Sony Pictures has released the trailer for The Woman King, an upcoming historical epic starring Viola Davis. The film centers on the story of the Agojie, a real-life army of women warriors who defended the West African kingdom of Dahomey for centuries. Largely ignored by Western historians, the Agojie have nevertheless remained an important aspect of African history, and their story has provided inspiration to later generations, with Davis saying in interviews that she feels pressure to honor the stories of these remarkable Black women. Also starring in the film is Star Wars veteran John Boyega, who is featured fairly heavily in the trailer.
In popular culture, it's hard to ignore the similarities between the Agojie, sometimes called the "Dahomey Amazons," and Black Panther's Dora Milaje, the women who serve special forces in Wakanda. It's likely this is an intentional parallel, especially in later years as creators of color have had more of an opportunity to make an imprint on the Marvel Universe, and Black Panther's importance has resulted in many of his stories being approached in a more serious, even academic way than they had in the past.
"I've never had a role like this before. It's transformative," Davis explained to Vanity Fair. "And to be a producer on it, and to know that I had a hand in bringing it to fruition.... I knew what it would mean to us as Black people. Something that has never been done before. And what it would mean for Black women sitting in that movie theater. The responsibility is really high."
You can see the trailer below.
The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…
The Woman King stars Davis alongside Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and John Boyega. From a story by Maria Bellow, the film was written by Dana Stevens and Gina Prince-Bythewood, directed by Prince-Bythewood, and will be in theaters on September 16.