The beloved stuntman-turned-director has found plenty of success in the Keanu Reeves-led John Wick films, with that franchise turning into a bit of a cinematic universe in its own right.
However, it seems Stahelski was once eyeing another franchise in Marvel Studios' MCU. The filmmaker has talked about wanting to work with the super-powered brand in the past, specifically calling out the idea of directing a Blade movie.
But in the time since then, it seems as though the director's mind changed about hopping aboard the Marvel IP train.
No MCU for John Wick's Chad Stahelski
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Direct's Klein Felt, John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski, who has directed all four installments in the Wick franchise, shared his thoughts on potentially taking the directing chair for an MCU project.
When asked about his Blade pitch to Marvel Studios, the John Wick filmmaker remarked that "[he] was one of many that brought in takes of it," but it ultimately did not go anywhere:
Klein Felt: "And you've played well, or potentially played in the world of IP before, right? You pitched 'Blade' to Marvel Studios?"
Chad Stahelski: "I was one of many that brought in takes of it, sure. That's the one property I always thought was fascinating. I'm always fascinated by vampire and martial arts. So it seemed like a good mix."
Then on the subject of if he would want to play in that super-powered world with any other characters, Stahelski noted "Blade was probably [his] favorite kick out of that;" however, he now realizes "there are people that get that IP better than me:"
Felt: "I was gonna ask, is there anything else from that super-powered world that you would be interested in doing?"
Stahelski: "Honestly, Blade was probably my favorite kick out of that. But like, look, I'm a big fan of that genre. I love Batman. I love the Marvel world. I love the first 'Iron Man' to death. I love James Gunn's first 'Guardians' to death. These are all milestones, I think, in cinema. I just also think that there are people that get that IP better than me. I know my sweet spot. I do better when there are no limits. I do better when I can kind of bend the rules. I like to be a little bit more subversive. So it's kind of weird."
The 54-year-old shared why he's so hesitant now: "Even up to four or five years ago, I would have pretty much taken that shot," but he hopes that he has "evolved as a filmmaker" and can keep "trying to get some new IP in the game:"
Stahelski: "Maybe, even up to four or five years ago, I would have pretty much taken that shot, I think. Now, I've kind of hopefully evolved as a filmmaker. I don't know. I feel comfortable in creating things. I feel comfortable working with other people to try and build something. Look, what I'm saying is there's great IP out there there are people already doing it. You know? I'm gonna swing for the cheap seats over here. I'm gonna go big and try to make our own stuff. Someone's got to keep trying to get some new IP in the game. I think I'm gonna go try that for a little while."
Chad Stahelski Finds His Own MCU
While, as Chad Stahelski noted, he has "hopefully evolved as a filmmaker" in the time since pitching his take on Marvel's Blade a couple of years ago, that is not going to stop fans from dreaming about what that film would have looked like.
The director has become known for his intense action sequences, incredible world-building, and distinct style of pushing-the-envelope choreography, which would have been a perfect fit for the world of Blade.
Stahelski previously remarked that "if Marvel ever wants to do an edgy rated R version" of the character to "give [him] a call," but that seems unlikely to happen, at least in this era of the MCU.
But the John Wick filmmaker seems to feel better off playing in his own playground, and it has been fruitful for him to do so. The John Wick franchise - which the director has been a part of since the beginning - has grown to become one of the most beloved batches of action films ever.
And he has seen it grow from a single movie to now four mainline films, an upcoming spin-off movie, and a streaming prequel series, stretching its narrative tendrils in the way that the super-powered franchises of Marvel and DC have.
Yes, the future of the John Wick franchise beyond its two upcoming spin-offs remains a massive question mark, but it feels like director Chad Stahelski can sleep well at night knowing he has made the movies he wants to make.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is playing in movie theaters worldwide now.