|“||Father... I love him!||”|
—Sonja, declaring her love for Lucian
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Sonja, the only daughter to the powerful Vampire Elder, Viktor, was born in the year 1210, three years after the birth of the first Lycan. Nothing is known of her mother, Ilona, except that she died in labor. At a very young age, Viktor gifts Sonja with a pendant, which she wears most of her life.
An exceptional warrior and a member of the Vampire Council, Sonja is being groomed by her father for an eventual position as an Elder, although she seems very uninterested in the prospect. Viktor insists that Sonja attend Council meetings, and fulfil her duties to the Coven, but Sonja ignores him and spends her nights chasing Werewolves and guarding the castle. She trained alongside the Death Dealers growing up and feels more loyalty to her duty as a Vampire warrior than a Council member. While it is never explicitly stated that she is a Death Dealer, she just as skilled and deadly in combat as any of them and performs all the usual duties of a Death Dealer.
At some point, Sonja meets and falls in love with a Lycan slave, Lucian. Lucian is also enamored with her, and the two begin an affair. How the affair begins is never explained, though Lucian and Sonja are both born in the same general time period, and so grow up around each other. In front of Viktor and the other Vampires, Sonja is cold and uncaring towards Lucian. In private, the two secretly wed each other, and spend their days together. Things begin to unravel when Sonja realizes she is pregnant, and that they cannot continue to hide their affair for long. Frightened of her father's wrath (the fear later proved justified), Sonja makes plans with Lucian to run away together. Before she leaves, she agrees to give her seat on the Council to Andreas Tanis in exchange for his silence, and a key to release Lucian from his shackles.
Before Sonja and Lucian put their escape plan into effect, Viktor discovers the secret passageway the two have been using to meet in secret. The Elder begins to suspect that something is amiss, and he bites Sonja, drinking her blood and learning the truth of her affair with Lucian. Lucian is able to escape the castle with a small group of fellow Lycans, but Sonja remains behind. Lucian returns for her, but Viktor and the Death Dealers were lying in wait. Despite Viktor's ill-treatment of Sonja and Lucian, Sonja refuses to kill him. Instead, she reveals her pregnancy to him, hoping that this will make him accept Lucian as her husband: it was a tragic miscalculation. The horrified Viktor captures both Lucian and Sonja and condemns them to death for their affair.
Lucian is chained to the floor in a large empty room, while Sonja is tied to a stake. While Sonja watches, Lucian is beaten by Soren with a silver whip. Once Lucian's torture is completed, Viktor and the Council members leave the room. A hole in the roof is then opened, exposing Sonja to sunlight and burning her alive. Lucian fights against the chains holding him down and screams her name as she dies. Later, once the moon rises, he is able to take on his Lycan form and escapes the castle with her pendant. Lucian continues to wear the pendant as a reminder of Sonja for the next 600 years, until his death at the hands of Vampire Regent Kraven.
Sonja's death is a catalyst for Lucian's personal vendetta against the Vampires, although the slave rebellion truly started because of a desire for freedom. When Viktor kills the architect he commissioned to construct William's prison and his family - to prevent the location of the prison from being revealed after Lucian takes possession of Sonja's pendant - he is compelled to spare the man's daughter, Selene, due to her striking resemblance to Sonja. Viktor cannot bring himself to kill Selene and instead makes her a Vampire and all but makes her his surrogate daughter, securing her loyalty by telling her that Lycans killed her family.
Prior to meeting Selene, Viktor met a woman named Semira who had a strong physical resemblance to his daughter. Compelled by his memories of Sonja, Viktor turned her into a Vampire and gave her a powerful position within the Coven. For a while, she was considered Viktor's favorite among the Vampires until he met Selene who had a far stronger resemblance to his daughter. He then exiled her to the Nordic Coven presumably to keep her from causing trouble. This would lead to consequences in the future.
Sonja's memory is kept a secret from Selene and the new Coven in general, with the only survivors of the original Coven being the Elders, Soren, Kraven, and Andreas Tanis. It is likely that Viktor forbade Tanis from ever speaking of her. As a result of all this secrecy, Selene does not learn about Sonja's existence for nearly six hundred years.
After being bitten by Lucian, Michael Corvin begins to experience "hallucinations," which are actually Lucian's blood memories, where he repeatedly witnesses Sonja's death. Michael eventually figures out that Sonja and Lucian had been in love and remarks on this to Lucian, who proceeds to tell Michael about his forbidden love for Sonja and the real reason the war began. It should be noted that in Underworld, Lucian calls Sonja his "bride," but that there is no other proof that the two were actually married, other than their devotion to each other. Lucian didn't even know that she had been pregnant until only a few hours before her death.
