Starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, the first trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah has dropped, and it looks to be an intense, incendiary, and wholly vital watch telling a true story of revolution, spirit, betrayal, and reverberation. Warner Bros. says the film will be released “only in theaters” without giving a specific release date, but as soon as it is safe to, I will be seeing this gripping tale.
Kaluuya stars as Fred Hampton, the Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. Stanfield stars as William O’Neal, a felon facing prison time who’s given a deal: Cooperate with the FBI (represented in the trailer by the always up-to-no-good Jesse Plemons), go undercover in the Black Panther Party, infiltrate Hampton, and destroy him. O’Neal takes the deal, and Judas and the Black Messiah documents this decision to its frighteningly tragic end. The trailer showcases the impossible human dramas, the common sense “radicalism” at the core of Hampton’s philosophies, and an intense amount of action, too. It’s a barn-burner.
The film is directed by Shaka King, making his studio feature directing debut (and it looks like he has a confident, provocative, stylish hand). King also co-wrote the screenplay alongside Will Berson, Kenny Lucas, and Keith Lucas. Other cast members include Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Martin Sheen, Algee Smith, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Dominique Thorne, Amari Cheatom, Caleb Eberhardt, and Lil Rel Howery. Executive producers include Ryan Coogler, Charles D. King, Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Ravi Mehta, Jeff Skoll, Anikah McLaren, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Ted Gidlow, and Niija Kuykendall. If the film’s politics and filmmaking aren’t too radicalized and, well, “good” for the often-stodgy Academy — and if we’re ever allowed to step foot in a theater again — expect this sucker to get all kinds of Oscar buzz.
Judas and the Black Messiah will be coming to theaters soon. You can check out the first trailer and official synopsis of the upcoming Warner Bros. historical drama below. For more, check out our 2021 upcoming movies release date calendar.
Chairman Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was assassinated by the FBI, who coerced a petty criminal named William O’Neal to help them silence him and the Black Panther Party. But they could not kill Fred Hampton’s legacy and, 50 years later, his words still echo…louder than ever.