‘Blade’ Director Bassam Tariq Teases MCU Vision: ‘We Can’t Deny What Wesley Snipes Did’

Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali, who will be the new vampire-human Blade, calls his director "out of this world. He’s a different kind of guy."
Bassam Tariq
Bassam Tariq
Ryan Lash

Per the laws of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, details are hush-hush about the upcoming “Blade” reboot. Based on the comics created by Marv Wolfman, Wesley Snipes first portrayed the half-vampire slayer with supernatural abilities and adroit martial arts skills. Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight,” “Green Book”) will now portray the daywalking specter and while production won’t begin until July 2022, some of the film’s specs are coming into focus.

To get an idea of the fiery vision that might inform the new “Blade,” check out Bassam Tariq’s just-released sophomore feature “Mogul Mowgli,” now in theaters and starring Riz Ahmed as a rapper suffering from a degenerative illness. Tariq brings often surreal visuals to the realistic drama (and in a boxy aspect ratio), which should make for an artful contribution to the MCU.

While speaking to IndieWire about “Mogul Mowgli,” Ahmed said, “Mahershala keeps texting me saying, ‘Dude, Bassam is out of this world. He’s a different kind of guy.”

Ali was instrumental in tapping “PEN15” Emmy nominee Stacy Osei-Kuffour for the “Blade” script, making her the MCU’s first-ever Black female screenwriter. Tariq and Osei-Kuffour have a big box to play: With its lack of canon, “Blade” is a more mutable IP.

“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,” said Tariq. “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.”

Ahmed joked, “I can tell you he’s doing it as a rap musical. Mahershala used to rap. He used to emcee. Do the deep dive. That’s why he’s playing Blade. He’s a rap musician.”

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