Marvel’s Blade Filming Delayed Due to SAG-AFTRA and WGA Strikes

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

The filming of Marvel’s upcoming superhero film ‘Blade’ is delayed due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. The production was supposed to begin in June 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia, but may now commence only after the two ongoing strikes conclude. The film revolves around the Marvel Comics character Blade, a half-human vampire hunter. However, no further details of the plot have been revealed as of now.

The production team had chosen the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta to commence the shoot of the film. The studio, home to 12 sound stages, has earlier hosted the filming of ‘Red Notice,’ ‘First Man’, ‘The Contractor,’ ‘Zombieland: Double Tap,’ ‘Hawkeye,’ and ‘Coming 2 America.’ Some portions of the movie are slated to be filmed in New Orleans and Cleveland as well.

Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali is playing the titular role in the film. The actor is known for his stellar performances in ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Green Book,’ ‘Swan Song,’ ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ ‘House of Cards,’ and ‘True Detective.’ Interestingly, Ali has already made his debut as Blade in the MCU in the 2021 film ‘Eternals.’ The actor had an uncredited voice cameo in the film.

In an interview,  Ali opened up about stepping into the shoes of the vampire hunter. “It was scary. Because, you know, you’re talking before you’re filming it. I’m pretty particular about my choices, like most actors, and so having to make some choices – even with a line, vocally – this early on, it brought up some very real anxieties. And it made the job real. It’s like, ‘Okay, this is happening now,’ you know, and that’s exciting,” the actor told Empire. Furthermore, Delroy Lindo (‘Da 5 Bloods’), Mia Goth (‘Pearl’), and Saul Williams (‘Slam’) are part of the film’s cast.

‘Blade’ was first announced by Marvel Studios at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, with Bassam Tariq helming the project and Michael Starrbury serving as the scriptwriter. However, the director left the film before the filming could begin and was replaced by Yann Demange, whose credits include ‘White Boy Rick,’ ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl,’ ‘Criminal Justice,’ ‘Dead Set,’ and ‘Lovecraft Country.’ The production then went through several delays and the release date was pushed multiple times.

In February 2023, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige announced that the film was back on track, with Nic Pizzolatto,  who is known for creating ‘True Detective,’ reportedly taking over the writing duties from Starrbury. “It’s going well. Our director Yann is down in Atlanta right now. Cameras roll in, like, the next 10 weeks or so,” Feige revealed at the time. However, the WGA strike began in May 2023 and deterred the filming of the movie. ‘Blade,’ which was set to arrive in cinemas on November 3, 2023, as per the initial plan, is now scheduled to release on February 14, 2025. But with the ongoing strikes, it remains to be seen if the production will be able to meet the release timeline.