News had been quiet on the Blade front in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though that changed following the studio’s Hall H panel at Comic Con. Kevin Feige took to the stage to announce that Blade, starring two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book) would begin filming in October. Blade‘s release date was also announced, with the film slated to hit theaters on November 3, 2023.
Blade was first announced in the same room three years ago, alongside the reveal of Ali‘s casting. Both this film and Fantastic 4 are the only projects announced at the MCU panel in 2019 that have yet to be released, though there were also soft mentions of The Marvels, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic threw several wrenches into Feige and Marvel‘s plans. Additionally, it’s now known that Blade will be a part of Marvel‘s Phase 5, further making its delay clearer.
Filming for Blade is expected to take place at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, with the city becoming synonymous as a filming location for several Marvel projects. Additional locations for the shoot will include New Orleans, Cleveland, Ohio, and Morocco. The only other confirmed castings in the project are Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) and Aaron Pierre (Old) in mystery roles, though it’s highly likely that Eternals‘ Dane Whitman, played by Kit Harington, will appear in the film. Blade’s voice was briefly heard in the post credits scene of that film, questioning Whitman’s choice to use the Ebony Blade. Presumably, this ancient artifact will be a major element of the film.
Bassam Tariq (Mogul Mowgli) is directing the film, based on a screenplay by Stacey Osei-Kuffour (Watchmen, Pen15). It’s not clear what direction the film will take, particularly with how close it will steer to being an origin for Eric Brooks/Blade. In the comics, Brooks is born as a human/vampire hybrid, due to his mother being killed by a vampire as she delivered her son. Blade uses this origin to become a vampire hunter, as he is impervious to vampire bites.
Marvel is certainly skewing more into the horror realm with films like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the announced Werewolf by Night with Gael García Bernal. Nothing has been said on the latter project, aside from it being a Halloween special released to Disney+. However, with Disney‘s D23 is just around the corner in early September, expect Feige and Marvel to pull the curtain back even more on Blade and the rest of the current Multiverse Sage.
Blade will hit theaters on November 3, 2023.