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Marvel Sets Yann Demange as ‘Blade’ Director, Replacing Bassam Tariq

Demange will direct a script written by Emmy-nominated writer Michael Starrbury.

TELLURIDE, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 04: Yann Demange attends the Telluride Film Festival on September 05, 2021 in Telluride, Colorado. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)

Yann Demange

Getty Images

“Blade” has found a new director. Yann Demange, best known for directing the pilot of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” and the films “’71” and “White Boy Rick,” has joined the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe vampire film. THR first reported the news. IndieWire has reached out to Marvel representatives.

In addition, Michael Starrbury has been hired to pen a new script for the feature, which stars Mahershala Ali as the Marvel Comics vampire character. Starrbury was nominated for an Emmy in 2019 for his work on Ava DuVernay’s Netflix limited series “When They See Us.”

The news comes after the original director, Bassam Tariq, left the film in September, parting ways with the project just two months before production began in November in Atlanta.

“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 at the time. “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.”

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, replaced by  Matt Shakman.

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