My totally unauthorized script for a once-planned six-issue run of Red Sonja. (Formatting a little off with transfer.)
PAGE 1 (SPLASH)
Interior of a large tavern. SONJA seated at a wood table, armed, gulping from a big tankard. She’s alone, with three empty tankards on the table, one tipped over with spilled grog: She’s been here a while, imbibing a while.
There are other people inside—barbarian types, and motley looking folks—mostly men, unless there’s a woman with a group of men. And a barmaid and a male bartender. Sonja’s the only solo woman.
if possible: show three old women (ie the Fates—maybe one younger) either looking in from the outside (maybe just their heads or backs of heads visible). Not looking at Sonja yet, just looking in general (as revealed later)
Also: show young DRONA lurking in the shadows/corner also scoping out the scene.
Name of tavern on a sign: THE WHITE CAMEL
Credits in old-world tavern sign style, like on wooden signs:
PAGE 2 (six panels)
Panel 1—Medium shot at floor level of Drona sneaking up behind Sonja. Only lower part of Sonja visible, waist down, with a coin purse hanging from her belt (Note: it’s a pretty empty coin purse). Drona is behind, reaching for the strings with a knife/dagger. Her expression is kind of excited actually, eyes wide and almost smiling.
Panel 2—Same shot, but Sonja’s hand has reached down and grabbed Drona’s wrist. Drona’s face has turned to surprise/shock/fear.
Panel 3—Medium long and wide of Sonja, now standing and holding Drona out at arm’s length. Drona’s feet don’t even touch the floor. Sonja is not quite angry, more like un-amused.
You’re wasting your time with my coin purse, thief.
Panel 4—From out of nowhere, Drona has produced another knife in her other hand, aimed at Sonja, but Sonja has reached down and grabbed that wrist as well.
I am not amused. What’s your name, thief?
Panel 5—Same angle/shot, but Sonja has turned Drona around, facing away from her, both wrists still held high. Drona is scared/alarmed.
Panel 6—Sonja drop-kicking Drona in the butt. Drona almost off panel.
Go play out in the street.
PAGE 3 (five panels)
Panel 1—Medium of Sonja sitting down again. Not a CU but close enough to see here eyes looking sideways to a table off-panel, hearing the convo below:
OLD TRADER (OP):
Looking for work, friends?
MERC 1 (OP):
If you’re looking for swords.
Panel 2—Medium shot of the Old Trader standing next to a table where two mercs, MERC #1 and #2, are seated. This is from Sonja’s POV. They’re long-haired, long-bearded guys leather studded armour, with swords hanging off their seat.
I’ve need of swords to get my caravan up the coast road to _____.
Two nights. Two silver for each. Payable on safe arrival.
To ___? Easy money.
Panel 4—CU of Old Trader, looking a little uneasy.
There’s word of bandits filtering south.
Panel 5—CU of Sonja, raising her hand in signal, and addressing the Trader off-panel.
I’ll sign with you as well.
PAGE 4 (five panels)
Panel 1—The three men, same shot as before, from her POV, heads turned to look at her, maybe slightly surprised.
Panel 2—Same shot, but the two mercs are laughing, and the old trader looking embarrassed.
Panel 3—CU on Merc #2, still laughing, looking at us/Sonja, off-panel.
Wench, are you mad?!
Panel 4—CU on Merc #1. Same, laughing and looking at us/Sonja.
If you want to come along, I can think of something you’d be useful for!
Panel 5—CU on Sonja’s face. She’s pissed. Note to colorist: Maker her cheeks/face slightly more red with anger/shame.
PAGE 5 (five panels)
Panel 1—CU of Old Trader, looking uncomfortable and maybe slightly apologetic. (Shrugging?)
Y’see missy, swordwork is men’s work.
Panel 2—Wider shot of Sonja, at least from her knees up, leaping up out of her chair, grabbing and half-unsheathing her sword, snarling and glaring, from the men’s POV.
I could take these two by myself!
Panel 3—CU of Merc #2. Laughing lecherously.
I bet you could! Har har!
Panel 4—Same shot, only now the tip of Sonja’s sword is a half-inch from his throat (or, in his beard, I guess). He’s surprised and scared, looking down at it cross-eyed.