Later, Kraven reveals Sonja's existence to Selene, telling her that the only reason Viktor spared her from the massacre of her family was that she "reminded him so much of his precious Sonja; the daughter he condemned to death." Selene initially dismisses this as a lie, but upon confronting Viktor about it, he reveals he did have a daughter named Sonja. Viktor claims to have been grieved to have to execute Sonja, but did so for the good of the Vampires, revealing to Selene that Sonja had been pregnant with Lucian's child and that Viktor perceived this as being a threat. Selene later kills Viktor in retaliation for his actions and deception of her, thus exacting some small justice for Sonja.
Notably, Sonja has two different appearances between Underworld and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. In Underworld, she is shown to have blonde hair and green eyes, while Rise of the Lycans shows her with dark brown hair and brown eyes. This is due to monetary constraints and the director waiting too long to find a suitable brunette actress. The character was written to have darker features, similar to that of Selene. The physical similarity between the two women is meant to be one of the reasons why Viktor spares Selene's life after killing her family, Selene reminding him too much of his daughter for him to bring himself to kill her.
An alternate version of Sonja's history is told in the non-canon novel Blood Enemy, written before the release of Underworld: Evolution. In this novel, Sonja is not a dark-haired Death Dealer, but a blonde-haired princess, as based on her original appearance. Lucian, still a slave, is drawn to Sonja for her compassionate nature, but there is no indication that they had ever spoken before the events of the novel, Lucian even chiding himself for the thought of engaging her in conversation. In contrast to her role as a ruthless warrior in Rise, Sonja's key trait in Blood Enemy is her compassion; even after witnessing her mother, Ilona, being decapitated by a group of mortals led by the charismatic Brother Ambrose, Sonja nevertheless feels sympathy for the humans when reflecting on their constant awareness of their own mortality after she and Lucian are forced to hide in an old tomb in an abandoned monastery, Sonja musing on how mortals try to make death something not to be afraid of when they must constantly face the possibility of it.
She becomes closer to Lucian after he saves her life from an attack by Brother Ambrose, who had rallied the local peasants in a vendetta against the 'demons', with an attack on a vampire fortress killing Sonja's mother as a group of vampires prepare to rest for the day. In order to protect her from the sun, Lucian wraps Sonja in a tapestry and takes her to a nearby abandoned monastery so that they can hide from their pursuers until nightfall. Despite the standard prejudice against Lycans, Sonja clearly treats Lucian with respect, warmly thanking him for saving her and working to remove the silver that has recently infected his blood after he was shot with an arrow. When Lucian reveals his heritage as having been captured by Vampires during a raid on his parents' group of wild Lycans, Sonja expresses disbelief that a noble spirit such as his could ever have been a renegade, later assuring him after he has transformed into his wolf form that no part of him could be repugnant to her. When Lucian transforms before her, despite his own shame at appearing in such a manner before a Vampire, Sonja treats him the same as she had when he was human, later reflecting that it is unfair that a noble soul like Lucian's should be condemned to live as a slave simply because of his birth.
When Viktor declares that Sonja is to be married to Marcus Corvinus's son Nicolae, whom Sonja holds a strong distaste for, Sonja and Lucian begin a secret affair in an abandoned chapel in Viktor's palace after Sonja arranges a private meeting with him as the only person in the palace she felt she could be honest with. Sonja later learns of her pregnancy, and the two 'marry' in an informal private ceremony between themselves alone. However, their attempt to escape that night is betrayed by Leyba, a jealous Lycan slave harboring romantic feelings for Lucian. Although Viktor initially restricts himself to simply whipping Lucian, when Sonja declares that Lucian is the father of her child, Viktor has her killed.
After Lucian flees the vampire palace, he reflects on various occasions that Sonja was the only vampire who genuinely cared for anything other than her own ambitions, fuelling his own rage against his former masters. During Lucian's later fight with Nicolae, Nicolae mocks Lucian by asking if Sonja was as talented in bed as she was in other matters, Nicolae's callous dismissal of Sonja helping to provoke Lucian's transformation into his wolf form without the aid of the moon for the first time.
Sonja shares some personality traits with Selene, in that they are both cunning and dedicated warriors, who show little remorse for their enemies and are willing to risk their own lives for the good of their coven, or those they love. However, Sonja is not so slavishly devoted to her life as a warrior as Selene is. She is not as loyal to the coven and does not blindly follow their doctrine.
Sonja has a somewhat warmer personality, with Rhona Mitra describing her as being more "sassy" compared to Selene. She also appears to be more compassionate and mindful of other's feelings, such as when she asks Lucian if he truly feels nothing when he kills the Werewolves, and by her decision to spare Viktor and attempt to persuade him to accept her love for Lucian, which ultimately proved to be her downfall (Selene, on the other hand, didn't hesitate to kill Viktor, although it should be noted that Viktor was revealed to have killed Selene's family, while, up until that point, he had not done anything so terrible to Sonja herself aside from his harsh treatment of Lucian).
