Starz announced Tuesday that they are developing the Black Samurai series from Jerry Bruckheimer Television and RZA's Wu Films.
Produced by RZA, the action-drama will star Common. The rapper-actor will also executive produce.
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13: RZA poses for a portrait at the Winter 2014 TCA's on January 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maarten de Boer/Getty Images)
We first told you last year that a series was in development, with RZA producing and Common starring. Marc Olden's "Black Samurai" series of novels were written and published between 1974 and 1975.
Based on the Black Samurai novels written by Marc Olden, the series will follow the character of Robert Sand (Common), a highly-trained American Army Ranger whose life is transformed when he meets a legendary Japanese master who invites him to train as a samurai. After his beloved sensei and samurai brothers are killed by mercenaries, Sand is thrust on a worldwide journey of both revenge and self-discovery.
“We cannot wait for the world to meet Robert Sand – part Jason Bourne, part James Bond, and 100% the hero we need today. ‘Black Samurai’ promises to be an action-packed ride and with the Bruckheimer team, Common, RZA and Andre at the helm, we can feel certain this will be exceptional storytelling,” said Carmi Zlotnik, president of programming for Starz.
“I'm beyond excited about ‘Black Samurai.’ This is a unique and special project that offers something rarely seen in art and culture today. It's an honor to play the character of Robert Sand and to have my production company, Freedom Road Productions partnering with Jerry Bruckheimer Productions, RZA and Starz to deliver something fresh and new to people. I can't wait to dig into this character and the martial arts worlds of gun-fu, kung-fu, jujitsu and more. Look out world, ‘Black Samurai’ is coming!” said Common.
RZA said, “I've been a fan of the Robert Sand character since I was a kid, ‘Black Samurai’ being one of the films that got me into the martial art genre. A chance to combine with Jerry Bruckheimer, Common and Andre Gaines to reintroduce this character to a new generation makes myself and my partner Mitchell Diggs at Wu Films super stoked. With the Wibbs leading the writing team and Starz as our outlet, I'm certain the series will find its fan base."
More info on the Black Samurai series:
Marc Olden's "Black Samurai" series of novels were written and published between 1974 and 1975. The franchise follows American GI Robert Sand, on leave in Tokyo, who is shot trying to protect an old man from a group of drunk American soldiers. What he doesn't realize is that the old man is actually a Japanese Samurai master, who really doesn't need Sand's help, as he beats his attackers senseless. The Samurai is Master Konuma; he rescues Sand, and trains him for seven years, teaching him martial arts, swordplay, and stealth, until he becomes the Black Samurai - not only the first black man to ever take the oath of the Samurai, but the strongest fighter Konuma has ever trained.
One night, their dojo is ambushed, they are outnumbered and Sand witnesses the killing of his teacher and brother samurai by unknown villains. Sand then becomes a man with a mission for vengeance - to destroy the corrupt powers who are plotting an assault on world peace that could destroy everything he holds dear.
By the way, this is not to be confused with "Afro Samurai," the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Takashi Okazaki, which follows the life of Afro Samurai who witnessed his father (owner of the No. 1 headband) being killed at the hands of a gunslinger named Justice (owner of the No. 2 headband) when he was a child. As an adult, Afro sets off to avenge his father’s death and kill Justice. It was adapted into a 5-episode animated TV series that later spawned a made-for-tv movie sequel, "Afro Samurai: Resurrection" in 2009. In addition, a video game and two successful soundtracks produced also by RZA were developed. Several years ago, Samuel L. Jackson was to produce a live action film based on the series, but it never happened.