For better or for worse, it usually takes Latin America a few years to catch up to cultural and political trends coming out of El Norte — which means it was only a matter of time until we got a Latin American superhero movie. And while many may rightfully lament the domination of U.S. cineplexes by an unending parade of colorful masks and spandex outfits, this is one area where Latin American creative minds have the potential to bring fans of the genre and detractors alike something totally new and unexpected. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Latino America, meet Zambo Dendé. The child of an African king and a noble indigenous mother, Azuk (Zambo Dendé’s given name) is a colonial-era slave avenger who wreaks havoc upon European oppressors in the name of freedom for his people. Conceived as a sprawling transmedia project — including live and animated short films, series, and feature films plus apps and video games — based on an original comic book character by Colombian Nicholas Rodríguez, Zambo Dendé quickly picked up backing from Disney and Fox Colombia who have put up the financing to bring this ambitious and deeply Latin American vision to life.
Without a doubt the supernerds among us are already rolling their eyes at the old news, and in truth the Zambo Dendé project was announced years ago. But after much speculation we are pleased to inform that the live-action series has an official trailer, and it’s everything that we hoped for. Featuring dazzling martial arts sequences set against the dim, fire-lit nights of the 16th-century South America, Zambo Dendé‘s trailer sets the stage for an epic battle between the forces of ecclesiastical and imperial power and the legendary slave avenger who torments their evil enterprises.
Sure, Zambo Dendé may not have the $100 million-plus budget that gives Marvel Universe films their polished visuals and impeccable effects, but the project is oozing with enthusiasm that more than makes makes up for its limited budget. Playing the titular Zambo Dendé, Chilean martial-arts phenom Marko Zaror is arguably one of the best global action stars working today, bringing a marquee value to the film that will no doubt have theaters packed south of the border. And that’s no small feat considering how politically charged this anti-racist, anti-colonial fable really is.
So get ready to beat the crap out of colonial-era racial oppression, because Zambo Dendé should be coming to a big or small screen near you before too long. Watch additional behind-the-scenes videos of the animated and live action series here.