Sonja is shown to be quite a fearless fighter; the only time she appears to show any sign of fear is in the moments before her execution. As shown by her actions in Rise of the Lycans, Sonja has a rather rebellious personality; she doesn't seem to appreciate her father trying to control her life and attempts to take charge of her own destiny. Unlike most other Vampires, Sonja does not despise Lycans; she falls in love with one and appears to sympathize with them, to the point where she helps them to escape, betraying her coven in the process. It is possible that Sonja's relationship with Lucian is what prompted her to view Lycans as more than just mindless beasts.
Sonja has little interest in power or politics, seeking to serve her coven as a warrior and later, to live a peaceful life with the man she loves and their child. Sonja's love of her family is one of her most central traits; she feels torn between her love and sense of duty to her father, and her forbidden love for, and desire to be with Lucian. Sonja seemed to have hope that her love for Lucian would bring peace between the Vampires and Lycans, a belief that was perhaps somewhat naive of her. That being said, her standing up for those she loved and refusal to live on anyone's terms but her own are testaments to Sonja's inner strength and courage.
Sonja is depicted as an attractive vampire, with fair skin, long, wavy dark brown hair and brown eyes. When using her vampiric abilities, her eyes become electric blue. Sonja bears a notable resemblance to Selene, which is remarked upon by several characters and clearly shown in their physical similarities.
In Underworld, Sonja had a slightly different appearance; although she still resembled Selene in her facial features, she had blond hair and green eyes. She also had these features in Blood Enemy, which was released prior to Rise of the Lycans. According to the filmmakers, Sonja's physical appearance as it is depicted in Rise is the one regarded as canon.
Sonja first met Lucian when they were children and, despite the fact she was a Vampire and the daughter of an Elder, while he was a Lycan slave, she appeared drawn to him. As adults, Sonja and Lucian fell deeply in love, risking Viktor's wrath to secretly meet whenever they could. Sonja treated Lucian coldly in public, but this was merely a ruse so as not to arouse suspicion. Sonja, unlike most Vampires, views Lucian as a person and admires his courage and compassion. In the non-canon Blood Enemy, she remarks how unfair it is that a noble soul like Lucian should be doomed to a life of slavery, a notion she seems to retain in Rise of the Lycans.
She often expresses concern for his well-being, asking him how he really feels about killing Werewolves and even begging him not to transform to save her from Werewolves, knowing he would be punished. She struggles to hide her grief when Lucian is whipped for transforming and is openly devastated when he is tortured a second time at her execution. Sonja acts as a source of strength and guidance for Lucian; she willingly defies her father to help Lucian escape and also expresses no regret when they are captured, dismissing Lucian's belief that it is his fault for rebelling against the Vampires, with Sonja stating that he would "not be who you are" if he hadn't stood up for his fellow Lycans.
Sonja loves her father, but they do not always see eye to eye on matters. Sonja is often defiant towards Viktor and seems unenthusiastic about the destiny he has chosen for her. She also knows he has the ability to be cold-blooded and ruthless - it is, for this reason, she tries to dissuade Lucian from escaping (initially) and keeps her relationship with him a closely guarded secret, knowing how Viktor would react. She does, however, underestimate the lengths Viktor will go to preserve the Vampire species; she appears to be shocked when Viktor callously announces he will have Lucian killed and also refuses to kill Viktor during her escape attempt with Lucian, instead of trying to reason with him. She seems to hope that by telling Viktor of her pregnancy, he will accept her love for Lucian and the fighting can end. she again appears to be in a state of shock when Viktor reacts with disgust and sentences both her and her lover to death. Tragically, Sonja's love and respect for her father, and her faith in his love for her resulted in her death.
Sonja does not appear to like or trust Tanis much, viewing him with suspicion and wariness after he learns of her relationship with Lucian. However, she forms an uneasy alliance with him, seeing in him an opportunity to help Lucian after Viktor marks him for death. She willingly trades her place on the Council with Tanis, in exchange for his silence and a copy of the keys to the Lycans' cells and moon collars. Sonja appears to gain some respect for Tanis, out of gratitude for not giving away her secret and for helping her to meet with Lucian while he is imprisoned.
Aside from Lucian, Sonja's lady-in-waiting appears to be her only true friend and confidante within the coven. She trusts Luka enough to let her know she cares for Lucian, though she apparently does not confide in Luka in the full extent of her relationship with him. She does, however, allow herself to become emotional in Luka's presence when she witnesses Lucian being whipped. It can be assumed that Sonja was the one who sent Luka to find Lucian and inform him of her situation after Viktor puts her under house arrest; evidently, she is close enough to Luka to trust her to do this and not betray Lucian's location. It is not clear if Sonja ever told Luka of her relationship with Lucian, though it is possible she guessed, and she would certainly have found out after Sonja is sentenced to death for treason.
