The Woman King is an upcoming action-drama directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard). Prince-Bythewood co-wrote the screenplay with Dana Stevens (Fatherhood) based on a storyline from Maria Bello (A History of Violence). Starring Oscar-winner Viola Davis (Fences) in a role we’ve never before seen her in, this movie is based on the epic and true story of the Dahomey Amazons and their fight for survival.
The movie was pitched by Bello to Davis in front of a live audience in 2015 during the Women Making History Awards ceremony at the Los Angeles National Women’s History Museum. Now, Maria Bello and Viola Davis are co-producers for the finished product. Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, The Woman King is set to be released in September 2022. This article will tell you everything you need to know before then!
When Does The Woman King Come Out and Where Can I Watch It?
The movie will be released exclusively to theaters on September 16, 2022, which means it won’t be available to stream for at least a few months after. The digital release date and streaming platform(s) have not yet been confirmed at this point.
If you want more insight into what to expect from The Woman King, give Black Panther another watch if you, like many others, were fascinated by the athleticism, courage, and military prowess exuded by the Dora Milaje. Despite the fact that it’s a highly stylized Marvel movie, those fierce women warriors were based on the real-life thing, the Agojie.
You bet there’s a trailer! Released on July 6, 2022, the trailer gives us a glimpse of the extreme brutality that threatens Dahomey, as well as the training methods for the Dahomey Amazons. You can watch the trailer below:
What Is The Woman King About?
Because this is a historical epic based on true events, some context is necessary to better understand the depth behind the plot of The Woman King.
Set in the late 1800s, in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey, a fierce, all-female military regiment known as the Agojie, has to fight for the lives and freedom of their kingdom when faced with outside aggressors. These women were given the name “Dahomey Amazons” by historians because of their similarity to the Amazons of mythology. Because of the high mortality rate of men within the Kingdom, due to constant warring with other West African states and the slave trade, women were recruited into the military, eventually taking it over entirely.
General Nanisca (Davis) is faced with a threat to the Kingdom of Dahomey when European forces begin to invade. The epic war she wages on them is based on the Franco-Dahomeyan war, which went on between 1890 and 1894. Nanisca also focuses on an ambitious new recruit, Nawi, who is played by Thuso Mbedu (The Underground Railroad). The character of Nawi is based on the real “last Dahomey Amazon” of the same name. In an interview in 1978, Nawi claimed to have fought the French in 1982. She later passed away in 1979, well over the age of 100.
The Dahomey Amazons, or “Agojie,” have had many other references in pop culture prior to being featured in The Woman King, most recently in the 2018 Marvel Cinematic Universe movie The Black Panther. The “Dora Milaje,” an all-female regiment of guards and bodyguards, is directly based on the Dahomey Amazons.
Lupita Nyong’o, who in Black Panther played Nakia, a former lover of the late Chadwick Boseman’s character, T’Challa, actually got to interview some descendants of the Dahomey Amazons in 2019, after she became intrigued by their influence in the creation of the Dora Milaje for the Marvel Comics and movies.
Who Are the Cast and Crew of The Woman King?
Director Gina Price-Bythewood is well-immersed in the industry, having directed many episodes on shows like Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, Cloak and Dagger, and Shots Fired. She has also directed the movies Beyond the Lights and Love and Basketball.
Producer and writer Maria Bello is a known actress and humanitarian, starring in numerous films such as Coyote Ugly, Lights Out, Beautiful Boy, and both Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. Her humanitarian work includes founding “WE ADVANCE,” an organization that encourages Haitian women to collaborate in making healthcare a priority and ending domestic violence within their communities, as well as being a board member of the Darfur Women Action Group.
Of course, Viola Davis will star in the lead role of General Nanisca, leading her army into battle to defend Dahomey, and Thuso Mbedu will be her young prodigy, based on the real-life Nawi. Lashana Lynch, who is known for her role as Carol Danvers’ best friend, Maria Rambeau, in Captain Marvel, will be playing Nanisca’s lieutenant in a yet-to-be-named character. She can be seen throughout the trailer, specifically in a scene that features a battle of strength, endurance, and determination during the training of the Dahomey warriors.
John Boyega, who made his theatrical breakout as a leading man in the Star Wars Universe as Finn in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, will be playing King Ghezo, ruler of Dahomey. His character seeks and trusts guidance from General Nanisca. King Ghezo is also based on his real-life counterpart of the same name, who is said to be responsible for the cultural switch from tradition and ceremony to a militarized state, effectively creating the Agojie.
The main antagonist, Santo Ferreira, will be played by Hero Fiennes Tiffin, who portrayed the younger version of Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Additionally, Sheila Atim (The Underground Railroad) will play Amenza, who is also seen at General Nanisca’s side throughout the trailer as another high-ranking lieutenant.
Other supporting cast members include Adrienne Warren, who is best known for her role as Tina Turner in the Broadway production of Tina. This will be her first big-screen debut. Jayme Lawson (The Batman), Masali Baduza (Noughts + Crosses), Angélique Kidjo (singer/songwriter Blood Diamond), and Shaina West (Black Widow) have also joined as part of the impressive female cast list.