Oscar-winning Viola Davis leads a fearless all-female African fighting unit into battle in the first trailer for The Woman King, which dropped on Wednesday.
“We have a weapon they are not prepared for,” an ominous voiceover says at one point during the trailer, followed by General Nansica, played by Davis, rising from jungle underbrush and surrounded by Agojie, a group of African warrior women poised for battle against European invaders.
With echoes of Black Panther, the trailer shows the all-female military unit training and urged on by a fiercely determined Nansica. The Woman King is inspired by true events that took place in the Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The story follows Nanisca and Nawi, played by Thuso Mbedu as an ambitious recruit, who together fight enemies who violated their honor, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for. “I offer you a choice. Fight, or we die,” Nansica tells her fearless recruits.
John Boyega plays Dahomey’s ruler, King Ghezo, who is urged on by Nansica to oppose Europeans aiming to conquer their kingdom. “They will not stop until the whole of Africa is theirs. We must fight back, for our people,” she tells King Ghezo.
The Woman King is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, who co-wrote the screenplay with Dana Stevens. The producer credits are shared by Davis, Cathy Schulman, Julius Tennon and Maria Bello, with Peter McAleese executive producing.