Marvel fans learned last month that Bassam Tariq will be helming the highly-anticipated Blade reboot, which will feature Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali in the titular role. While this will be Blade's introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the character has a long history on the big screen, with Wesley Snipes playing him in three movies from 1998 to 2004. During a recent interview with IndieWire, Tariq promised that his version will pay tribute to Snipes.
"What's exciting about the film that we're making is [there] hasn't been a canon for Blade, as we're reading through the comics and everything," Tariq explained. "Him being a daywalker is the one thing that's been established, and you know we can't deny what Wesley Snipes did, which was he basically got this whole ball rolling. A Black man created the superhero world that we're in, that's just the truth. For me to now be working with somebody as talented and a juggernaut as Mahershala Ali, and the writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, I'm just so — I'm so honored to be working with real Black juggernauts and Black talent. For me to just be with them in this room and listen and learn as I build this out, it's really an honor."
At the beginning of the month, Tariq confirmed his new Marvel directing gig.
"I didn't think ['Blade'] was going to happen, just to be very honest," Tariq revealed on a recent episode of The Playlist Podcast. "I'm honored and it's a privilege, but I'm here in service of Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who is the incredible writer that is writing the film…She's just a phenomenal presence and a juggernaut in her own right. And for Mahershala [Ali]. For me, it's really just working in their service....[Marvel] takes big swings, you know?…I can't say anything about it, but I'm just so excited for what we're doing."
"Character is very important for me. I don't think of genre, I think of character," he added. "It's not so boxed in as people imagine it to be [working with Marvel Studios]. It's quite exciting. And I think the reality is there is no 'Blade' canon, you know? If you ever read the comics, they're always changing…Unfortunately, the [comic book series] never lasted that long."
Blade has yet to set a release date. In the meantime, Marvel's 2021 line-up includes Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is now playing in theaters, What If..., which releases new episodes on Disney+ on Wednesdays, Eternals in theatres on November 5th, Hawkeye on Disney+ on November 24th, and Spider-Man: No Way Home in theatres on December 17th.