In a particularly surprising move given the current direction of Hollywood and comic book adaptations in particular, Millennium Media have backtracked on their plans to race-swap Red Sonja for her upcoming solo film.
As announced by the production company on August 23rd, following the exit of Ant-Man and the Wasp star Hannah John-Kamen from the role earlier this year due to scheduling conflicts, the iconic red-headed warrior is now set to be portrayed by Revenge and A Classic Horror Story star Matilda Lutz.
Lutz will be joined onscreen by actress Wallis Day (Kate Kane, Batwoman Season 2-3) and actor Robert Sheehan (Klaus Hargreeves, The Umbrella Academy), who have been cast to star in the film as Red Sonja’s villainous sister, Annisia, and Draygan – presumably a misspelling of the character of Zamoran Emperor Dragan the Magnificent – respectively.
Millennium Media also confirmed a previous report that the film has found a new director, officially revealing that Solomon Kane (2009)’s M.J. Bassett would be taking the reins from previous helmer, the non-binary-identifying and self-declared feminist Joey Soloway, who notably replaced Bryan Singer in the role after he was hit in 2019 with the latest lawsuit to accuse him of having sexually assaulted a number of underage boys.
However, despite Soloway’s exit, the former director is still credited as one of the film’s two screenwriters, the other being the showrunner for Netflix’s upcoming Tomb Raider animated series, Tasha Huo.
In a statement released alongside the news, Bassett excitedly recalled, “I’ve wanted to make a Red Sonja movie since I was a teenager – she has been a powerful presence for me and a character that I have always wanted to bring to the screen with my own voice and vision.”
“When I met Matilda Lutz, I knew she had all the magic I was looking for and could see the complexity and depth she would bring to Sonja,” the director added.
Speaking directly to Basset’s talents, 300 producer Mark Canton, who will also be serving in the same capacity for Red Sonja, asserted, “I’ve been working with the Millennium production team on adapting this extraordinary graphic novel since Luke Lieberman brought it to us seven years ago. M.J. is a fantastic filmmaker who truly understands the power of this story that will ignite audiences everywhere.”
“In the realm of fantasy and graphic novels, there is no greater, more empowered female character who has stood the test of time,” said Canton of Red Sonja herself. “Courtney Solomon [another producer on the film] and I are privileged to be a part of this fabulous producing team.”
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Likewise, Millennium Media president Jeffrey Greenstein exclaimed, “This has been a long journey from script to screen and we are excited to go into production after assembling the best creative team, an amazing band of up and coming talent and a fun and fantastical world fueled by the Red Sonja IP.”
Further, Greenstein noted that “M.J. is an amazing filmmaker with fantastic vision and Matilda was absolutely brilliant in Revenge that we knew she was right for this role the moment we saw her – making them the perfect duo for Red Sonja.”
Production on Red Sonja is currently underway at Bulgaria’s Nu Boyana Studio with filming in Greece set to follow.