Marvel’s Blade Director Reveals Its R-Rating, And How He’s Approaching The Film

 Mahershala Ali as sunglasses-wearing Vector in Alita: Battle Angel.
Mahershala Ali as sunglasses-wearing Vector in Alita: Battle Angel.

Of all the upcoming Marvel movies that are on the docket, one of the most intriguing and highly anticipated has to be Blade. The Mahershala Ali-led flick has been in development for some time now and has seen its share of starts and stops. Yet it’s still moving forward, and its director, Yann Demange, just dropped a major detail. Following much discussion amongst fans, Demange revealed that the superhero flick will have an R-rating. The director also shared some interesting details regarding his approach to the vampiric motion picture.

Blade was previously thought to have been given a PG-13 rating as confirmed by Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige. However, this past year has seen the emergence of rumors that suggested the filmmakers were changing course. Yann Demange confirmed as much when he sat down with Deadline for a wide-ranging interview. When discussing his comic book movie, the White Boy Rick helmer stated that the R distinction is “important” for what he hopes to accomplish. That rating is exciting enough, but it’s the filmmaker’s tease that’ll truly get fans of the Daywalker pumped:

They gave me the R, which is so important. … But for Blade, we are going to have fun because Mahershala is such a deep actor. I’m excited to show a kind of ruthlessness, a roughness he has, that allows him to walk the earth in a particular way. I love him for that. He’s got a dignity and integrity, but there is a ferocity there that he usually keeps under the surface. I want to unleash that and put it on the screen.

This is a big step – not only for the project but for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. With this rating, the film won’t be under as many constraints and could theoretically show off plenty of blood and even a touch of gore similar to what fans saw with Wesley Snipes’ iteration of the antihero. From a big-picture perspective, this now marks the second MCU movie, behind Deadpool 3, to receive the big R. There was a time at which the Disney-owned studio was set on sticking to PG-13. The expansive franchise has reached a new era, though, one that’s allowing creatives to try new approaches, for better and for worse.

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Yann Demange’s description of the flick is exciting as well and seems to be in line with what audiences know about the character. Eric Brooks (which is the lead’s birth name) isn’t as squeaky clean as MCU characters like Steve Rogers, Peter Parker or T’Challa. Brooks sits in a gray era alongside some other notable figures within the cinematic universe. What’s interesting is that this news arrives shortly after the announcement of the Marvel Spotlight banner, which will highlight grittier stories set within this continuity. Given the rating and description of the fanged justice-seeker’s first solo outing, I wouldn’t be shocked if this movie falls under that umbrella.

Announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Blade will not only star Mahershala Ali but also Aaron Pierre, Mia Goth and Delroy Lindo. Bassim Tariq was initially signed on to helm it but had to depart the project in September 2022 due to scheduling shifts. Yann Demange was tapped as the new director by November of that year and, at the same time, it was confirmed that Emmy-winner Michael Starrbury was working on a page-one rewrite. Filming will commence once the SAG-AFTRA strike is over.

Wild rumors about the script have been swirling around as of late, though it sounds like, at this point, Yann Demange knows exactly what he wants for this production. As a fan, I’m delighted to see that this movie has found a director with a vision and passion for the project. Franchise OG Wesley Snipes believes an R-rating isn’t needed for the movie, but I get the feeling that Demange is going to use it appropriately. One can only hope that once filming begins, it progresses smoothly and results in a movie that firmly captures the essence of one of the most revered characters in all of comics.

Blade is scheduled to open in theaters on February 14, 2025. While you wait for more updates, you can stream the original trilogy using a Hulu subscription.