The Shadow King movie coming about female Ethiopian WWII soldiers

The Shadow KingKasi Lemmons will be writing and adapting the historical novel The Shadow King, which tackles an important story heretofore unseen. The novel was written by Maaza Mengiste and describes Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia and the courageous female soldiers who fought back. Lemmons is the filmmaker behind the powerful film about Harriet Tubman (Harriet starring Cynthia Erivo) and Netflix miniseries about C.J. Walker (Self-Made starring Octavia Spencer)

The subject matter has never been treated on film or television though it is clearly very compelling material. Having a WWII featuring heroic WOC fighting against a dictator will be an important addition to the canon of historic war films, especially the countless movies about the Second World War which do not feature a lot of diversity and have mostly been male-centric.

The film will be made with Atlas Entertainment, the studio behind Wonder Woman 1984 and it will be produced by Charles Roven and Richard Suckle, and executively produced by Stephanie Haymes-Roven and Curt Kanemoto. The team behind this will surely give the source material justice.

In a report by Collider, Lemmons shared this message about the project:

“Maaza Mengiste’s mesmerizing novel takes my breath away. The imagery is so rich and powerful and the characters so vividly drawn, it naturally lends itself to adaptation. I’m very honored to be a part of bringing this brilliant book to the screen.”

Here is the official synopsis of the film:

The Shadow King is a story set in 1935 as Mussolini’s army invades Ethiopia and moves towards an easy victory. Aster, the wife of a commander in Haile Selassie’s overwhelmed army, and her household servant Hirut long to do more than only care for the wounded and bury the dead. Together they offer a plan to maintain morale among Ethiopians, eventually becoming warriors and inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians.”

Watch this space for more updates about the upcoming film adaptation of The Shadow King.