While audiences across the world have become obsessed with Wakanda’s Dora Milaje female warriors, actress Viola Davis (The Suicide Squad) will bring to the screen the story of real-life African warrior women. lady king, Today, first-look photos of The Woman King are out, and they show Davis and her supporting actresses like the Agoji army of the Dahomey state of West Africa, a dynasty that has been forgotten by history until now.
‘The Woman King’ tells the story of Agozi, a real-life army of female warriors who defended the mighty West African kingdom of Dahomey for centuries that history has largely forgotten.
— Vanity Fair (@VanityFair) 5 July 2022
Egozi defended Dahomey (now known as Benin) in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and were nicknamed “Dahomey Amazons” by Western explorers because of their resemblance to the Amazons of myth. Women’s military regiments were formed out of necessity after Dahomey’s male population declined due to continued wars with neighboring states and the slave trade, which demanded the annual sacrifice of able-bodied men to oppressive powers such as the Oyo Empire.
The kings of Dahomey compensated for the loss by enlisting women in military service. At first, women were positioned as elephant hunters; When King Haugbaza’s daughter assumed the throne as Queen Hongbe, she established a female line of bodyguards. Hangbe’s successors (the history becomes a bit unclear) transformed that bodyguard unit into a women’s army over the next century and a half.
Viola Davis will play the role of General Naniska, the leader of the Egozi; Jonab Boyega will star as King Ghejo, the ruler credited with turning Egoji into a full-fledged army, during a military era in Dahomey.
“I’ve never played a role like this before. It’s transformative,” Davis told Vanity Fair, “And to be a producer on this, and to know that I had a hand in implementing it… I knew what it would mean for us as black people. Something that has never been done before And what would it mean to the black women sitting in that movie theater. The responsibility is really great.”
“We didn’t want to show them as just one thing—the rogue women who killed,” says director Gina Prince-Bythewood. “They also laughed and loved and cried. We wanted to show their full humanity, not just the cool part that would look good in a trailer.”
To the “novelty” of audiences viewing African women as military action heroes, lady king Black Panther’s Dora Milaje: They may get a boost from inspired fictional heroes. But for Prince-Bythewood, recreating reality would be far better than fiction: “If you can digest Avatar, So you can digest it.”
The Woman King hits theaters on 16 September. It also stars Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Adrienne Warren, Sheila Atim, Jaime Lawson and Hero Fiennes Tiffin.
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Reference from comicbook.com