Red Sonja has a new director.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Transparent creator Jill Soloway will helm the troubled feature. Loosely based on Conan the Cimmerian creator Robert E. Howard’s Red Sonya of Rogatino — a 17th Century swashbuckler in one of Howard’s stories — the character as she is popularly known was created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith in the pages of Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian comic book. Giving the character a new Hyborian Age backstory, Thomas also gave Conan a great foil who would later get a chance to shine in the pages of Marvel Feature and her own self-titled comic book series. She also headlined her own feature film in 1985.
Since then, various directors including Robert Rodriguez and Bryan Singer have tried to bring her back to the screen. Each effort ultimately failed.
The most recent attempt was announced in April of 2018 with screenwriter Ashley Edward Miller set to deliver a new take on the adventurer for Millennium and producers Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon, Christa Campbell, and Lati Grobman. Last September, Singer emerged as the film’s director despite being mired in accusations of inappropriate conduct across his career. An Atlantic article released around the same time eventually saw him removed from the project.
Soloway also found herself in a controversy when Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor was accused of accosting trans actors on the set of the series. Soloway’s initial response mirrored Millennium’s defense of Singer. Tambor was eventually fired from the series, but some have noted Soloway fits Millennium’s tendency toward apologist stances. At the same time, Soloway is a better fit for the material than just about anyone else attached to it. Time will tell if the film will ultimately benefit from her efforts or, indeed, if it will get made at all. Red Sonja has been in development for over ten years. It is entirely possible the film doesn’t want to be made.
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