Can you guess which Hollywood actress is playing Empress?!

When it comes to Mark Millar’s upcoming project, Empress, we could be seeing the next phase of the comic book movie renaissance. In what seems to be an unprecedented move, the comic movie adaptation begins development before the release of the comic title it adapts. Now, it seems that the film project’s already-cast lead actress will be announced around the time the comic debuts!

Millar’s Empress project has been a heralded topic in the comic book world for the last few months, showcasing an embattled female lead amidst a Jack-Kirby, New Gods-esque dynamic of the political power struggles of intergalactic titans. Since the lead actress for the movie has already been cast, Millar is taking a rather unconventional promotional strategy with this bit of intel. Millar's comic title illustrated by Stuart Immonen is set to launch in April with the first of a six-issue miniseries trilogy. Thus, the plan is to reveal the identity of the movie's lead actress on Apr. 6, which will be generally in concert with the debut of the comic book series.

Not one to shy away from pushing the buttons of the fans, Millar has actually tweeted a photo of the actress cast as Empress… heavily disguised under a headscarf and shades, in a proof-of-life type tease.

Of course, with that, the floodgates of guesses have already broken loose. While Anne Hathaway seems to be the dominant guess, other names like Krysten Ritter, Charlize Theron, Alicia Vikander (and, jokingly, Eddie Redmayne) are also in the pool. However, one aspect that needs to be considered is that Millar has previously gone on record, touting how the role of Empress will distinguish itself, addressing a highly-charged controversy in Hollywood when it comes to an unrepresented demographic. As Millartells, “There aren't really that many action roles for 40-year-old actresses when you think about it so I think that’s what’s caused a lot of the excitement among the various actresses hearing about this. It’s going to be a really fun part for a movie-star.”

With that idea in place, another sphere of speculation is starting to believe that the actress is none other than Angelina Jolie. Such an idea would be supplemented by the poeticism behind Jolie (no stranger to action movies,) reuniting with Millar after their successful collaboration in 2008’s Wanted. Of course, opinions still vary on the identity of the woman in the photo.

Empress will be an amalgamation of several dramatic tropes, evoking an aura of the court of Flash Gordon evil overlord, Ming the Merciless while grounding itself in the relatable drama in the struggle of its embattled title character. While on the surface, Empress is the wife and mother of three children to a powerful and cruel interplanetary tyrant named King Morax who appears complicit in his sadistic stewardship, she secretly plots an escape with her children.

With the help of a brave bodyguard, they risk everything in this elaborate estrangement plot. Of course, the mythology comes with an obligatory twist: The planet in question, is Earth… 65 million years ago! Of course, Empress is, by no means a dainty damsel in distress on an ancient Earth and will be showcasing some impressive powers and fighting skills of her own. In fact, she seems akin the archetype of Kirby’s Big Barda as a super-powered former intergalactic agent of tyranny to Darkseid who grows a conscience and breaks free.

Whichever high-profile actress (in or nearing her 40’s) has actually nabbed the role forEmpress, it certainly sounds like a fascinating project. If anything, its shocking, cart-before-the-horse, preemptive movie rollout strategy highlights how far the comic book film genre has come. We shall see what develops on Apr. 6 with the big reveal!

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Published at March 09, 2016

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