Just weeks before Marvel’s Blade was set to begin filming in Atlanta, director Bassam Tariq has dropped out of the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He’ll remain onboard as an executive producer.
The vampire-hunting reboot stars Mahershala Ali alongside Delroy Lindo and Aaron Pierre, and is scheduled to shoot this November before arriving in theaters November 3rd, 2023. In a statement, Marvel said that Tariq’s withdrawal had to do with calendar conflicts.
“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,” the company wrote. “We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.”
Bassam added, “It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel. We were able to put together a killer cast and crew. Eager to see where the next director takes the film.”
Tariq broke out in 2013 with the Sundance-funded documentary These Birds Walk, about a runaway boy in Pakistan, and he made his fiction debut in 2020 with the Riz Ahmed-starring drama, Mogul Mowgli. A search for his replacement is ongoing.
Blade has been delayed several times, and after initially being announced for Marvel’s Phase 4, has now been pushed back to Phase 5. Beau DeMayo, a scribe on The Witcher and Marvel’s Moon Knight, has penned the latest draft of the script. So far, Marvel has not announced any changes to Blade‘s release schedule.