The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on Tuesday night that Tariq parted ways with the project just two months before production was set to begin in November in Atlanta. The movie currently has a release date from Disney and Marvel Studios on November 3, 2023. The cast also includes Delroy Lindo and Aaron Pierre.
“Due to continued shifts in our production schedule, Bassam is no longer moving forward as director of ‘Blade’ but will remain an executive producer on the film,” Marvel said in a statement shared with media. “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.”
Tariq said, “It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel. We were able to put together a killer cast and crew. Eager to see where the next director takes the film.”
The script is being written by Beau DeMayo and has reportedly already undergone several rewrites.
Tariq, whose last movie was “Mogul Mowgli” with Riz Ahmed, spoke to IndieWire last September about the project with unrestrained excitement.
“We can’t deny what Wesley Snipes did, which was he basically got this whole ball rolling,” he said. “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. For me to just be with them in this room and listen and learn as I build this out, it’s really an honor.”
Based on the comics by Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan, Snipes first portrayed the half-vampire slayer with supernatural abilities and adroit martial-arts skills in the 1998 film from New Line Cinema. It became a franchise with “Blade II” and “Blade: Trinity.”
Tariq follows in the footsteps of a select few other directors who’ve stepped off Marvel projects: Scott Derrickson left “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” before Sam Raimi stepped in, and Jon Watts dropped out of the upcoming “Fantastic Four” reboot, to be replaced by Matt Shakman.