Bassam Tariq has exited his role as director of Marvel Studios’ Blade.
Tariq’s departure comes as a surprise, as production was set to begin in November on Marvel’ Studios new adaptation about the iconic comic book vampire slayer. The film will still star Mahershala Ali in the title role, alongside a cast that includes Delroy Lindo and Aaron Pierre in undisclosed roles.
“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 to THR. “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.”
Although Tariq will no longer be helming Blade, the creative team will remain attached to the project as an executive producer. Tariq was first confirmed to be helming Blade in the summer of 2021.
It remains unclear how Tariq’s departure could impact the production timeline and release date for Blade, which has been set for a Nov. 3, 2023, release date. Questions also remain is the delay for Blade could potentially reshape Marvel Studios’ slate of content in unforeseen ways.
Blade has been on the horizon for some time now. The project was first announced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, with Ali making a surprise appearance at the conclusion of Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation. The arrival was met with an uproarious response from fans, both in-person and online.
Ali has already made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the role where the actor’s voice can be heard in a post-credits scene of 2021’s Eternals, which features the vampire slayer speaking to Kit Harington’s character Dane Whitman.