Chadwick Boseman To Play The First African Samurai In 'Yasuke'

Chadwick Boseman is trading his suit of Vibranium for a suit of samurai armor to play the lead in the biopic Yasuke. The Black Panther actor will be leading the Yasuke cast as the titular real-life warrior who became the first and only African samurai in 16th century Japan. This will be the first film adaptation of the amazing true story of the first African samurai.Deadline reports that Chadwick Boseman has officially signed on to play the title character in Yasuke, the film adaptation of the story of the African slave-turned-samurai who served under Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in 16th century Japan. A native of Portuegese Mozambique, the real-life Yasuke was allegedly brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries, where he caught the attention of Oda Nobunaga, a ruthless feudal lord who sought to unify a divided Japan under his banner. Under retainer of Nobunaga, Yasuke eventually gained his trust, friendship, and respect, eventually ascending to the honor and title of samurai.

"The legend of Yasuke is one of history's best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai," Boseman said in a statement following his casting. "That's not just an action movie, that's a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it."

Boseman is no stranger to playing African warriors, most famously donning a Vibranium suit to play a fictional African warrior-king in Black Panther. But in Yasuke, he will be playing a real-life African warrior in a biopic — another genre that Boseman is quite familiar with. When he's not playing a superhero he loves to play historical African-American figures in films like Get On Up and Marshall. So Yasuke seems like the perfect blend of the genres he most enjoys working in: the epic action piece, and the biopic.

Yasuke has long been in the works, first getting started at Lionsgate under Erik Feige. But the project fell into development hell, only to regain steam when MGM recently set a rival Yasuke project. Feige is now producing Yasuke under his Picturestart with De Luca Productions' Mike De Luca, alongside Stephen L'Heureuex and Boseman. Doug Miro, best known for co-creating the acclaimed Netflix series Narcos, will pen the script.