Damsel Trailer is a Promising Glimpse of a Potential New Fantasy Franchise

Millie Bobby Brown trades the Upside Down for a whole kingdom.


There are few storytelling stunts harder than crafting a fantasy world from scratch, but Netflix is attempting to do just that. The streamer’s next big fantasy film isn’t based on comics like The Sandman or books like Shadow and Bone. It’s completely original, which means it’s a big risk, but also that whatever happens is a complete surprise. Now, with the release of the trailer, we have our first look at this new world, and it’s definitely not what you were expecting.

Damsel, Netflix’s next big swing, is directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the director of the zombie sequel 28 Weeks Later. It stars Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie, a princess betrothed to a handsome prince, only to discover a dark secret: the marriage is just a plot to sacrifice her to pay off a debt — and appease a terrifying monster. In an instant, Elodie must defend herself and claw her way back to safety.

The trailer reveals all the hallmarks of a great Netflix movie: a Gen Z cast including Millie Bobby Brown and Nick Robinson, surprising guest stars including Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, and Stranger-Things-caliber special effects.

But the most surprising part of the story is the twist, that a girl from every generation has been sacrificed to what seems to be a fire-breathing dragon for centuries. Elodie is told that she is inheriting a “legacy of honor and duty,” but she refuses to be a martyr for a family so willing to throw her away for an ancient ritual with dark origins.

Elodie’s wedding turns into ancient sacrifice ritual complete with spooky masks.


It’s a twist that’s pretty clearly telegraphed by the title, which evokes the “damsel in distress” archetype, but it’s surprising to see just how it’s played out in the movie: epic fight scenes, strange fantasy creatures, and a journey of self-discovery and perseverance. This movie is more than just an ode to the concept of “girlboss” — it’s a sprawling saga in and of itself.

We see Elodie’s entire idyllic life in the trailer, which means the bulk of the movie will follow her journey back from the depths of wherever she was (quite literally) tossed aside. Damsel may have a simple premise, but that just creates a blank slate for a lush new fantasy world — and possibly a new film franchise.

Damsel premieres March 8 on Netflix.

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