Who Should Direct Blade for the MCU

Blade is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have an actor but the quest is on to find a director. Take a look at some possible choices.

Marvel Studios announced a slew of films at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, but the big surprise was the announcement of Blade. Blade was the first Marvel comics character to hit it big on the big screen, with a solo film in 1998 that spawned two sequels and a short-lived television series on Spike. In the mid-2000s the character was a big name for Marvel, including being a playable character in 2006’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance. But it appeared he faded into the background just as the MCU was starting to kick off. Rumors had circulated about when audiences would ever see Blade on the big screen again. Fans knew they wouldn’t get a sequel to the original films since the film star Wesley Snipes went to prison for tax evasion. Plus it appeared not making a Blade movie in a certain amount of time meant the rights reverted back to Marvel Studios.

Many assumed if we would ever see Blade again, it would be as a television series. The character was often believed a perfect candidate for the adult-orientated Netflix Marvel series. Once Netflix started canceling those shows all eyes pointed to Hulu, as they had both The Runaways and the recently announced Ghost Rider series and Hellstorms series. That indicated the Hulu corner of Marvel would be more supernaturally horror based.

Then Marvel surprised everyone and announced that not only would Blade be getting a movie (in Phase 5), but they already had an actor attached. Two time Academy Award-winning Mahershala Ali had signed on to play Blade. Ali apparently called Marvel about playing Blade after winning his second Best Supporting Oscar for Green Book. The offer was too good to pass up and Kevin Fiege signed him up.

This is a big move for Marvel Studios. While Brie Larson was cast as Captain Marvel long before the film booked its directors, she was cast because they needed to film her scenes for Avengers: Endgame. Same goes with Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther for Captain America: Civil War. Yet with no rumored appearances for Blade, this means this is the first time an actor has been booked for a solo movie without a director, and no planned appearances in any film beforehand.

Now that audiences know who will star as Blade, the next question is who will direct the film for the MCU. The previous three films were each done by a different director with vastly different backgrounds. Stephen Norrington, Guillermo Del Toro, and David S. Goyer have all left their mark on the Blade franchise. Each of the three films is unique from each other. This Blade film has to not only live up to the memory of those previous films, but also set a new template and exist within the context of the MCU. Not an easy task.

Yet Marvel Studios has shown they have a real talent for picking directors. Typically looking outside of the box to find unique creative voices helps turn these from simple superhero films into something much more. Since Ali is the one who helped make Blade a reality, one wonders if he will have a say in the director, or if he will be able to sway some previous colleagues into joining him on this crazy adventure (Marvel may not have played ball with Edward Norton, but they did have to with Robert Downey Jr.).

We have compiled a list of directors Marvel should consider for helming the first Blade film in the MCU.

Dee Rees

Dee Rees should have been handed offers by every major studio after Mudbound premiered at Sundance back in 2017. Yet sadly, like many films released on Netflix, despite massive critical acclaim it got buried under the mountains of other programming. Dee Rees’ strong directorial voice was mainly missed by the mainstream public, and Marvel Studios could be the one to get her name out there and her visionary eye into a major motion picture seen by millions of people the world over.

Getting Dee Rees would be a major steal for Marvel Studios and give them a certain level of credibility by getting a beloved auteur director. A studio as big as Marvel giving a platform to a voice as unique and visionary as Dee Rees, that is going underutilized, would be beneficial for both parties. A Blade movie directed by Dee Rees is such an exciting premise, one hopes Marvel is paying attention.

Amma Asante

British-born director Amma Asante’s filmography features films like A Way of Life, Belle, A United Kingdom, and Where Hands Touch. Her place in the British film scene makes her an ideal candidate to tap into a major aspect of the Blade comics previous films ignored: the fact that he is British. Yes, in the original comics Blade is British. So that is an aspect that can be explored by a very British filmmaker.

