Is The Woman King a Marvel movie? The Woman King is a 2022 American historical action-adventure film about the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries. Set in the 1820s, the film stars Viola Davis as a general who trains the next generation of warriors to fight their enemies. It is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Dana Stevens, based on a story she wrote with Maria Bello. The film also stars Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and John Boyega.
Bello conceived the idea for The Woman King in 2015 after visiting Benin, where the kingdom used to be located, and learning the history of the Agojie. She recruited Cathy Schulman to develop it into a feature film, pitching it to several studios, who turned it down due to financial concerns. After they met with TriStar Pictures in 2017, the film was greenlit in 2020. Production began in South Africa in November 2021, shut down due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant a few weeks later, and resumed in early 2022. Polly Morgan was the cinematographer. During post-production, the musical score was composed by Terence Blanchard, and editing was completed by Terilyn A. Shropshire.
Is The Woman King a Marvel movie?
In The Woman King, Viola Davis’ Nanisca was the focal point as the general of the Agojie, a group of female warriors in the West African kingdom of Dahomey in 1823. Nanisca was tasked with keeping King Ghezo’s (John Boyega) realm safe, especially with the Oyo Empire encroaching on their territory.
And make no mistake, Davis was a tour de force, painting a scary picture of a ruthless warrior who’d do anything for her people. However, The Woman King had another badass soldier. It was none other than Lashana Lynch’s Izogie, and after putting on a clinic as a fearless killer, it became evident Lynch’s talents were wasted by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Now, Lynch was pretty fun as Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel, but fans didn’t really get to see her cut loose in her own way. She was helping Nick Fury and Carol Danvers, coming off as more of a sidekick. And sadly, when Carol left Earth, Maria founded S.W.O.R.D., only to die of cancer off-screen years later.
Lynch did get some time to shine in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness when Wanda Maximoff came over to Earth-838 to find America Chavez. There, Lynch played a Captain Marvel variant, but in the blink of an eye, the Scarlet Witch ended her and the Illuminati. It was such a shame seeing her get dispatched so easily, as there were hints she’d be a powerhouse.
Lynch’s potential as a leading lady is placed at the forefront in The Woman King, though, where she taught young Nawi combat while undergoing a learning curve of her own. Izogie eventually understood what it meant to go back for teammates due to Nawi’s heroics, which led to her death when she tried to rescue the teen. But before that, Izogie got to really cut loose, slaughtering numerous Oyo soldiers along the way.
She was a one-woman wrecking crew, using guns, spears, swords and whatever she came across to gore the opposition. Lynch came off intimidating and exuded strength and power on-screen like an unhinged Wonder Woman. And The Woman King also gave her a brilliant emotional arc, with Lynch’s commanding presence even outdoing the cold Nanisca at times.
In fact, she was so moving that her death really tore viewers up. That said, her sacrifice was worth it and illustrated how Lynch should have gotten more time as Captain Marvel to showcase her chops as a stunning action star who could tote a movie herself if need be. Hopefully, whether it be another variant or time-travel, the MCU brings her back because, as her Izogie showed, Lynch has heroic potential that needs to be maxed out.
How ‘The Woman King’ makes Hollywood history with an incredible true story
One of the most pronounced effects of Marvel’s “Black Panther” was that it allowed a race of people who’ve long been underserved by Hollywood to envision an alternative history not rooted in victimhood.
In Wakanda, Black audiences were able to imagine an African nation that had triumphed over colonialism. And through the Dora Milaje — the elite team of female warriors who defended the fictional kingdom — moviegoers met an army of powerful women holding their own against men.
In fact, the Dora Milaje were modeled after the Agojie warrior women (also known as the Dahomey Amazons), who defended the western African kingdom of Dahomey (modern-day Benin) in the 1800s and were the dominant military force in the society. Now, the Agojie are the subject of a new film, “The Woman King,” directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood from a story by actor Maria Bello and screenwriter Dana Stevens.
By 1823, the kingdom of Dahomey was under the thumb of the Western-influenced, richer Oyo empire. It was forced to pay tribute in the form of virgins, guns and captives to be sold into slavery to European colonizers.
Schulman pitched it to STX’s upper brass who agreed that it sounded like a good idea, but weren’t willing to offer more than $5 million to finance it, doubting it would have much reach at the box office.
Nevertheless, they worked out an initial concept and put a pitch together that “made it through many different rounds in many different places,” before they were finally able to sell it to Sony TriStar. “It was a constant push and fight to convince people that we deserve a big budget, that we deserved to tell a story like this,” said Prince-Bythewood.
In many ways, the film is only able to exist now because of the massive success of the Marvel film. “‘Black Panther’ absolutely was a game changer,” said Prince-Bythewood. “It shifted culture and proved something that I think we all knew but that the industry didn’t understand, which is the power of us as an audience.”
“For me, ‘Black Panther’ was this whole exploration of ‘Can you imagine an African nation with agency to become stupendous?’” said Schulman. “And I thought, ‘But wait, there is an African nation that had its own agency that became stupendous. We don’t have to make believe.’”
Prince-Bythewood was originally approached in 2016 to join the project as a writer but couldn’t commit due to a scheduling conflict. She told the team to circle back after they had a script, which came two years later. “As soon as I read the script, I knew immediately it was a project I had to do,” said Prince-Bythewood. “It was exciting to dive into the research to really understand who these women were and what this culture was.
“The biggest eye-opener was how much misinformation there is about these women and this culture given that so much of their history was written from the colonizer’s point of view. So it was really about separating the texts that were from that point of view, which were so disparaging and disrespectful, from the truth.”
“You’re looking at a European colonialist describing a place they’re going to versus getting the story from the voices of the people themselves,” said Schulman. “And so it was trying to read multiple sources and trying to find a like-minded perception of things. “
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