Mahershala Ali Was Directly Involved in Hiring Marvel’s First Black Female Writer for ‘Blade’

"Watchmen" scribe Stacy Osei-Kuffour will pen the latest resurrection of Marvel's vampire franchise.
Mahershala Ali arrives at the 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in Palm Springs, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Mahershala Ali
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Marvel Studios’ upcoming “Blade, the Vampire Slayer” has found a writer in Stacy Osei-Kuffour. That’s in huge part thanks to star Mahershala Ali who, according to The Hollywood Reporter, was directly involved in bringing Osei-Kuffour aboard. A 2019 Primetime Emmy nominee for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for “PEN15,” the playwright turned TV writer also worked as a story editor on HBO’s wildly acclaimed “Watchmen” and on its short-lived comedy series “Run,” along with work on Amazon’s “Hunters.”

Per THR, “The studio has spent the last six months meeting with writers in what was described as a meticulous search, with Ali directly involved. Only Black writers were seriously considered, a reflection of Marvel’s focus on diversity and making representation a key factor — especially when tackling nonwhite characters.”

Ali, a two-time Oscar winner for both “Moonlight” and “Green Book,” is attached to star as the Marvel hero previously played by Wesley Snipes in the Marvel Comics franchise in films released in 1998, 2002, and 2004. White writer David Goyer, a frequent Marvel and DC scribe, wrote the original movies released by New Line. Initial plans for “Blade, the Vampire Slayer” were revealed at 2019’s Comic-Con in San Diego.

This makes Osei-Kuffour Marvel’s first Black female writer on a feature. Nia DaCosta, set for the upcoming “Captain Marvel 2,” will mark the studio’s first Black woman director. Osei-Kuffour additionally has a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on “Watchmen,” also adapted from a comic.

Human-vampire hybrid Blade first appeared as a supporting character in the “Tomb of Dracula” comic in 1973 before going on to become a cult favorite. Plot details and a director for the upcoming film remain unknown, but it’s intended to relaunch the character back into the ever-evolving Marvel Cinematic Universe. This won’t mark Mahershala Ali’s first dip into the Marvel world, as he previously starred in “Marvel’s Luke Cage” on Netflix as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, though that series was canceled in 2018 after two seasons. Ali also lent his voice to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the Academy Award-winning animated favorite.

Ali was most recently seen in the Hulu comedy series “Ramy,” as well as on HBO’s third season of “True Detective.”

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