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Viola Davis Reigns Supreme in “The Woman King” Trailer

We’ve got our first look at the Viola Davis-led The Woman King, one of the most intriguing films coming out this fall. This trailer is a thrilling glimpse at director Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s epic, which is based on true events that took place in the Kingdom of Dahomey, a powerful state on the African continent in the 18th and 19th centuries. Prince-Bythewood wrote the script with Dana Stevens (based a story from Maria Bello), and she’s surrounded Davis with a stellar supporting cast that includes Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, and John Boyega. At Sony’s CinemaCon event, Davis joined Prince-Bythewood on stage and said that The Woman King was her “magnum opus.”

The Woman King is centered on the real-life female military group called the Mino (in the film, they’re called the Agojie) who protected the Kingdom of Dahomey (in West Africa) for 300 years, from around 1600 to 1904. Davis plays General Nanisca, the leader of the Agojie and the inspiration for the Dora Milaje in Black Panther. 

Here’s what Davis said about The Woman King to Vanity Fair:

“I’ve never had a role like this before. It’s transformative. And to be a producer on it, and to know that I had a hand in bringing it to fruition. […] There’s always a vision you have for your career, but there are very few roles as an actress of color. Dark skin with a wide nose and big lips. I’m just gonna continue to say it. Those stories are extraordinarily limited. […] I knew what it would mean to us as Black people. Something that has never been done before. And what it would mean for Black women sitting in that movie theater. The responsibility is really high.”

The trailer is riveting. Davis commands each and every film she’s in, so no surprise there, but what you’ll also see here is why Gina Prince-Bythewood is becoming such a sought-after director. After proving her action chops in her epic Netflix feature The Old Guard, Prince-Bythewood is working with her biggest canvass yet, and the trailer will excite fans of Davis, fans of historical epics, and fans of sweeping epics as well.

Check out the trailer below. The Woman King hits theaters on September 16.

Here’s the synopsis for The Woman King:

The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she inspires the King to take on the enemies determined to violate their honor and destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…

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Featured image: Viola Davis in “The Woman King.” Courtesy Sony Pictures.

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