Comic book properties have been growing more and more popular on television over the past couple of years. DC has been telling stories, whether in the Arrowverse or not, across The CW, Fox and NBC, while Marvel has been laying claim to ABC and Netflix. However, it’s not just the Big Two that are getting attention. AMC has been tapping into Image Comics with The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, and now the warrior Red Sonja looks ready to lead her own small screen adventures.
X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer is reportedly developing a Red Sonja TV series, according to Bleeding Cool. No network has been chosen yet, though the report speculates that the project's "R-rated" tone would limit it to networks like HBO or Showtime, or even an online platform like Netflix or Amazon. If it moves forward, Singer would direct the pilot and produce, while property owner Luke Lieberman would executive produce alongside Jason Taylor through Singer’s production company, Bad Hat Harry.
Red Sonja was created in 1973 by Marvel as a player in the Conan the Barbarian universe. She was loosely based on Red Sonya of Rogatino, a character created directly by original Conan creator Robert E. Howard in the short story "The Shadow of the Vulture." In her original origin story, her family was killed by a gang of thieves, who also raped her afterwards. Seeking revenge, the goddess Scathach granted her amazing fighting skills, though it came with the condition that she would never "lie with a man" unless he defeated her in combat. Now battle-ready, she began her life of adventuring.
For the last decade, her adventures have been published by Dynamite Entertainment, though in one of the series, the original Red Sonja was killed off and replaced by a woman described as a "reincarnation." In the new rebooted series began in 2014, this version of Red Sonja was never raped by raiders, and was instead the only survivor from her village after it was attacked. She also doesn’t have mystically endowed abilities, instead relying on her natural talents to carry out her revenge.
Outside the comics, Red Sonja’s biggest appearance was in her own 1985 movie, which starred Brigitte Nielsen as the eponymous protagonist and Arnold Schwarzenegger as High Lord Kalidor. The movie earned mostly negative reviews, and while there have been numerous attempts to get a remake in production, it looks like this TV series could be beating them to the punch. She was also played by Angelica Bridges in the short-lived Conan TV series on the USA Network.
We’ll keep you apprised on any developments regarding this Red Sonja project, but one thing seems likely: that bikini armor will probably be traded in for something less revealing and less likely to get her slashed open. It may be fine in the comics, but for a TV show being made in the 21st century, she'll probably need something more practical.