Who is Barbarella? Sydney Sweeney’s character in Sony Pictures’ ‘Barbarella,’ explained

Sydney Sweeney to play Barbarella
Image via Dynamite Entertainment/Rich Polk/Getty Images for MTV

With Sydney Sweeney confirmed to bring the character of Barbarella to the 21st century in a new film by Sony Pictures, a whole new generation is set to be introduced to one of the most erotic and buxom comic book characters of all time.

The character boasts an impressive history, with roots in an entirely different era and one which still feels strangely close to home. But in case Barbarella is a name you aren’t truly aware of, it is time to get acquainted with her history and limitless space adventures.

The history of Barbarella

Barbarella
Image via Dynamite Entertainment

Created in 1962 by French writer and artist Jean-Claude Forest, Barbarella was imagined by its creator as a picture of the “modern woman.” The swinging 60s saw sexual liberation and a change in beliefs on the taboo of sex. Thus Forest depicted Barbarella as being an emancipated woman in this increasingly lascivious era.

Her adventures saw her traveling through space, going planet to planet, and having her fair share of sexual encounters along the way. Such classic supporting characters include an “orgasmatron” named Mado, the scientist Dr. Durand Durand (after whom British band Duran Duran named themselves), and a bird-man scientist.

It was first published by Éric Losfeld, who gained notoriety for his more erotic publishing in France, and was deemed one of the first serialized erotic comic books ever released to an American audience. A film adaptation of the same was released in 1968 with Jane Fonda playing the titular role, directed by Roger Vadim. Its success in the United Kingdom was particularly noteworthy as it emerged as the second-highest-grossing film the year it was released.

What is Barbarella up to now?

Barbarella
Image via Dynamite Entertainment

Following twenty years in the industry as a well-known erotic adventure series, it has lost a bit of steam and left the public consciousness. Kelly Sue DeConnick, who wrote one of the seminal Captain Marvel stories, penned a Barbarella series in 2015 before the rights changed hands. There has been a significant spike in interest in the comic book series ever since Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights to produce Barbarella stories in 2017, with a 12-issue series produced by Mark Carey.

On Oct. 22, Sony Pictures gained the rights to produce a film based on Barbarella and cast Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney to both executive produce and star in the title role. Sony did not give any timeframe for their movie release, but typically film rights involve a date when production must start before rights get reverted to the original owner.

At the time of writing, no director or writer to pen the script for the film has been announced. The film doesn’t have a tentative production date either but given the hype around the announcement, hopefully, Sony will begin shooting Barbarella sooner than later.