“You can murder a revolutionary, but you can’t murder a revolution," shouts Fred Hampton in the official trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah. The clip is the first look at Warner Bros.' upcoming biopic about the real-life events leading up to the assassination of the Black Panther Party leader.
Directed by Shaka King, the film stars Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and Lakeith Stanfield as William O’Neal, the FBI informant whose betrayal leads to Hampton’s death. The trailer emphasizes the rising tension between Hampton and O’Neal, as the latter is forced to betray the movement for his own protection.
Chairman Fred Hampton was only 21 years old when he was assassinated by the FBI, who coerced a petty criminal, O’Neal, to help them silence him and the Black Panther Party. But they could not kill Fred Hampton’s legacy and, 50 years later, his words still echo louder than ever.
The trailer underscores the importance of re-educating ourselves about the Black Panther Party. The Panthers' message of racial equality "by any means necessary" rings especially true today. Judas and the Black Messiah shows the concerted effort of US law enforcement to vilify the Black Panthers and seed discord from within. It gives us a chance to challenge our own misconceptions of the "radical" Black Panthers and, through the story of one assassinated revolutionary, reexamine the hundreds of thousands of martyrs that the Black Lives Matter movement has left in its wake.
The film was originally set for release on August 21 but was pulled from the Warner Bros. schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. No date is attached to the trailer as of yet, but it will be released “only in theaters” at some point in 2021.
Watch the trailer below.