Deadline reports that Bassam Tariq, best known for directing the 2020 Riz Ahmed-starring indie film Mogul Mowgli, has snagged the role in what will be his first major studio project. After beating out “dozens of candidates,” Tariq becomes the sixth person of color to direct a movie for Marvel, joining Ryan Coogler, Chloé Zhao, Destin Cretton, Taika Waititi and Nia DaCosta.
The news arrives exactly two years to the day that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced that Ali would play Blade during Marvel’s Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
“He’s the perfect Blade because he’s one of the greatest actors working today,” Feige said in July 2019. “He’s a huge fan of our universe and of the character and he’s going to destroy the part. It’s the kind of dream casting you almost don’t dare to dream that you could actually do it. But, we had a couple of meetings with him and decided very quickly ‘let’s do this.’”
Wesley Snipes previously played the role in a trilogy of movies released between 1998 and 2004: Blade (1998), Blade II (2002), Blade: Trinity (2004). Snipes was hoping to reprise the role before Marvel Studios acquired the rights to reboot Blade for the MCU, but he has since given his blessing to Ali.
Blade does not have an expected release date yet.