Amma Asante is of Ghanian descent but raised in a London home and upbringing. She is very much raised and defined by two cultures that have influenced her work. Belle is the story of a mixed-race daughter of an enslaved African woman and a British navy captain. Those themes of being from two worlds that influence who you are sit very much at the center of the Blade storyline. Part vampire, part human. Belonging to both worlds yet neither. How does he find his identity? Allowing a visionary filmmaker to put their unique spin on a classic superhero tale and explore deeply personal themes worked well for both Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther.

Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins directed Blade star Mahershia Ali to an Academy Award win with Moonlight, so he already has a strong working relationship with the actor. Moonlight also walked away with the Best Picture win, making him a big name for Marvel Studios to aim for. Jenkins’ follow-up film, the beautiful If Beale Streets Could Talk, was sadly ignored by not only the awards crowd but the mainstream audience.

Barry Jenkins films are often very intimate character pieces. While the previous Blade films have been focused on action and horror elements, that the Marvel Studios version will as well, getting Jenkins would provide a very unique look for a Blade movie. One that is more introspective, allowing him to examine his relationship with his vampire half. So combining Jenkins’ working relationship with the actor, the strength of his previous two films, and his Academy Award win makes him a great choice to helm the daywalker’s next adventure.

Angela Robinson

Angela Robinson broke onto the scene with the action-comedy D.E.B.S. back in 2004. While a bomb, the film gained a cult following. In 2006 she then directed the Disney family film Herbie: Fully Loaded. Her most recent film, 2017’s Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, was a critical darling yet sadly underperformed at the box office. She has a diverse filmography ranging from action/comedy, family film, and historical biopic. She is a chameleon of a director who can fit into many different genres and could even bring those disparate elements together for a Blade film unlike any other.

Like many of Marvel’s big names – the Russo Brothers (Community) and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – she has a history in television. She worked as a writer/producer on the HBO series Hung, as well as contributing to True Blood. The vampire genre has changed a lot since Blade last hit the silver screen, so getting a creative mind from one of the most influential vampires shows in recent memory could help bring Blade into the modern age.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen might be the most traditionally established director on this list. He was nominated for Best Director for 12 Years a Slave (which ended up winning the Best Picture that year as well), and his filmography includes Shame, Hunger, and Widows. Widows were positioned as both a mainstream heist film but also possible awards contender (sadly was shut out of most). Still, one only has to look over his films to see a great filmmaker that any franchise would be lucky to have.

His tendency to create socially relevant films grounded in a realistic-looking world would be a great stylistic way to establish the Blade movies in the MCU. Widows showed that McQueen can work within the context of a crowd-pleasing mainstream film. He could craft one that could pay respect to Blade films of the past while being something entirely unique in terms of the MCU.

Melina Matsoukas

Melina Matsoukas’ first film, Queen & Slim, hits theaters on November 27th but she is already an accomplished director. She has been directing music videos since 2006, having won two Grammy Awards for Best Music Video in 2013 (Rhianna‘s ‘We Found Love’) and 2017 (Beyoncé‘s ‘Formation’). She has directed episodes for hit television series Insecure and Master of None.

This is the filmography and background of a filmmaker just waiting to burst out, and Marvel Studios would be smart to book her and give her a larger platform. Marvel found success booking directors from smaller indie films and giving them the support of a major studio, booking exciting and at-times emerging talent. It worked on investments like James Gunn, Ryan Coogler, and the studio is hoping it will pay off with recent hires Cate Shortland and Chloe Zhao.

 

Now, there were two names you may have noticed missing from this list: Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) and Boots Riley (Sorry To Bother You) and there is a good reason for that. Jordan Peele has already expressed interest in wanting to focus on original film ideas. Plus he has a strong working history with Universal Studios, who has a first-look deal with the filmmaker. Boots Riley’s film featured a scene where the fallen protagonist crossed the picket line to work for his capitalist overlords…so I have a hard time seeing him sign on for a Marvel Studios film. His thoughts on capitalism seem pretty clear.

What do you think of our list? Who would you like to see direct Blade? What do you want to see in a Blade movie? Let us know in the comments below.