In 1985, when sword and sorcery Arnold Schwarzenegger movies like Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer were all the rage thanks to epic stories, intense action, and a chiseled Arnold Schwarzenegger, director Richard Fleischer attempted to cash in on the success with Red Sonja. The movie, which was also based on the work of fantasy novelist Robert E. Howard, wasn’t nearly as beloved critically and was a major box office bomb, ending all hopes of another movie centered on Brigitte Nielsen’s muscular, red-headed warrior.
Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to bring back the long-dormant franchise, and produce a big-screen feature film based on the iconic literary and comic book heroine. Although many of those attempts have failed to materialize, a Red Sonja reboot is not only being planned, it’s already in the works. Here’s what we know about the project so far…
The Red Sonja Cast Is Lead By Matilda Lutz
When the Red Sonja reboot takes to the big screen at some point in the near future (no release date has been announced at this time), it will see Matilda Lutz take on the titular role as the fearsome warrior. The casting announcement was made in August 2022, when Deadline reported that the Revenge star was taking over the role from Hannah John Kamen after the Ant-Man and the Wasp actress, who is the MCU’s Thunderbolts lineup, was forced to drop out of the project due to scheduling conflicts.
Other members of the Red Sonja cast include Wallis Day , Robert Sheehan, Rhona Mitra, Michael Bisping, Martyn Ford, Eliza Matengu, Manal El-Feitury and Katrina Durden. Oliver Trevena (Wire Room) was also slated to appear in the upcoming sword and sorcery movie, but the actor dropped out due to scheduling conflicts in October 2022, as reported later by Deadline. Expect to hear more about the cast as the weeks and months go by.
Red Sonja Will Center On The Fearsome Warrior From The Original Short Story And Comic Books
The specifics of Red Sonja’s plot have yet to be announced at this time, but according to Deadline, the movie will follow the fearsome warrior boasting a “high degree of skill with a sword” derived from the work of Robert E. Howard and later the comic book character of the same name first seen in Marvel Comics before moving over to Dynamite Entertainment.
Silent Hill: Revelation Director M.J. Bassett Is Helming Red Sonja
While Matilda Lutz will be leading things in front of the camera in Red Sonja, M.J. Bassett, the filmmaker who wrote and directed the survival horror video game adaptation Silent Hill: Revelation will be running the show behind the camera. In August 2022, Bassett, whose other feature films include Deathwatch, Solomon Kane, and Rogue, released a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter) voicing her enthusiasm for the project and casting of Matilda Lutz in the lead role:
Bassett has a great deal of experience with action, as she has directed episodes of Reacher, The Terminal List, Altered Carbon, and Iron Fist in recent years.
The Red Sonja Script Was Co-Written By Transparent Creator Joey Soloway
There was a point in Red Sonja’s extensive pre-production process where Joey Soloway, the creator behind the popular Amazon original series Transparent was attached to direct the comic book adaptation following the departure of former director Bryan Singer. Although Soloway is no longer going to be sitting in the director’s chair (remember, M.J. Bassett has taken over directing duties), they still penned the film’s script. According to Deadline, the two-time Emmy winner co-wrote the script alongside Tasha Huo, who is also writing and producing Netflix’s upcoming Tomb Raider anime series.
Soloway is no stranger when it comes to writing and working with complex characters considering their work on Transparent, HBO drama series Six Feet Under, and numerous other drama series like Grey’s Anatomy, How to Make It in America, and Dirty Sexy Money, to name a few.
Production On Red Sonja Kicked Off In Bulgaria In August 2022
There is no release date for Red Sonja but the upcoming sword and sorcery fantasy adventure film is already well into production. According to Deadline, everything kicked off with a shoot in Bulgaria in August 2022, though the duration of the shoot has not yet been revealed. The outlet also reported that filming would take place at the Bulgarian Nu Boyana Studio before the production shifted over to Nu Boyana Studio in Greece.
Millennium Media Has Released A First Look Image Of Matilda Lutz’s Red Sonja
In October 2022, the world finally got to see Matilda Lutz as Red Sonja when Millennium Media, which is producing the feature film, shared a first look image of the actress in her costume. The Instagram post didn’t provide a whole lot in terms of details, but did show the actress looking all kinds of badass with a sword resting on her armor-clad shoulder:
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There is no telling as to when Millennium Media releases another image of Lutz as Red Sonja or any of the other characters to be featured in the upcoming fantasy movie, but with the movie now in production, we should see something sooner rather than later.
A Red Sonja Reboot Has Been In The Works For Years
There have been plans to reboot Red Sonja for years now, with filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez and Bryan Singer leading the charge at various points over the course of the past two decades. Serious plans began in earnest in February 2015 when it was revealed that Millennium Media was pushing the charge behind the reboot of the 1985 cult classic, but there were no details about the plot or who would be involved on both sides of the camera at the time.
Following the success of Wonder Woman in late 2017, Millennium began to put more effort into the process, which would eventually lead to Bryan Singer coming on as director. However, the forward progress would only last a little more than a year, as the Singer-led project was put on hold in February 2019. That June, Deadline reported that Singer was out with Joey Soloway (then Jill Soloway) slated to take over for the embattled director who was accused of sexual assault in December 2017.
With Red Sonja just having entered production in August, it’s certain we won’t see the movie on the 2022 movie schedule. However, if things move along smoothly, there’s a good chance we could see the sword and sorcery film get a 2023 release date.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.