In a surprising turn of events, Mahershala Ali, the renowned actor set to take on the iconic role of Blade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reportedly contemplated leaving the project due to script-related issues.
Back in 2019, the excitement was palpable when Marvel producer Kevin Feige revealed that Ali would be donning the mantle of Blade, following in the footsteps of Wesley Snipes, who had previously portrayed the vampire hunter in the original film series.
However, the road to the Blade reboot has been far from smooth. In 2020, production faced a setback as Marvel temporarily halted proceedings in search of a new director, owing to scheduling conflicts and other challenges. Ali, though, continued to make his mark, earning an Emmy nomination for his role in the TV series ‘Ramy’ and starring alongside Ramy Youssef in the 2021 Sci-Fi movie ‘Swan Song.’
While it appeared that the Blade project was getting back on track, multiple writers and directors came and went from the production. But it was a recent script change that reportedly prompted Ali to contemplate parting ways with the film. Sources close to the project hinted that the narrative had shifted significantly, with Blade’s role allegedly evolving into a storyline predominantly led by female characters and filled with life lessons. This change demoted Ali from the primary lead to the fourth lead in the film, a shift that left the accomplished actor dissatisfied.
Ali’s concerns reached a critical point, but it was Marvel producer Kevin Feige, who had worked closely with the late Marvel creator Stan Lee and understood the project’s original vision, who stepped in to prevent Ali’s departure. In October 2023, Feige enlisted writer Michael Green, known for co-writing Marvel’s ‘Logan’ and the Warner Bros. hit ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ to overhaul the script, aiming to align it more closely with the intended direction of the Blade reboot.
As the industry grapples with an ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, production on the Blade reboot has yet to resume. However, the film is slated for release on Valentine’s Day 2025, with a relatively modest budget of less than $100 million, especially given Marvel Studios’ typical blockbuster budgets.
Despite the script-related hurdles and changes, Mahershala Ali remains attached to the project. For fans eagerly anticipating his return and a potentially award-winning performance, this latest development brings renewed hope to the highly anticipated Blade reboot.