In West Africa, armies of women fought outside powers to defend their kingdom, and no, this isn’t a synopsis of Black Panther: The Agoji were an army of women up to 4,000 strong that fought African and European powers from the 17th to the 19th centuries in the African Kingdom of Dahomey. The journey to unearth the story of these warrior women includes one of Wakanda’s fiercest female defenders, Lupita Nyong’o.
Ever the genre-leaping actress, Nyong’o (Us, 12 Years a Slave) is now shifting through fields of film. Nyong’o will search for this forgotten female army in a documentary for British broadcaster Channel 4 (per Deadline). Europeans called the women “Amazons,” a term that links to Greek myths and the modern-day superhero story, Wonder Woman.
The project’s working title is Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong’o. The documentary is produced by SandStone Global Productions, and was ordered by Channel 4’s Head of Specialist Factual Fatima Salaria and Commissioning Editor and Specialist Factual Shaminder Nahal. Bettany Hughes, Creative Director of SandStone Global told Deadline that the project is “a unique opportunity to combine Lupita Nyong’o s passion and forensic interest in the power and origin of stories with grassroots research in Benin … [She] asks searing questions about power play in history and who tells whose story.”
No word on a director yet. Nyong’o’s pursuit of the Agoji’s truth will take her across Benin, West Africa, in what is set to be an engaging story illuminating women who have been cast to the sidelines of history.
Nyong’o has been busy pursuing an array of roles in her projects that are equally rich in intrigue. She’s starring in the zombie comedy Little Monsters, out Oct. 8, and producing and starring in the limited series adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah, which will be written by her Black Panther co-star Danai Guirira and available on HBO Max. Further in the future will be the Jessica Chastain-produced spy drama 355, due in 2021. Nyong’o clearly has some fighting of her own to do in her future.