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Red Sonja - What We Know So Far

After years of false starts and leadership changes, it looks like Red Sonja is finally coming together. The film has been in development in one form or another for over a decade — Robert Rodriguez was first reported to be adapting a version with Rose McGowen as Red Sonja in 2008, per Entertainment Weekly.

While that version fizzled, Millennium revived the project in 2017 after watching Wonder Woman achieve impressive results at the box office with a strong female lead (via The Hollywood Reporter). However, Millennium's choice of Bryan Singer to direct, who was at the time dealing with multiple misconduct allegations, proved too distracting to allow for any progress on the film. The studio fired Singer six months after he was attached to the project, leaving Red Sonja in limbo until Joel Soloway, creator of Transparent, was hired to direct in 2019. Right as things seemed to be coming together for Red Sonja, the entire industry ground to a halt due to coronavirus restrictions.

Despite those obstacles, Millennium seems committed to completing the film. Red Sonja has found a new screenwriter in Tomb Raider showrunner Tasha Huo, per The Hollywood Reporter, and with two talented women leading the project, the film seems to have better momentum than ever before. Here is everything we know about Red Sonja's release date, cast, and plot.

What is Red Sonja's release date?

Now that Red Sonja has locked down the experienced director Joel Soloway and up-and-coming screenwriter Tasha Huo, it seems more likely than ever that the movie will arrive in theaters ... someday. Unfortunately, considering the studio has announced few other details, it will probably be a while before Red Sonja makes it in front of an audience.

Considering that Red Sonja only finalized its screenwriter in early 2021, there are almost certainly some significant steps to complete before filming even gets underway. As such, a 2021 release is pretty unlikely. The film could see a release in 2022, perhaps around the holidays.

It's also worth considering what the best time to release the film might be for Millennium. Wonder Woman, whose success may have inspired the studio to develop Red Sonja, was the highest-grossing superhero origin story ever when it was released in the summer of 2017. If Red Sonja is looking to replicate that film's success, fans may have to wait until the summer of 2023 to see the She-Devil with a Sword take on her foes.

Who will star in Red Sonja?

With the film in the early stages of development, the studio has announced no casting decisions. However, now that Tasha Huo has joined the film as a writer, "casting on the film is set to begin immediately" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Although the film has been in an extended period of early development for almost five years, it has never progressed far enough for an actress to be attached to the lead role. As a result, the doors are wide open for director Joel Soloway to find the perfect person to play Red Sonja. In the comics, Red Sonja's most well-known visual cues are her red hair, minimalistic armor, and Amazonian features. However, even these defining traits do little to narrow down who viewers can expect to see playing the part.

It is also worth remembering that Red Sonja has been portrayed on the big screen before. Brigitte Nielsen played the heroine opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1985's Red Sonja. Unfortunately, Red Sonja's most lasting legacy is being one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's worst movies, so it's unlikely that the new version plans to take many cues from that film.

What will the plot of Red Sonja be?

Since Red Sonja has only recently locked down its screenwriter, there aren't many details about the story available. Thankfully, director Joel Soloway gave fans a couple of hints about how the film will incorporate elements of the comic book series that spans decades.

Soloway said that Red Sonja "is an ancient heroine with an epic calling, and translating that to the screen is a dream come true for me as a filmmaker." 

Millennium co-president Jonathan Younger added, "Having Joey Soloway at the helm of this feminist icon franchise is the perfect recipe for a magical adventure, which is exactly what the world needs today." Soloway's reference to Red Sonja's status as an ancient heroine could refer to the film's setting, the fictional antiquity of the Hyborian Age. The Hyborian Age was first established by Robert E. Howard, creator of the character Conan the Barbarian, and is loosely defined as a period sometime after the sinking of Atlantis and before recorded history — which is a pretty broad timeframe, but definitely ancient. 

Magic is present in the Hyborian Age but rare, although Red Sonja does receive a blessing from the gods giving her unparalleled skills with her weapons. If Younger's comments about a "magical journey" are to be taken at face value, then Red Sonja might also explore that origin story.