Last weekend, Mahershala Ali was revealed to be Marvel’s new Blade to a rapturous audience at San Diego Comic-Con. Once the dust settled, and Kevin Feige confirmed we wouldn’t be seeing the half-human half-vampire until Phase 5, rumours began circulating as to which director would helm the film. Jordan Peele was, naturally, a popular choice, but he has reportedly turned down the offer.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Peele explained: “So many of those properties — it’s a childhood dream to be able to essentially see what you saw in your imagination as a child, watching or reading or whatever you were doing with that stuff. It’s a filmmaker’s dream.
But you know, I feel like I only have so much time. I have a lot of stories to tell, and it just doesn’t feel right. It just doesn’t feel right. I’m a comic book and graphic novel appreciator, but I can’t call myself a true fanboy”.
Although Peele directing Blade would certainly have been cool, he’s totally right. He’s one of the few filmmakers right now than essentially has a blank cheque to make whatever original project he wants. The amount of directors that have that sort of power is probably in single figures. Helming Blade would be a waste of his incredible talent and current opportunities to make original films.
And as popular as the MCU is, directors often struggle to forge their own original vision with the films, as each movie has to adhere to the MCU rules and link to the cinematic universe. Even great directors like Ryan Coogler helming a great film like Black Panther still have the action scenes outsourced to Marvel’s in-house crew, and the Marvel colour palette that is often criticised mostly remains.
Peele went on to explain that this same reasoning is why he’s only producing the spiritual sequel to 90s horror classic, Candyman: “Candyman was one of my favourites. As a director, if I was going to do any pre-existing property it’d be something like that. But I just feel like, look let’s help tell the story, but save my directing ventures for these stories that are my originals. I don’t know a better way to say it”.
So, we can all look forward to Peele’s next film being another original movie. That’s great news for the industry, especially after how Us performed at the box office. Fans will now continue to theorise who could direct Blade. The original 1998 film was helmed by Stephen Norrington with a screenplay by David S. Goyer. It’s almost certain that Feige is looking for bigger names than that this time around.