After plenty of false starts and abandoned projects, it looks like plans for a new movie version of Red Sonja are finally underway with a screenwriter being tapped for the script. Everybody's favorite flame-haired female warrior has been a popular comic book character for many years, but despite plenty of attempts to bring her to screens, there's only ever been one film. That could be about to change as a seasoned writer has been tapped to reboot the heroine, after achieving the same objective with the X-Men movies.
Although Red Sonja is forever linked with author Robert E. Howard's sword-and-sorcery epics and the world of Conan the Barbarian, she was actually created in her most recognisable form by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor Smith for Marvel Comics in 1973. She was partially based on Howard's character Red Sonya of Rogatino from his 1934 short story The Shadow of the Vulture. The Marvel duo retro-fitted her into a suitably dynamic companion character for their Conan adaptations. Since then, the many adventures of the sword-wielding Sonja were told across Marvel and Dynamite comics. Encouraged by the success of the Schwarzenegger Conan films, a Dutch-American movie was released in 1985 and featured Brigitte Nielsen (Rocky 4) as the titular Sonja. It was critically panned, although it has since became something of a cult film.
Now Deadline reports that Millennium Films have appointed a writer to bring a new version of Red Sonja to the big screen. Ashley Edward Miller has been tapped to pen the screenplay for the movie, in a new production that has been inspired by the overwhelming success of Wonder Woman. Miller previously wrote the script for X-Men: First Class, as well as MCU's Thor. He's also currently working on a reboot of John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China. Speaking about the opportunity to bring this character to life, he said:
“It’s an exciting opportunity to faithfully adapt the amazing Hyborian world Robert E. Howard created, and inject it with Sonja’s intelligence, ferocity, and fearless humanity. I want people to love Sonja the way I love her, and walk out of the theater understanding why she’s so popular and enduring. Sonja is an icon.”
Previous film and TV projects for Red Sonja have become notorious for never leaving the development stage. From 2008 onwards, director Robert Rodriguez spent several years trying to make a movie with Rose McGowan in the lead role. When that fell through, Simon West was tapped to helm another production in 2011 with Amber Heard playing Sonja. That also failed to reach the cameras, and in 2016 there were rumors that a TV series was on the cards, which inevitably faded away as well. Hopefully with Miller now assigned writing duties, we can expect this particular project to surpass all previous attempts and actually be filmed.
Given Miller's obvious enthusiasm and love for the character, and the current demand for strong female leads, this could lead to a potential franchise. It seems quite likely that the plot will be based on her origins, and the varying stories of Sonja have plenty of potential for drama and blood-drenched action (depending on what rating Millennium are aiming for). At any rate, we hope to see this film start production soon and the guessing game on who will actually play the lead starts now. More news on Red Sonja as we get it.