The first trailer for Warner Bros. Judas and the Black Messiah traces the rise and assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton by the FBI.
Produced by Ryan Coogler and directed by Shaka King, the film stars Daniel Kaluuya as the charismatic, Chicago-born revolutionary known as the Chairman.
“The Black Panthers are forming a rainbow coalition of oppressed brothers and sisters of every color,” Kaluuya’s Hampton says to shots of captivated listeners.
Set in the ’60s, part of the film is from Hampton’s perspective, tracing his rise in the Illinois Black Panther Party, as well as his growing regional and national influence amid a series of effective social campaigns against racism and Black oppression. The other half is told through the eyes of William O’Neal, the FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party, ultimately laying the groundwork for the J. Edgar Hoover counter-intelligence program raid that killed Hampton at 21.
Portrayed by Lakeith Stanfield, O’Neal becomes part of Hampton’s inner circle after cutting a deal with an FBI Agent named Roy Mitchell, played by Jesse Plemons. Using the threat of jail time over stealing a car, Mitchell convinces O’Neal to act as an informant, helping the agency take down Kaluuya’s popular young activist.
“Their aim is to sow hatred and inspire terror,” Plemons’ Mitchell can be heard saying over a montage of Hampton with his fiancee, providing free breakfast to a room full of Black children, and riding with fellow Panthers in a car.
“These ain’t no terrorists,” O’Neal quickly responds.
The trailer than pivots back to Hampton, who charges to a crowd as O’Neal and Mitchell look on, “You can murder a revolutionary, but you can’t murder a revolution. You can murder a freedom fighter, but you can’t murder freedom.”
Judas and the Black Messiah is King’s first studio film, which he co-wrote with Will Berson from a story by King, Berson, and Kenny and Keith Lucas. The film, which was produced by Charles King alongside Coogler, also stars Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Dominique Fishback and Martin Sheen. The movie is slated for release in 2021.
Watch the trailer below.