THE WOMAN KING Makes Viola Davis a Powerful African General

A new historical film is on the way this year. And, unlike many others that revisit the same figures over and over again, this one is delivering something novel and quite epic. The Old Guard and Love & Basketball director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King will hit theaters on September 16. It stars none other than Viola Davis. Of course, there isn’t a trailer yet. But the premise, cast, and first look photos of The Woman King are more than enough to get us on board. 

Viola Davis in The Woman King first look photo
TriStar Pictures

According to Deadline, this film draws inspiration from a series of events in The Kingdom of Dahomey (now southern Benin), a powerful state in 18th and 19th century Africa. Davis is Nanisca, a general of an all-woman military collective. She fights alongside Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), a recruit who helps this army fight against their foes who enslaved their people. The cast is further stacked with Lashana Lynch (No Time to Die), John Boyega of Star Wars fame, Shelia Atim, Adrienne Warren, Jayme Lawson, and Hero Fiennes Tiffin. Prince-Bythewood pens the script while Davis does double duty as a producer alongside her husband Julius Tennon. 

Viola Davis stands with an army in the grassland in the woman king
TriStar Pictures

Now, let’s bask more in the glory of these photos. The brilliantly lit dark skin. The wardrobe. The sheer power of Viola Davis, a queen and acting icon. September is too far away. We’d love to see it right now. Please. It goes without saying how vital a film like The Woman King is. Black history is global and extends far beyond what we normally see in TV and film. Although this may not be a straight-up historical, it is a gateway into learning more about new kingdoms and eras. And we can get something that film doesn’t focus on enough: a look into Black women in the military. We look forward to seeing more of The Woman King in the coming months. 

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