It’s an unfortunate fact that male narratives dominate the superhero space and its subsequent film adaptations. Happily, the past few years have seen an uptick of action-packed movies that take the stories of women superheroes, including Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and Black Widow, from the pages of the comic book to the silver screen. The exciting tale of 6,000-year-old Andromache and her immortal squad of warriors is up next, and it promises to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
The movie, titled The Old Guard, explores the journey of centuries-old immortal fighters that make up the eponymous team. Charlize Theron plays its leader, Andromache, or “Andy,” a legendary warrior from the ancient city of Scythia who cannot die. She has been resurrected thousands of times, each rebirth leading her to the frontlines of some of the world’s greatest battlefields. Along the way, Andy meets other immortals (Matthias Schoenaerts, Luca Marinelli, and Marwan Kenzari), and they team up to fight for justice.
Just as Andy finds herself losing steam — fighting the good fight day after day gets tiring — she encounters a new immortal named Niles (Kiki Layne). As they try to help the young Marine adjust to her new normal, Andy and the Old Guard must also fight back against a surprising pair of nemeses: a brilliant CIA operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a pharmaceutical big-wig (Harry Potter’s Harry Melling) who are determined to discover the secret of the group’s immortality to harvest for their own purposes.
“From the first moment I read Rucka’s graphic novel, I felt like there was great potential to make this thing feel really very relevant and have it ask some real questions about humanity,” Theron shared with Vanity Fair. “Is what we’re doing enough? Is what we’re doing actually changing anything? Are we making [things] better, or are we making the world worse?”
Self-professed comic book nerd Gina Prince-Bythewood directed the Netflix film, and injecting the fantasy world of The Old Guard with realism was her main priority.
“I never wanted any moment to take an audience out of the fact that these could be real people,” the filmmaker said in conversation with Vanity Fair. “This is somebody that can get stabbed and walk away, but it’s going to hurt...this is a woman alive 6,000 years, and we come to her at the point where she wants it over.”
The Old Guard takes the story of heroes and grounds it in humanity — all without the costumes we’ve come to associate with the genre. You can catch the action-packed film on Netflix on July 10.