Created by Ben Dunn and published by Antarctic Press, Warrior Nun Areala debuted in 1994. The narrative focuses on Sister Shannon Masters, a character who chooses avatars to execute her missions over time. In the past, the comic has been criticized for its use of religious imagery, while the title character has been correlated with “nunsploitation.” Most recently, films like Robert Rodriguez’s Machete and Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours have been associated with the nun-themed subgenre. To date, Warrior Nun Areala has produced 15 installments since the original Series 1, with the last being Warrior Nun Areala: Series 4, written by Anthony Zicari, and released from October 2001 to July 2003.
Per Deadline, Portuguese-Brazilian actress Alba Baptista will star as the 19-year-old title character, Ava, the series lead in Netflix’s Warrior Nun. In 2019, she’ll appear in the upcoming Portuguese film Patrick and the Italian feature Fatima, though she’s perhaps best known in her native country for portraying Leonor Neves in Jogo Duplo, appearing in 268 episodes of the telenovela. In Netflix’s Warrior Nun, Baptista’s character overcomes an abusive childhood and becomes part of an ancient order that fights demons on earth. The character reportedly wakes up in a morgue and discovers a divine artifact lodged in her back.
Alongside Baptista, the following performers have been cast as series regulars in Warrior Nun: Toya Turner (Incredibles 2), Tristan Ulloa (Crash Test Aglaé), Thekla Reuten (Red Sparrow), Kristina Tonteri-Young (The Crocodile’s Gift), Lorena Andrea (Papillon), and Emilio Sakraya (Cold Feet). Turner will reportedly play Shotgun Mary, while Ulloa will star as Father Vincent, a spiritual and strategic leader. Netflix’s Warrior Nun was created by Simon Barry, who will also serve as the executive producer and writer. In the past decade, Barry has produced the series Continuum, Van Helsing, Ghost Wars, Creeped Out, and Bad Blood. Last October, Netflix cast J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel, Vinyl) and Tamara Taylor (Bones, Altered Carbon) as series leads for the comic adaptation October Faction. For the aforementioned I-Land, Netflix cast Kate Bosworth, Natalie Martinez, Alex Pettyfer, and Kyle Schmid.
While Baptista may not be a star in North America, Netflix may change that in the near future if Warrior Nun is a success. Considering Netflix recently took little known comic property The Umbrella Academy and turned it into a massive hit for the streaming service, it's entirely possible the same can be done with Warrior Nun. However, we’ll have to wait and see if Warrior Nun leans more towards traditional family fun rather than “nunsploitation” - and what that means for the TV show's success.