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Marvel's Blade Resurrects With Director Yann Demange And Writer Michael Starrbury

Marvel Studios' upcoming "Blade" film, which has been in limbo since the exit of its previous director, has found new leadership with filmmaker Yann Demange and writer Michael Starrbury, Deadline reports. The film, which brings the vampire hunter Blade, played by Mahershala Ali, into the MCU and is the first film to feature the character since Wesley Snipes retired from the role following "Blade: Trinity" in 2004, is now scheduled to resume production.

Demange notably directed the pilot of HBO's "Lovecraft Country" in 2019 (which coincidentally starred MCU actor Jonathan Majors) and previously helmed the 2018 film "White Boy Rick." He is also set to direct an HBO series remake of the 1980s Cronenberg picture "Scanners." Starrbury, meanwhile, won an Emmy for his writing on the Ava DuVernay-directed series "When They See Us."

The delay in finding a new director may have signaled chaos to some onlookers, but it may also have signaled a new willingness on the part of Marvel Studios to be deliberative in its filmmaking process as the MCU franchise navigates its second decade of industry dominance.

Marvel waited for the right creative talent before moving on Blade

When Bassam Tariq, the previous director of "Blade," departed the project in September, mere months before production was scheduled to begin, Marvel Studios decided to push the project back rather than rush to find a replacement. While originally slated to be a part of the MCU's Phase 4, that cycle instead ends with the upcoming "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" in November 2022. The titular vampire hunter, played by Mahershala Ali, is now scheduled to make his big-screen debut on September 6, 2024. Production is set to begin next year in Atlanta, Georgia.

Along with the new production schedule comes a new script, courtesy of Starrbury. According to Deadline, those in the know say Marvel is aiming for a much darker tone for "Blade" than is traditionally associated with MCU films. The studio has been experimenting in new directions lately, with even major tentpole films like "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" taking on a bit more darkness. In October, Marvel Studios released the direct-to-streaming special presentation "Werewolf by Night," which fashioned itself as a classic, black-and-white shlock horror joint. And then, of course, there's the upcoming "Deadpool 3," which is expected to have an R-rating in keeping with its Fox-produced predecessors.

In the meantime, Marvel has plenty of other projects on the way to keep fans well-fed. Phase 5 kicks off in February 2023 with "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."