In a new shot from the upcoming historical epic The Woman King, Viola Davis appears to be set for a ferocious battle. Nanisca, a commander of the Dahomey Amazons or Mino, an all-female regiment in the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa, is played by the venerable actor. The Woman King follows Nanisca and her young recruit Nawi, played by The Underground Railroad star Thuso Mbedu, as they guard their territory and fight those who threaten their way of life, based on a narrative by actor Maria Bello and written by Dana Stevens and Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film also stars Lashana Lynch, John Boyega, Sheila Atim, and Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and is directed by Prince-Bythewood.
Davis as Nanisca leads her men into battle in a new image released by Empire from The Woman King. Lynch and Atim, both equipped with melee weapons and ready to battle, flank her. “We were conscious about establishing an ensemble of the dopest actors of this moment from all over the diaspora,” Prince-Bythewood said of the cast. Check out the new still in the gallery below.
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Exclusive to Empire The Queen Mother Davis, Viola Lynch, Lashana Atim, Sheila
The Dahomey Amazon warriors are thought to have existed between the mid-1600s until the end of the 19th century, when they were defeated by the French. Their creation is supposed to have resulted from a scarcity of men in the tribe as a result of surrounding countries enslaving Dahomey men. The Amazons’ well-organized force totaled upwards of 6,000 people at their peak.
The all-female Dora Milaje royal guard in Black Panther is said to be based on their legend. They also made a cameo in a Lovecraft Country episode in which Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) was sent back in time to fight with the warriors. The story of The Woman King has not been revealed, but the film is set to hit theatres on September 16.