Panel 5—Wide, across whole bottom of page: The bar, with the bartender and barmaid both holding and aiming crossbows at us/Sonja and men, looking stern and angry.
No fightin’ inside!
PAGE 6 (four panels)
Panel 1—Large and wide, outside of the tavern, in a wide, fairly busy street, with stalls and store on each side, people walking and riding horses, horses with carts. This city is Middle-Eastern-ish, in clothing and architecture. Maybe some of the nearer ones have their heads turned at the commotion of Sonja and three men, who have walked outside.
Merc 2 is turned to Sonja, pointing and glaring, etc.
Whore! I’ll cut your tits off!
Panel 2—CU of Sonja, looking strangely calm now: She’s in her element, and primed to kick some ass. Maybe slightly smiling, edges of her mouth curled up, fucking with him.
I’ll cut your balls off.
Panel 3—CU of the Old Trader, holding up his open hands, worried and trying to calm everyone down.
Now now! Calm down!
Panel 4: CU of Merc #2 pointing at us/Sonja (her POV)
Now, whore. On Your knees and beg for mercy!
PAGE 7 (four panels)
Panel 1—CU of Sonja, even more amused now. Arms crossed, waiting.
Panel 2—Wide of Merc #2 on left, facing right, at Sonja, who is facing left. He’s just slathering with rage, still pointing at her. She’s still calm, arms crossed, totally fucking with him.
Or I’ll knock your teetch out for a nice hole!
To think you had a mother.
Panel 3—CU of Merc 2 charging, bare-handed, livid.
Panel 4—Wide—Merc 2 on left, Sonja on right. Sonja in the middle of a reverse roundhouse kick. (note: if more panels needed for this, go for it)
PAGE 8 (six panels)
Panel 1—CU of Sonja’s boot heel connecting with Merc 2’s jaw.
Panen 2—Wide-ish, low/ground level, of Merc 2’s head hitting the ground, his eyes wide and stunned, with the Old Trader and Merc 1 in the background, shocked.
Panel 3—Close up (or CU as possible with three people) of three women, jaws dropped.
Panel 4—CU of Drona, equally stunned, eyes wide, but smiling.
Panel 5—CU of Merc 1, with still shocked Old Trader in background. Merc 1 drawing his sword and snarling.
Wench, you’ll pay for that!
Panel 6—Sonja drawing her sword, calmly, in her element.
Must you speak in clichés?
PAGE 9 (five panels)
Suggestion/idea: All these panels short and the width of the page?
Panel 1—Wide. Again, Merc 1 on left, Sonja on right, swords drawn and facing off. both holding swords two-handed.
Panel 2—Same shot, Merc 1 charging. sword overhead.
Panel 3—Merc 1 bringing his sword down, Sonja raising hers to meet it. Swords meeting.
Panel 4—Sonja using his strength and sword weight to guide it down to her left (towards us) and into the ground, her sword on top.
Panel 5—Keeping her left hand on her sword hilt, she reaches up with her right hand in a fist, backhanding Merc 1 in the jaw.
PAGE 10 (five panels)
Panel 1—CU of Sonja, POV of Merc 1 (so, facing us/him) as she winds up her right hand, glaring.
Panel 2—CU of Merc 1, POV of Sonja (so, facing us). His eyes wide, stunned from the hit he just got (and maybe his jaw dislocated or something) but aware that she’s about to smash him in the face. He can see it coming.
Panel 3—Medium-wide-ish side shot of Sonja smashing Merc 1 in the nose.
Panel 4—CU of Old Trader, looking at Sonja/us, from her POV.
Panel 5—Either a CU of Sonja, or maybe a bigger shot of her standing over Merc 1’s body, but in either case, wiping her mouth with the back of her right hand.
I didn’t kill them.
You might still need more swords-for-hire than me.
PAGE 11 (five panels)
Panel 1—CU of Trader, deer-in-headlights look.
I can’t hire a woman. I’m sorry.
Panel 2—CU of Sonja, surprised/incredulous.
You can’t hire a woman?
After what I’ve just done?
Are you insane?
