Comic Books & Graphic NovelsTelevision & Film

Jill Soloway to Replace Bryan Singer on RED SONJA Reboot

[featured image: cover to Red Sonja #16 by Ed Benes]

Jill Soloway, creator of the Amazon series Transparent, is the latest to be offered a chance to bring Red Sonja back to the big screen.

Soloway comes on board to write and direct after Millennium Films dropped Bryan Singer, who faces new allegations of sexual misconduct. Millennium’s Avi Lerner confirmed a delay on the project back in February. Singer denies the charges, but the PR challenge would be a further setback for a project that’s been in development hell for years.

Soloway and Andrea Sperling will also co-produce under their Topple Productions banner.

“I can’t wait to bring Red Sonja’s epic world to life,” Soloway told Deadline. “Exploring this powerful mythology and evolving what it means to be a heroine is an artistic dream come true.”

The character first appeared in a very different form in Robert E. Howard’s short story “The Shadow of the Vulture”, where she’s introduced as Red Sonya of Rogatino. The story is a piece of historical fiction set in the 16th century, and Red Sonya is a gun-toting warrior with a grudge against the Ottoman Empire. While she has the expected red hair and fierce fighting skill, she bears little resemblance to the later incarnation in Marvel Comics.

In 1973, Red Sonya was used as inspiration for Red Sonja, created for Marvel by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith. The character was introduced in Marvel’s Conan The Barbarian series. She appeared in various titles until 1986. This version served as the inspiration for the 1985 film starring Bridgitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  There was also an animated feature, Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues, in 2016.

Dynamite Entertainment started publishing the series starting in 2005, with a new series written by Gail Simone in 2013 .

Millennium’s reboot was supposed to happen in 2010 with Rose McGowan in the title role under the direction of Robert Rodriguez, but according to IMDb, both Rodriguez and McGowan left the production after the poor box office performance of the Conan the Barbarian reboot. The Red Sonja project has moved along by fits and starts, at one point with Simon West set to direct Amber Heard, but the project has languished until recently.

This new Red Sonja is finding new support at Millennium after the success of Wonder Woman. The company has delivered such action flicks as the Expendables series, the Hellboy reboot, and will be releasing Rambo: Last Blood this year. Millennium has also set up the action thriller Jolt with Tanya Wexler directing Kate Beckinsale.

This is Soloway’s first project deal since completing production on The Transparent Movie Musicale Finale.

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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