8 Great Black Science-Fiction Films

Will HBO's 'Who Fears Death' match these all-time faves?

Game of Thrones is quickly coming to an end (well, in a year or two, anyway), which means the network is seeking its next big hit, and HBO just landed a deal for a new George R.R. Martin-produced TV show, reported by Deadline. Who Fears Death is a new drama series in development, based on Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor’s 2010 award-winning novel of the same name. Amazon tells us more about the story:

In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different—special—she names her Onyesonwu, which means “Who fears death?” in an ancient language.

It doesn’t take long for Onye to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her conception. She is Ewu—a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by her community. But Onye is not the average Ewu. Even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic. As she grows, so do her abilities, and during an inadvertent visit to the spirit realm, she learns something terrifying: someone powerful is trying to kill her.

Desperate to elude her would-be murderer and to understand her own nature, she embarks on a journey in which she grapples with nature, tradition, history, true love, and the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and ultimately learns why she was given the name she bears: Who Fears Death.

The premise is intriguing, and the AV Club notes that “with its Afrocentric focus and predominantly black cast and creative team, there’s also an implication buried here that the network is hoping to deflect some of the criticisms that have plagued HBO since it announced its modern-day slavery drama Confederate, the follow-up series from Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss.”

Black science-fiction stories are nothing new, and have examined race, identity, and social issues with tenderness, humor, and more. We highlight just a few of those noteworthy movies, below.

The Black Film Critics Circle said it all about Joe Cornish’s movie, which is set in South London where an alien invasion takes place: “Attack The Block is a genre film that defies a number of conventions, not only by having a primarily black cast but portraying each character with a dignity seldom seen on screen and even more rarely in a Science-Fiction film.”