Panel 3—Wide, whole width of page maybe, showing Trader on left, facing Sonja on right (in a similar shot as when she was facing off with Merc 1). Trader is flustered and apologetic, maybe holding out his hands/arms in a shrug. Sonja now looking angry (thus, maybe his flustered-ness_
Miss, it’s just...well...
It’s just not done. I’d be a laughingstock.
Panel 4—CU of Sonja, side shot. She’s now more stone-faced, realizing she’s being rejected, no matter what.
Panel 5—Same shot/angle. Sonja turning away. trying to snub him, to keep her respect.
This is crazy.
PAGE 12 (six panels)
Panel—Back inside the tavern. Sonja back at her table, another tankard of grog in her right hand, gulping it down.
Panel 2—CU (again, as much as possible with three people—maybe width of 2/3s page of Maiden , Mother, and Crone. All smiling, like they’re found the answer to all of their problems, and it’s Sonja, and they know she’ll say yes automatically.
We’ll hire you.
Panel 3—CU of Sonja, arms crossed, annoyed and grumpy.
For what? As a scarecrow in your garden?
Panel 4—CU of Maiden.
They just judged you because you’re a woman.
Panel 5—CU of Mother.
Now you judge us because we’re women?
Panel 6—CU of Crone.
Or is it because we’re old?
PAGE 13 (five panels)
Panel 1—CU of Sonja, surprised and chastened.
Panel 2—CU of Mother, smiling and winking.
It’s ok, dearie. You were magnificent!
Panel 3—Super wide—of all four, all smiling, with Drona lurking in the background shadows somewhere.
We need you.
To protect our village.
Panel 4—CU of Sonja.
Panel 5—CU of Crone.
You can help us find more swords.
PAGE 14 (three panels)
Panel 1—CU of Sonja, looking skeptical.
Panel 2—Wide-ish CU of three older people. Averting eyes and otherwise acting sheepishly.
That’s the problem.
Panel 3—Either same-ish shot, or individual CUs if you want.
The drought this summer was bad.
We barely have enough to live on this winter.
It’s bad everywhere.
Which is why there’s bandits.
PAGE 15 (five panels)
Panel 1—CUish of Sonja, with Drona in the background, looking up at her and obviously listening in.
Where are your warriors? Every village has fighters.
Panel 2—CU of Maiden.
Gone. Conscripted into the king’s army.
Panel 3—CU of Mother
For the so-called defense of the country
For the wars in the south.
Panel 4—CU of Crone.
Even the boys.
Panel 5—CU of Sonja, one side of her mouth curled up, amused.
A village of no men?
Sounds like paradise.
PAGE 16 (five panels)
Panel 1—CU of Mother.
Please, dearie. We have food and board.
A warm hearth for winter.
Panel 2—Wide side shot of Sonja looking glum in the middle, arms crossed facign left, with the three elders on the left, and Drona lurking off in the shadows to the right, spying curiously.
You can’t pay. You want me to find more swords that you also can’t pay.
To defend a defenseless village.
Why should I do this?
Panel 3—The three elders know they’ve ‘hooked’ her, so they are smiling.
For the challenge!
Because we know you’re not just a sword!
You’re a leader! you can teach us to help ourselves!
Panel 4—CU of SONJA, looking resigned (though the praise is working, she loves feeling appreciated).
Panel 5—All three Elders (or three separate CUs if desired). All smiling, triumphant, like they’ve won the battle already. Crone should be holding up one finger, like he’s telling a truism or something.
Now how shall we find other swords?
PAGE 17 (three panels)
Panel 1—Back outside in the street. A larger, bird’s eye, view, with Sonja in foreground, the three elders, and Drona hiding/tagging along, in the background.
You have no money. The only swords you’ll get will be freaks and losers.
Make way! Make way!
Panel 2. Even larger (most of page?) Soldiers surround a horse-drawn cart with a wooden cage. In the cage is Belit, the Black Pirate Queen, in rags that might be still pirate-ish. She has long dreadlocks, her hands gripping the wooden bars on one side, glaring out at people. She’s beaten, but no broken.
If possible, have Sonja and the three elders in the background, turning to watch.
Belit the Pirate Queen is captured!
Panel 3—CU of Sonja, maybe in a little ‘corner’ triangle panel in lower right, turning to us/elders, pointing her thumb behind her at Belit.
Let’s get her.