Today, Deadline broke the exclusive news that Marvel is set to choose Mogul Mowgli director Bassam Tariq to direct the new ‘Blade’ film starring Mahershala Ali. Sources close to Deadline say that while deal hasn’t been finalized, it does come at the end of a fairly long and considerate search for the film’s director. When the deal is officially inked, Tariq will become Marvel’s sixth director of color, rounding out the list of his contemporaries that include Ryan Coogler, Chloé Zhao, and Taika Waititi.
The Pakistani director has established a name for himself early on in his career, winning the Black Pearl Award in the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival for his work on the documentary film These Birds Walk. His voice is communicated through rich, visual storytelling that infuses the influence of his cultural roots and family ties. Tariq’s most recent film, Mogul Mowli (co-written by and starring Riz Ahmed), has been widely praised. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes agreed that the film was “an ambitious portrait of the complicated nature of identity, the challenging and emotionally raw Mogul Mowgli showcases a heartbreaking performance from Riz Ahmed.”
When plans for a new Blade film were announced during Marvel’s presentation at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, the response was overwhelmingly positive, with fans losing their collective minds over the prospect of finally seeing the vampire hunter on the big-screen after nearly two decades. Two years later, Marvel is set to tap a director whose voice, narrative style, and film chops set Blade up as one of the most anticipated titles coming out of Phases 4 and 5.