Red Sonja Movie

Following extensive allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, director Bryan Singer was removed from the long-gestating Red Sonja movie. The project was given a dose of new energy and excitement when Transparent creator Jill Soloway was hired to replace him, making this the first large-scale, high profile project to be tackled by a non-binary director. Now that they’re hard at work getting the comic book adaptation off the ground, they teased what fans can expect from the film with some surprising comparisons to both Deadpool and The Dark Knight.

Speaking with Deadline recently, Jill Soloway opened up a bit about their approach to Red Sonja as a movie:

“I can really have so much fun with Red Sonja. I see her a little bit more like the first kind of bad girl superhero. Sort of like the Batman of The Dark Knight or Deadpool, you know? The world is changing so much right now for superheroes, that I just really look forward to not only going to the edge of what I’ve ever written and directed before, but to the edge of the genre as well.”

For those who don’t know, Red Sonja was originally a Marvel Comics character who debuted alongside Conan the Barbarian in 1973, but she now resides at Dynamite Comics. She’s partially based on a character known as Red Sonya of Rogatino, from Robert E. Howard’s 1934 short story The Shadow of the Vulture and exists in a fantastic world involving swords and sorcery.

Red Sonja’s origin story is a little dated and problematic for modern audiences. At 17, her family is killed by a group of mercenaries. When she attempts to pick up a sword to defend herself, she cannot lift it, and ends up getting raped by the leader of the group. Afterwards, the red goddess Scáthach appears to her and endows her with incredible fighting skills in order to exact her revenge. However, in order to keep her newfound abilities, she must vow never to lay with a man unless he defeats her in combat. Yeah, it’s pretty messed up.

However, the more recent origin story for Red Sonja from acclaimed comic writer Gail Simone makes some necessary changes to the story. While her family is still killed when she’s a teenager, instead of being too weak to do anything about it, she lures them men responsible for her family’s death into the woods and kills them one by one. She’s not given any assistance from a goddess, she’s not raped or injured, and she learns her fighting skills when she’s taken as a prisoner and forced to be a gladiator.

It’s likely that this is the origin story that Jill Soloway will go with for the movie. Soloway spoke further about their approach:

“I’ve always talked about myself as doing work that attempts to heal the divided feminine in our culture, the idea that women get kind of chopped up into wife or other woman or good girl, bad girl or Charlie’s Angels or all the women on Sex in the City, and that this idea of the divided feminine means that women get like a small slice to be. All my work is really about humans searching for some divine feminine, asking these questions about God and looking for meaning. So, for me to transfer that into the world of Red Sonja felt incredibly natural, because Red Sonja is a very different kind of superhero. She’s not really typical.”

That sounds like exactly what Red Sonja needs, but, count me a little perplexed by the talk of both Deadpool and The Dark Knight in the same breath. Those two movies (and their respective characters) couldn’t be more different from each other. Plus, the use of the latter to help set the tone for any superhero movie feels tired at this point. But even with that oddball reflection, the prospect of a talent like Jill Soloway working on something like Red Sonja is still something to be happy about, and we’re very interested in seeing how they pull it off.

Red Sonja doesn’t have a release date and we don’t know when production starts, so stay tuned for more soon.

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