After originally being scheduled to begin production in September of 2021 before being delayed, Marvel Studios Blade project is back pre-production ahead of an expected August 2022 start. Recently, some still shots of a Zoom meeting that included star Mahershala Ali, writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, and the director Bassam Tariq along with Marvel Studios One-Above-All, Kevin Feige, made their way online and, over the last couple of days, some character descriptions for roles currently being cast have surfaced. And while Marvel Studios doesn’t give too much away in the character descriptions used for casting, the most recent one included one hint that may point in one very particular direction.
Yesterday, a description for a character code named “Abid” made its way around the internet. “Abid” is described as a burly, South Asian character who has taken a vow of silence after a turbulent life. While it’s not a perfect translation of the character, “Abid” sounds incredibly similar to Taj Nital, a one-time ally of Blade and a member of one of Marvel Comics’ first group of vampire hunters.
Taj was indeed a burly, South Asian character who was first introduced in Tomb of Dracula #3, who did not speak; however, in the comics, he didn’t speak because he had his throat ripped out by vampires, so a slight change there. Taj, along with Rachel van Helsing, the granddaughter of great vampire hunter Abraham van Helsing, worked with Quincy Harker to hunt down the world’s oldest vampire threat, Dracula. Harker, the son of Jonathan and Mina Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, eventually worked with Frank Drake, a descendant of Dracula, and Blade to take on the vampire nation.
If “Abid” is Taj, it’s possible that the other character descriptions that surfaced recently might be for Harker and Rachel van Helsing. Marvel Studios often casts in groups that will be working together, so “Huntley”, described as a man, 40-60, could be Harker, and “Faiza”, a French-speaking North African female between 20 and 40 could be a new take on Rachel. Obviously this is speculation, but it’s sensible speculation that these characters will be working together since they are casting them at the same time.
Of course, the most exciting thing about these potential casting is that IF these characters are Harker’s vampire hunters, it’s very likely that Blade will be used not only to introduce vampires to the MCU, but also to bring Dracula in right away. Given Harker and van Helsing’s relationship to Dracula, it’s hard to imagine him not showing up if these are, in fact, those characters.
Marvel Studios Blade will film from August until December of this year and currently has no release date.