The long awaited reboot of Red Sonja is in jeopardy. After over 15 years in development, it should come as no surprise that the film has hit another roadblock, this time losing not just another director, but also the woefully miscast star Hannah John-Kamen, just as it appeared that the film project was finally coming together.
First appearing in Marvel Comics in 1973, Red Sonja has become the archetypal example of the strikingly beautiful warrior woman clad in revealing bikini-like, chain mail armor. The character was played by Brigitte Nielsen in the 1985 film Red Sonja, which also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Angelica Bridges portrayed the character in the “Red Sonja” episode of the 1997–1998 TV series Conan the Adventurer.
In every portrayal, the character is strong, menacing, beautiful, and possessing her trademark red locks and many fans were baffled when it was announced that Hannah-John Kamen had been cast in the role, despite being brunette, demure at 5′ 6″ tall, and a woman of color, looking nothing at all like the depictions seen in hundreds of comics and the previous films and animated series appearances.
A Red Sonja movie has been in the works at Millennium for close to a decade. First there was a reboot announced back in 2008, with Sin City helmer Robert Rodriguez set to direct his Planet Terror star Rose McGowan in the lead role. That was scrapped the following year, and the project went through several iterations with Simon West (Con Air) and Bryan Singer (X-Men) attached at various times prior to Soloway. When Joey Soloway took over in 2019, she proclaimed the film would be a “bold new take” on the character, providing “much better optics” after she brought on her partner Andrea Sperling as a producer. Deadline even called Soloway “a pioneer ushering in inclusion,” without explaining how that would be an asset to the project.
But there’s still hope once again for the film, as Illuminerdi reports that M.J. Bassett (Solomon Kane, Silent Hill: Revelation) has joined as director, though it’s unknown whether she’ll be continuing where Soloway left off or beginning from scratch with a totally new script.
Let’s hope they’re beginning from the ground up and will deliver what supporters want, namely a great story and for the She Devil with a Sword to be portrayed by a solid actress who at least resembles the sexy, strong red headed hero . If it is at least as well done as Solomon Kane, and is properly cast this time, then I expect most die-hard Red Sonja fans will be more than satisfied.