Hollywood’s recently-piqued interest in diasporic stories from Black creators is granting us with even more major-release film gems. 


TriStar Pictures has announced production on The Woman King, a dramatic epic inspired by factual historical events that occurred in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey (now modern-day Benin). For the unfamiliar, the Dahomey Empire existed between 1600 and 1904, when they were overthrown by French colonialists.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 03: Viola Davis joins L’Oréal Paris to celebrate the launch of Age Perfect Cosmetics on March 03, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for L’Oréal Paris )

The film stars John Boyega, Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, and Lashana Lynch in leading roles. Gina Prince-Bythewood, most known for her writing and direction on films such as Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights, and most recently, The Old Guard, will take the reins behind the lens. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is described as “The story of Nanisca (Davis), general of the all-female military unit, and Nawi (Mbedu), an ambitious recruit, who together fought enemies who violated their honor, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for.” Boyega will play the role of Dahomey ruler, King Ghezo. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 19: Director Gina Prince-Bythewood attends the Tribeca Talks: Gina Prince-Bythewood with Sanaa Lathan during the 2021 Tribeca Festival at Spring Studios on June 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)


The Kingdom’s spot in history has gained increased consciousness in pop culture in recent years, with its famed warrior women serving as inspiration for the Dora Milaje of Marvel’s Black Panther, and more recently being fictionalized on Lovecraft Country.