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Blacula Reboot - What We Know So Far

On June 17, Variety broke the news that a "Blacula" reboot was coming from MGM. In partnership with Bron and Hidden Film Group, the studio Louis B. Mayer built will be bringing the classic blaxploitation character into the 21st century.

Deon Taylor, director of horror-comedy "The House Next Door," will be helming the project. "'Blacula' is arguably one of the most prestigious Black franchises and so important to the culture as it birthed a groundswell of Blaxploitation-horror films, which changed the game for how our people were seen on the big screen," Taylor said in a statement.

The script will be co-written by Micah Ranum, based on the character first scripted by Joan Torres, Raymond Koenig, and Richard Glouner in 1972. As noted in his obituary in The Guardian, actor William Marshall worked on the script as well to give dignity to his character, Blacula. He came up with the name Mamuwalde and his princely background. Here's what we know so far about the "Blacula" reboot.

Who will play Blacula?

No star has been announced to play the character of Blacula. William Marshall died in 2003, so the film will need a new actor to bring the character to the screen again. Other blaxploitation IPs have been given new life with contemporary stars, including Youngblood Priest from "Superfly" and the titular Shaft from "Shaft." Youngblood Priest was revived by Trevor Jackson in 2018, and Shaft has gotten two reboots, one starring Samuel L. Jackson in 2000 and another in 2015 starring Jessie T. Usher. The 2015 film linked all three "Shaft" films by making all the characters related to one another: three generations of bad mothers. Richard Roundtree is John Shaft Sr., Jackson is John Shaft Jr., and Usher is JJ Shaft.

It is possible that Taylor will bring in someone with whom he has previously worked for the role of Mamuwalde. Taylor has directed "Fast and Furious" star Tyrese Gibson ("Black and Blue"), Flavor Flav (BET's "Nite Tales"), Mike Epps ("Meet the Blacks" and "The House Next Door"), and Michael Ealy ("The Intruder" and "Fatale"). He also worked with Jamie Foxx on the upcoming "All-Star Weekend."

When will Blacula awaken from his tomb for a release date?

No release date has been given for the "Blacula" reboot. It is unlikely the film is even in production yet, as a star wasn't announced with the property. Taylor has three upcoming projects listed on his IMDb, the aforementioned "All-Star Weekend," "Don't Fear" starring Joseph Sikora of "Ozark," and "Akuma."

The sequel to the original "Blacula," "Scream Blacula Scream," came out only a year after the first film and also starred Pam Grier. A sort of spiritual successor, "Blackenstein," was made that same year, as well. That quick turnaround time after the initial success of "Blacula" speaks to the down and dirty practices of B-movie production in the '70s. MGM is known for movies with considerably more production sheen than American International Pictures, "Blacula"'s initial distributor. AIP was bought by MGM in 1997, but before then it was known for its tight shooting schedules and for greenlighting pictures based on the coolness of their titles alone. AIP was where stars like Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, and James Cameron got their starts (per IGN).

What is the plot of the Blacula reboot?

The "Blacula" reboot is actually looking to be more of a revival, not negating the plots of the previous two movies so much as continuing their legacy. According to Variety, "The reboot picks up where the original saga left off, after the 1973 sequel 'Scream Blacula Scream,' and will be set in a metropolitan city post-coronavirus pandemic."

The first two "Blacula" films were set in Los Angeles. It's possible that this new chapter in Prince Mamuwalde's saga will take place in a new city, either to give the story new flavor or because film production has moved out of Hollywood to a great extent. Atlanta could be an excellent setting, as it is a hub of Black culture in America and home to many, many tax credits for film and TV production, per Georgia.org.

"Blacula" has always been a political work, but the plot synopsis of the reboot given to Variety makes it seem like the reboot will really underscore those themes. Prince Mamuwalde was turned into a vampire by Dracula after Dracula refused to help Mamuwalde end the transatlantic slave trade. "Blacula is entombed and awakens 200 years later ready to avenge the death of his ancestors," the synopsis reads, "and of those responsible for robbing his people of their work, culture and heritage as they appropriated it for profit." This implies that Blacula's attacks will be more politically motivated, aligning him with sympathetic so-called "villains" like Killmonger in "Black Panther."