Blade: Turmoil as Marvel blockbuster loses director for second time

Blade: Turmoil as Marvel blockbuster loses director for second time

Marvel Studios’ forthcoming blockbuster Blade has been hit by further setbacks after director Yann Demange left the project.

He is the second director to exit the much-anticipated film, following Bassam Tariq’s departure in 2022.

Variety reports that Demange departed the film amicably, as development on the project continues to stretch over several years.

Demange, 46, is a French filmmaker best known for directing British television shows including Dead Set and Top Boy, as well as episodes of the US production Lovecraft Country.

Blade was originally set to be released in cinemas on 3 November 2023, prior to Tariq’s departure two years ago.

It is currently scheduled to arrive in cinemas on 7 November 2025, although Demange leaving the project makes it significantly less likely that production will be able to begin in time to make that release date.

‘Blade’ star Mahershala Ali pictured in 2017 (Getty Images)
‘Blade’ star Mahershala Ali pictured in 2017 (Getty Images)

The film is set to star two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as the vampire-hunting superhero Eric Cross Brooks, AKA Blade.

A new Blade movie was first announced by Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, after Ali met with Marvel chief Kevin Feige and pitched himself to star in a reboot of the franchise.

Blade was previously played by Wesley Snipes in a trilogy of films released between 1998 and 2004.

The latest draft of the new Blade film is by screenwriter Eric Pearson, who co-wrote Marvel’s upcoming The Fantastic Four. It has previously been worked on by at least five other writers, including Michael Green, Stacy Osei-Kuffour, Michael Starrbury, Beau DeMayo and True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto.

When Blade was first delayed by Tariq’s departure, Marvel suggested the filmmaker’s exit from the project was simply the result of a scheduling issue.

However, there were also unverified rumors of further disruption behind the scenes.

Journalist Jeff Sneider claimed on Twitter that he had been told by someone familiar with the project that the script for Blade at that point was “roughly 90 pages” long – unusually short for a film of this scale. He also claimed that the script features just two “lackluster” action sequences.

“Mahershala [is] said to be very frustrated with the process,” he alleged. “[Marvel Studios boss Kevin] Feige said to be spread too thin. But hey, that’s just what sources are telling me.”

Last year, Ali told Entertainment Weekly that he remains optimistic about the film, saying: “I’m sincerely encouraged in terms of where things are at and who’s on board and who’s leading the way as far as the writing of the script and the directing and all that.”