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Viola Davis Takes On European Empires in ‘The Woman King’

Viola Davis Takes On European Empires in ‘The Woman King’

Viola Davis has played powerful woman before, from former First Lady Michelle Obama to DC Comic’s Amanda Waller. But in The Woman King, Davis becomes a character unlike any she’s ever portrayed. 

The Woman King is inspired by the true events that happened in the Kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin), one of the most powerful African states of the 18th and 19th centuries. Davis will star as Nanisca, the general of the real all-woman Dahomey military unit known as the Agojie — who were the inspiration behind the Dora Milaje in Marvel Comics’ Black Panther stories. The film will follow Nanisca and newly recruited Nawi (Thuso Mbedu) as they fight enemies who have enslaved their people and violated their honor. 

The Kingdom of Dahomey’s strong military and secrecy made it one of the most powerful African states in a time when colonization was spreading rapidly throughout the continent. Christianity has a long, complicated and frequently ugly relationship with European colonization, as many nations claimed they were spreading their empires in the name of God, even if that meant destroying cultures and civilizations for political and economic gain. The Woman King will focus on the one nation who fought back against these nations.

The film also stars Lashana Lynch (No Time to Die), John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Adrienne Warren (ABC’s Women of the Movement) and more. The Woman King will be released in theaters on Sept. 16.

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