‘Red Sonja’ Reboot Star Reveals the Big Differences From the Original

Estimated read time 5 min read

The Big Picture

  • Matilda Lutz is excited for an empowering take on
    Red Sonja
    , stepping away from its male-gaze origins.
  • Lutz embraced the iconic metal bikini, used differently for empowering purposes in the film.
  • The
    Red Sonja
    film has no release date yet.

Red Sonja star Matilda Lutz talked female empowerment and chainmail bikinis with Collider’s Steven Weintraub at SXSW this weekend for her upcoming film Magpie. Lutz was effusive about her experience making the long-awaited film with director M.J. Bassett (Rogue), and discussed the character’s comic book origins, which frequently delved into the realm of cheesecake, and how the film takes the character in a different direction:

It was a great experience. The prep and stunt rehearsals and horseback riding, [were all] things that I hadn’t done before, so the whole process of prepping was amazing. Working with MJ as a director was incredible. And what I think is different from what we know of
Red Sonja
is that it was very, and the comics as well, was very male gaze-oriented and
this is a completely different story
. It’s a very empowered woman, and that’s what I loved about the story. I don’t know yet when it’s coming out, but I’m very excited to see it. I haven’t seen anything yet.

She also discussed Sonja’s iconic yet impractical costume from the comics, which typically consisted of nothing more than a metal bikini. When asked what it was like to don the iconic look, Lutz said:

I mean, it was the thing, you know, like even in costume rehearsals and building the whole costume was like, I felt very exposed. But what I love about it is that the bikini is used in a completely different way from the comics. So I’m excited to see what the audience is gonna think.

Lutz noted that she was kept in the loop throughout the costume’s conception and design, and quickly adjusted to it once she was wearing it:

It was already in the script that the costume was gonna [be] used not as an exposure kind of like element but in a different way, I don’t want to spoil it but in a different way. So, I felt good enough to wear something that was used for a purpose and also, I just really connected with MJ, the director. So we always talked about how I was feeling and, you know, when we built the costume in the costume prep process, it was always like, ‘How do you feel about this? How do you feel about that?’ So we built it together. I always felt like I was part of the process and not like just, ‘Oh you gotta wear this’ and you know, ‘Bye.’

It was hard to do because one of the major scenes is in an arena with lots of extras, and I’m fighting monsters in a bikini. So that was hard to do. But I feel like after the first hour I was wearing it, I was just so comfortable in being around people and seeing me fight in a bikini. That [it] was fine.

Who Is Red Sonja?

red-sonja-comics-cover-art-2 Image via Dynamite Entertainment

Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith for Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian comics in 1973, Red Sonja was loosely inspired by another Robert E. Howard character, Red Sonya of Rogatino. Dubbed “The She-Devil With a Sword”, Red Sonja was a flame-haired warrior woman from the ancient Hyborian Age; introduced as a foil and romantic interest for Conan, the character became popular in her own right, and was spun off into her own ongoing series. She even hit the big screen in 1985’s Red Sonja, starring Brigitte Nielsen as Sonja and Arnold Schwarzenegger as her Conan-like love interest, Kalidor. Sonja’s publishing rights eventually lapsed from Marvel and were acquired by Dynamite Comics, who continue to publish Red Sonja comics to this day.

In addition to Lutz in the title role, Red Sonja will also star Robert Sheehan (The Umbrella Academy) as Dragan the Magnificent, Wallis Day (Batwoman) as Dark Anissia, and Michael Bisping (Den of Thieves) as Hawk. The film has been in development hell for decades – at various points, Robert Rodriguez, Bryan Singer, and Joey Soloway were attached to direct the film, with Rose McGowan, Amber Heard, and Hannah John-Kamen set to star as the title heroine.

Red Sonja has not yet set a release date. Stay tuned to Collider for future updates. In the meantime, Lutz’s new film Magpie is screening now at SXSW. Look for the full video interview soon.

Magpie 2024 Film Promo Image

Magpie (2024)

A couple find their lives turned upside down when their daughter is cast alongside a controversial major star.

Release Date March 9, 2024

Director Sam Yates

Cast Daisy Ridley , Shazad Latif , Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz , Alistair Petrie , Pippa Bennett-Warner , Niall Wright , Cherrelle Skeete , Andy M Milligan , Jenny Galloway , Emmet Kirwan

Runtime 90 Minutes

Find Tickets Now