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Please Stop Asking Jordan Peele to Direct ‘Blade;’ He Probably Has More Interesting Shit to Work on 

Please Stop Asking Jordan Peele to Direct ‘Blade;’ He Probably Has More Interesting Shit to Work on 

Photo Credit: Brian Stukes/Getty Images

Why are people trying to put restraints on the most inventive, original, and powerful director working?

On Saturday, July 20th, Marvel Studios announced “Phase Four” of its Marvel Cinematic Universe at San Diego Comic-Con. As it turns out, Avengers: Endgame was not the end of a never-ending stream of Marvel movies, despite the fact that — spoiler alert — Ironman is dead and Captain America is about to die.

Over the next two years, 11 Marvel projects will be released — some in theaters, some on the upcoming Disney Plus platform. 

READ: How Jordan Peele’s Us Navigates Michael Jackson In A Post-Leaving Neverland World

The project fanboys (and girls) were most excited about was an upcoming Blade movie; Mahershala Ali will play the title character — a role the two time Oscar winner actually approached Marvel about. This will be the second adaptation of the Blade character: Wesley Snipes played the character three times in the Blade Trilogy that went from pretty good to objectively terrible. (By the end Snipes was fed up, too; he reportedly was referring to co-star Ryan Reynolds as “that cracker.”)

After the news hit, fans came with their wishlist of directors. At the top was Jordan Peele. There were blogs. And there were tweets. Lots of tweets. 

 

And I get it. Blade is black; Peele is black. And there’s a lot of cool horror shit happening in the Blade comic. No one working in Hollywood is better at merging horror, comedy, and action than Peele — something he’s displayed with his first two features, Get Out and Us.  

But, also — fuck — can we be more imaginative? Why are people trying to put restraints on the most inventive, original, and powerful director working? 

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What makes Marvel the best at what they do — world-building — is the infrastructure they’ve built. Directors might bring a little voice and charm but they’re always working on Marvel’s palette. Which is why the movies all tend to look the same. It’s a structure perfectly beneficial to the studio, where directors have power but no control. When choosing directors for movies, they go to the indie scene, where you can find talent that’s still a little undervalued. 

Kevin Feige, the mastermind producer behind the MCU, explained how he picked directors in 2017:

If you look at their films, they’re not big, FX-driven movies. If you look at our films, most of our directors haven’t done big FX-driven movies, but they’re all unbelievably well done character journeys. That’s what we never want to get lost among the spectacle.

Diverge from the formula and mistakes happen. Edgar Wright had spent years trying to develop an Ant-Man movie. However, by 2014, Wright and Marvel would part ways. Wright later said of the experience: “I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie.” The subtext is the Marvel infrastructure was too restraining.

Basically, for directors, working on a Marvel movie becomes the vehicle to work on the projects they’re really passionate about. So Taika Waititi will direct Thor Ragnonrok so he could get a crack at Jojo Rabbit — whatever that is. (The exception to this was Ryan Coogler who had big-budget experience with Creed before he took on Black Panther.)

Peele would make a kickass Blade movie. But there’s a really good chance he has some better, more creative shit on the drawing board. People direct movies like Blade so they could direct bugged shit like Get Out. So why should he backtrack?

To his credit, it’s a position he is quite aware of. In an interview with RollingStone, he talked about why he has little interest in established IP and instead would rather build his own world.

“ I feel like I only have so much time. I have a lot of stories to tell, and it just doesn’t feel right,” he said. He also added “I’m a comic book and graphic novel appreciator, but I can’t call myself a true fanboy.”

So, please, can we move on and let Peele cook?

 

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