Of all the Marvel announcements made at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2019, none were quite as surprising as the news of a new Blade movie starring Mahershala Ali which director Bassam Tariq signed onto a few months later.
In the time since the new movie’s announcement, the rest of the MCU has continued to chug along with new cinematic projects like Shang-Chi and the upcoming Eternals, both of which reinforce how the MCU has become a much more mystical, otherworldly place during Phase 4. So far, there’s been little news about how Tariq’s Blade might end up fitting into the MCU down the line. But in a recent interview with The Playlist the director opened up a bit about his experience with the project so far.
While Tariq didn’t go into details about the movie’s script, which was penned by screenwriter by Stacy Osei-Kuffour, he explained how Marvel’s given the creative team a fair amount of freedom to build a narrative in service of the story they wanted to tell.
“What’s so great is it’s not as boxed in as I think people imagine it to be, which I thought it was,” Tariq said. “But it’s quite exciting, and I think the reality is there is no Blade canon.”
Tariq expanded on his point about Blade’s comics canon with a comparison to Peter Parker who, despite appearing across a wide swath of Marvel properties set in a variety of universes, has a fairly well-established lore that the general public is roughly familiar with.
With Blade, who’s been appearing in Marvel’s comics since the 70s and was one of the first Marvel characters featured in a major motion picture, that’s not exactly the case. “In some comics, his name is Fred H. Blade, you know, instead of Eric Brooks,” Tariq pointed pointed out. “Unfortunately, the runs never lasted that long, and there have been some interesting and exciting waves. But I can say [the new movie is] character first.”
Between Marvel’s comics and video games, Blade’s also been having something of a moment that the new movie may take cues from. In the past few months, Blade’s taken on a significant role alongside other Avengers in Marvel’s King in Black comics series, which saw the daywalker become the new sheriff of the vampire nation formerly known as Chernobyl. Similarly, Blade’s one of the headliners in 2K Games’ Midnight Suns, an upcoming tactical RPG built around a new incarnation of the supernatural hero team from the 90s Midnight Sons comics. While some fans may take issue with the way Tariq phrased his statements, he’s not wrong to point out that Blade’s canon is a bit all over the place and not something that needs to be stuffed into a single film wholecloth.
With Blade, there’s plenty to pick and choose from, and given how the new project’s meant to reintroduce the character to a new generation, it’s going to be very fascinating to see which elements end up becoming the basis of the MCU’s canon. Blade is set to begin filming next July 2022.