We all know the legend. King Arthur retrieves the sword of Excalibur from the Lady in the Lake to become medieval England’s greatest ruler. But what about that Lady in the Lake’s point of view? What’s her story? Cursed, a forthcoming Netflix fantasy series based on an illustrated YA book by Tom Wheeler and Frank Miller, aims to answer that question with the help of Netflix alum Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) as that very Lady. And we’ve got the first images of the handsome-looking series below.
Langford stars as Nimue, a gifted and powerful young woman whose tragic destiny is to become the Lady in the Lake. After the death of her mother and the impending threat of the evil King Uther (Sebastian Armesto) and his Red Paladins, she teams up with a young Arthur (Devon Terrell) to find the wizard Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård) and deliver a fateful sword. The series promises to blend high-fantasy action with a coming-of-age narrative.
All of this sounds lovely and inspiring, and the images look incredible, no doubt. But I have one big concern about the show, and his name is Frank Miller. The man has given us undoubtedly singular, influential works of comic art, including The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City. But he’s also shown his ass lately as a problematically right wing figure who advances jingoistic and even fascist narratives in his work (i.e. the miserable Holy Terror in which a hero singles out and destroys Islamic terrorists). Is he the type of guy I want crafting an empowering, progressive tale starring a young woman? He definitely is not. But perhaps the hand of showrunner Wheeler and other producers Leila Gerstein (The Handmaid’s Tale), Silenn Thomas (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), and Alex Boden (Sense8) will even things out to a watchable, enjoyable speed.
Based on the New York Times bestselling book, Cursed is a re-imagination of the Arthurian legend, told through the eyes of Nimue, a young woman with a mysterious gift who is destined to become the powerful (and tragic) Lady of the Lake. After her mother’s death, she finds an unexpected partner in Arthur, a humble mercenary, in a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Over the course of her journey, Nimue will become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins, and their complicit King Uther. Cursed is a coming-of-age story whose themes are familiar to our own time: the obliteration of the natural world, religious terror, senseless war, and finding the courage to lead in the face of the impossible.