One of comics’ most formidable ladies is finally returning to the big screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Hannah John-Kamen is officially our new Red Sonja. The fiery barbarian queen is coming from Joey Soloway, who will direct the project and who co-wrote the script with Tasha Huo. Millennium Pictures, the longtime Red Sonja rights holders, will produce.
Red Sonja is a 1970s Marvel Comics creation, originally part of the cast of the Conan the Barbarian comic book series. So why is the film coming from Millennium Pictures and not Marvel Studios, despite her Marvel pedigree? Although originally a Marvel hero, she is an amalgamation of several characters thought up by Conan creator Robert E. Howard. One of which is actually named “Red Sonya of Rogatino.” That Red Sonya is a totally different character, whose adventure takes place in another fictional reality.
Since Marvel only licensed the Conan the Barbarian characters from the Robert E. Howard estate, and never outright owned them, the rights to the character transferred from one company to another for years. Even ones created by Marvel Comics, like Red Sonja, don’t technically belong to them. The most recent Red Sonja comics came from publisher Dynamite Entertainment. The new movie will draw inspiration from those comics, many of them coming from writer Gail Simone.
The original Red Sonja film came out in 1985, with Brigitte Nielsen in the title role. The film didn’t do well, so the character is due for a redemption arc. “There could not be a greater moment in our world for Red Sonja’s ways of wielding power and her connection with nature and our planet,” Soloway said in a statement, adding that Sonja is “an ancient heroine with an epic calling.”
There is no official start date for the film as of yet.