Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mustafa Shakir to star in ‘King Shaka’ on Showtime

The historical epic series begins production in South Africa next month.

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A new historical epic series is coming to Showtime. The premium television network has officially announced “King Shaka,” with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje of “Oz” and “Lost” and Mustafa Shakir of “Luke Cage” set to star alongside Charles Babalola.

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Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who starred in “Oz” and “Lost,” will play Zwide, the chief of Ndwandwe, in the Showtime series, “King Shaka.” (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images,)

In the series, audiences will be transported to the days of the Zulu Empire in the early 19th century, in a story that will follow Shaka (Babalola) and his rise to power as founder of the empire. “The outcast son of a Zulu Chief, Shaka, is a visionary who is prophesized to become a king like none before him,” Deadline‘s description of the series details.

It continues, “In ferocious battles that test the body and soul, in alliances that test the bonds of love and friendship, a complex sociological system plays out that renders the human cost front and center, for the victors as well as the vanquished, all in an effort to carve out a semblance of identity, fulfillment and ultimately, survival.”

Akinnuoye-Agbaje joins as Zwide in the series, chief of Ndwandwe. He is described as a “loving family man” who has a sadistic side, employing “ruthless fighting methods” and “terrifying” brutal strength. Shakir has been cast as Dingiswayo, a disgraced prince who comes into Shaka’s life as a father figure and mentor. Terry Pheto and Lerato Mvelase also join the series in recurring roles of Juma and Mkabayi, respectively.

Production is to start next month in South Africa, with plans for the entire shoot to remain there. The series comes from writers and executive producers Olu Odebunmi and Tolu Awosika. Antoine Fuqua, Bridget Carpenter, Propagate’s Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens and Rodney Ferrell also join as executive producers.

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Mustafa Shakir will portray Dingiswayo, a disgraced prince, in the “King Shaka” series. “What an honor,” he said of being cast for the project. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Vulture)

On Friday, Shakir took to Instagram to express excitement about the project and to share a screenshot of the Deadline report. He wrote, “What an honor. Truly. I almost don’t have the words to explain the feeling…there’s so much beauty and magic surrounding this project I would do it a disservice by trying to put it into words.”

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