The movie stars Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, the charismatic, revolutionary Black Panther leader charismatic known as the Chairman. Lakeith Stanfield stars alongside Kaluuya as FBI informant William O’Neal.
Directed by Shaka King and produced by Ryan Coogler (Marvel’s Black Panther), Judas and the Black Messiah also stars Dominique Fishback (The Hate U Give), Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) and Martin Sheen (Grace & Frankie).
Judas and the Black Messiah is King’s first feature film at a big studio. He co-wrote the script with Will Berson from a story by King, Berson, and Kenny and Keith Lucas
The first half of the movie, set in the ’60s, is from Hampton’s perspective, tracing his rise and national influence in the Illinois Black Panther Party amid a series of effective social campaigns and activism against racism and Black oppression. The other half of the story is told through O’Neal’s point of view. O’Neal becomes part of Hampton’s inner circle after cutting a deal with an FBI Agent named Roy Mitchell, played by Jesse Plemons.
However, using the threat of jail time over stealing a car, Mitchell forces a conflicted O’Neal to act as an informant. In the trailer, Mitchell argues, “You’re looking at 18 months for the stolen car, five years for impersonating a federal officer — or you can go home.”
From then on, O’Neal began to infiltrate the Black Panther Party, ultimately laying the groundwork for the FBI agency to conduct a raid in 1969 that killed Hampton at the ripe age of 21 in an attempt to silence the movement for Black liberation.
Though Hampton had been betrayed and assassinated, throughout the trailer, he continues to quote, “You can murder a revolutionary, but you can’t murder a revolution. And you can murder a freedom fighter, but you can’t murder freedom.”
Judas and the Black Messiah will arrive only in theaters in 2021. Watch the trailer below: