Hot off the heels of first promo image from the return of popular Cartoon Network original Samurai Jack, we might also be getting a live action version of Black Samurai. From executive producers Andre Gaines and his company, Cinemation, along with Wu Tang Clan's RZA and Wu Films' Mitchell Diggs, and Diane Crafford, the book series turned film is being shopped around to networks.
The novel series from Marc Olden began in 1974 and spanned eight books. In 1977, directed by Al Adamson at the height of Blaxploitation films, legendary martial artist Jim Kelly (Enter The Dragon) starred as Robert Sand, the lead character in Black Samurai. He fought against evils of the world as a D.R.A.G.O.N. (Defense Reserve Agency Guardian Of Nations) agent. Should this series be picked up by a network, it will already have its leading man.
Variety reports that Common (John Wick 2, Hell on Wheels, Smokin' Aces) will be putting a new spin on the role made famous by Kelly. Gaines is excited to have Common on board, and described the lead as follows:
“Robert Sand is like black Jason Bourne. Black Samurai is one of the most unique, timely and fun experiences I’ve ever read, while at the same time tackling some serious subjects around race and diversity. With ‘John Wick 2’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ coming up, Common was an obvious choice for the role, and I’m thrilled to have him on board. I believe he’s the next great American actor.”
The film had a sense of humor, while the book series is a bit darker and more gritty. The in-development TV series looks to be more in line with the original source material and follows Sands, who is rescued by Japanese forces after he's suffered at the hands of the military. After being nursed back to health, Sands trains for seven years under an esteemed Japanese Samurai Master. (A story that likely pulls inspiration from real life black Samurai, Yasuke, during the 1500s in feudal Japan.) But after witnessing his teacher and fellow students killed, Sands becomes a force to be reckoned with as he sets out to avenge those he's lost.
Crafford is also excited about bring this character to the small screen, noting that “this series has always been one of [her] favorites and Robert Sand, the Black Samurai, is a fascinating character who [she] can’t wait to see brought to life on the screen.”
Of course, though the addition of Common in the lead role may indicate forward movement in the Black Samurai series, no networks are attached at this time, nor are there writers on board or filming dates planned. So, it remains to be seen when the series will be available.
Stick with Screen Rant for updates on the development of Black Samurai.