Maybe one of her parents was black and one was Japanese or she might be adopted or whatever.
We'd probably just assume these things, normally, but Japan are known for being quite insular.
UniqNo - 6/21/2024, 9:38 AM
Feige sounds like he's trying to avoid another Ed Norton situation.
Goldboink - 6/21/2024, 9:40 AM
@UniqNo -
And smart to do so. $3.50 says this movie doesn't get made with him.
UniqNo - 6/21/2024, 9:43 AM
@Goldboink - I been saying that.. I honestly don't think it's going to happen. Blade will still show up at some point, but it won't be Ali, and it won't be in his own movie.

I like Ali, but he's not getting any younger and I don't think we need a reminder of old people trying to act young...I'm still having a difficult time forgetting Sam Jackson physical performance in Captain Marvel.... ok ok he's not that old, but you get my point.
Goldboink - 6/21/2024, 9:50 AM
@UniqNo -
I do. This movie was born, as the article mentioned, during the "make everything and hurry!" phase after the pandemic. Iger came in and cracked the whip so, yea, not going to do this one. It would be hard to top Snipes movies, even the meh ones.
bobevanz - 6/21/2024, 9:40 AM
I'm glad this is happening, he wants an established director who can handle a big budget movie whereas Feige wants someone to listen to their notes and act accordingly.. the old ways won't work anymore baldy
RedFury - 6/21/2024, 9:45 AM
I hope that Ali's influence over the project is in totality a good thing, and not just another actor that thinks they know what people want.

That being said, I do have faith in Ali, as he seems to pick the projects he's in well. At the end of the day I don't really care how long it takes to make this movie as long as Ali stays on. I think he'd truly be a fantastic Blade, so it would be a massive loss if he eventually cuts ties with it.
TheVisionary25 - 6/21/2024, 10:08 AM
@RedFury - if they weren’t paying enough attention to it during the “too much” era as stated , I hope they are now and are actively trying to make it right which seems like might be the case.

Now they are trying to recalibrate their strategy and reflect on what they did right & wrong to improve , I could see them putting additional focus on this now.
RedFury - 6/21/2024, 10:25 AM
@TheVisionary25 - I hope so too. This project has all the things that spell out a success if they do it well. Just based on how much people love the first Blade film with Snipes, it goes to show how much potential this has. And having Ali attached to it gives them an automatic level up with star power to get butts in the seats. I hope the real reason it's taking so long is because they know that and want to make sure they get it right. Especially with this whole recalibration theme we keep hearing about behind the scenes of all the new Marvel productions.
Smoothcat - 6/21/2024, 9:46 AM
I bet he regret turning down Matt Reeves’s offer to play Jim Gordon for this train wreck lol
UniqNo - 6/21/2024, 9:51 AM
@Smoothcat - Ali is good but I cannot picture him as Gordon. Wright was damn near perfect... but Oldman still the GOAT.
Smoothcat - 6/21/2024, 9:53 AM
@UniqNo - no, I agree about Wright!
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