‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ has a new trailer and a release date

Judas and the Black Messiah
Glen Wilson/Warner Bros.

Good news if you were disappointed by how Bobby Seale and Fred Hampton were treated in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7: Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, which stars Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton, leader of the Black Panther Party, and Lakeith Stanfield as William O’Neal, the man who sold Hampton out to the FBI, finally has a release date. The pandemic release limbo is finally over, at least for this film, thank God. But, first, Warner Bros. dropped a brand-new trailer for the film earlier on Tuesday, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, it looks pretty great.

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the longest synopsis we’ve ever read for a film — it’s practically a press release, but we’re cool with it:


Chairman Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was assassinated by the FBI, who coerced a petty criminal named William 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. I am a revolutionary!

In 1968, a young, charismatic activist named Fred Hampton became Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, who were fighting for freedom, the power to determine the destiny of the Black community, and an end to police brutality and the slaughter of Black people.

Chairman Fred was inspiring a generation to rise up and not back down to oppression, which put him directly in the line of fire of the government, the FBI and the Chicago Police. But to destroy the revolution, they had to do it from both the outside… and the inside. Facing prison, William O’Neal is offered a deal by the FBI: if he will infiltrate the Black Panthers and provide intel on Hampton, he will walk free. O’Neal takes the deal.


Now a comrade in arms in the Black Panther Party, O’Neal lives in fear that his treachery will be discovered even as he rises in the ranks. But as Hampton’s fiery message draws him in, O’Neal cannot escape the deadly trajectory of his ultimate betrayal.

Though his life was cut short, Fred Hampton’s impact has continued to reverberate. The government saw the Black Panthers as a militant threat to the status quo and sold that lie to a frightened public in a time of growing civil unrest. But the perception of the Panthers was not reality. In inner cities across America, they were providing free breakfasts for children, legal services, medical clinics and research into sickle cell anemia, and political education. And it was Chairman Fred in Chicago, who, recognizing the power of multicultural unity for a common cause, created the Rainbow Coalition —joining forces with other oppressed peoples in the city to fight for equality and political empowerment.

Judas and the Black Messiah will have its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before it hits theaters and HBO Max on February 12.