The film stars double Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as the vampire-hunting superhero Eric Cross Brooks, AKA Blade.
Blade was set to begin filming in Atlanta in November. News of Tariq’s departure was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, who noted that it was “unclear” how the exit would affect the production schedule.
“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,” Marvel said in a statement to the outlet.
“We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done getting Blade to where it is.”
While Marvel’s statement seems to suggest that the filmmaker’s exit from the project was simply the result of a scheduling issue, there have also been unverified rumours of further disruption behind the scenes.
Journalist Jeff Sneider claimed on Twitter that he had been told by someone familiar with the project that the current script for Blade is “roughly 90 pages” long – unusually short for a film of this scale. He also claimed that the script features just two “lacklustre” action sequences.
“Mahershala [is] said to be very frustrated with the process,” he alleged. “[Marvel Studios boss Kevin] Feige said to be spread too thin. But hey, that’s just what sources are telling me.”
The Independent has contacted Marvel Studios and Mahershala Ali for comment.
Blade is set to be released in cinemas on 3 November 2023.