Sonja never got to meet her mother, as Ilona died giving birth to her. She does not mention her in the film, but according to the novelization of Rise of the Lycans, Sonja cherished the memory of her mother, keeping many heirlooms that belonged to Ilona and training with the Death Dealers as a way to connect with Ilona. She this would indicate that Sonja loved and respected her mother and sought to emulate her.
In the non-canon Blood Enemy, Sonja and her mother do know each other (as Ilona did not die in childbirth) and appear to be close. Sonja is devastated by her mother's death, particularly as she was decapitated right in front of her. Sonja immediately avenges her murder by grabbing the man responsible and hurling him into a wall, cracking his skull.
Powers & Abilities
Vampire Physiology: As with all Vampires, Sonja displays superhuman abilities. It is likely that her powers are greater than those of other Vampires her age due to her being a pureblood and the daughter of an Elder.
- Superhuman Strength: She exhibits incredible strength, which she uses to overpower other Immortals. She is able to push Viktor backwards, and force Tanis against a wall. She is also able to slash Werewolves in half with one swing of her sword.
- Superhuman Endurance: Sonja can take a fair amount of damage and recover rather quickly.
- Superhuman Healing: Sonja's wounds can heal at superhuman rates.
- Superhuman Speed: Sonja is able to move with tremendous speed, and can kill other Immortals before they even realize they've been attacked.
- Superhuman Agility: Sonja is able to jump high into the air, and is shown backflipping over the heads of her enemies.
- Immortality: Being a Pure-Blood Vampire, Sonja was immune to aging and disease, and her life had lasted hundreds of years, having been 192 years old at the time of her death.
- Weapons Mastery: She is skilled with many types of medieval weapons, such as crossbows and swords, her skill with the latter being great enough to outmatch multiple Death Dealers and even her father in a sword fight. The sword she typically uses also has a spring-loaded mechanism in its crossguard, that she can use to launch shurikens by swinging her blade. Though she was not shown to be stronger than her father, she bested him in swordplay due to her experience.
- Early production stills show Sonja with yellowish/greenish eyes in Vampire transformation. However, in the final film, her Vampire eyes are always blue.
- Sonja's name is both the Scandinavian and Russian variant of "Sophia", from the Ancient Greek σοφία (Sophia), meaning "wisdom".
- Like Selene and Amelia, Sonja's great physical beauty has been noted upon in the novelizations, as all have such been compared to "Greek Goddesses".
- According to promotional material attached to the film, Sonja was two years younger than Lucian, who was just short of being 200 years old during the main events of the film, whereas the novelization puts her age at 208 years old, which would make her 7 years younger than Lucian.
- According to the Rise of the Lycans novelization, along with other keepsakes, Sonja was given the pendent under the impression that it had once belonged to her mother.
- In Rise of the Lycans, Sonja rode a female warhorse named "Hecate", after the Grecian goddess, Hecate. In Blood Enemy, her horse was named "Clio", after Clio, the muse of history.
- According to director Len Wiseman, the difference in Sonja's hair colour between movies occurred because he waited too long to hire an actress for the part in the original Underworld and then couldn't find a brunette one. Model Jázmin Dammak was asked to dye her hair darker for the part but refused to do so unless she was paid more, which the film's small budget could not allow. Wiseman could not even afford a natural-looking wig, so the matter was dropped, and Dammak did the scene as a blonde. Wiseman stated that he was amazed at the number of people who noticed the difference in Sonja's hair and eye colour between the two movies.
- Rise of the Lycans director Patrick Tatopoulos stated that Sonja is based directly on Selene. This is obviously proven true, as both Selene and Sonja have similar appearances and personality traits. They both also wear very similar clothing, and actress Rhona Mitra has stated that her outfit was based on Selene's in the first two films.
- In the Rise of the Lycan commentary, the filmmakers expressed a hope that one day, a special edition of the first film could be released in which the new Sonja's death scene will be edited in.
- After Lucian's death, Selene finds Sonja's pendant, and her Lycan-Vampire Hybrid lover, Michael Corvin, wears it to symbolize that he and Selene are the modern-day Lucian and Sonja.
- Sonja was presumably in her first trimester of pregnancy (up to 12 weeks pregnant) at the time of her death, as she was not yet visibly pregnant.
- In the novelisation of Underworld, Lucian's last thoughts are of Sonja, with him drawing comfort from his belief they'll be reunited in the afterlife: "The hour has come, My Love... You need to wait for me no-longer. We'll be together again."
|Lucian - Sonja - Viktor - Raze - Andreas Tanis|
|Soren - Sabas - Orsova - Coloman - Kosta - Luka - Xristo - Sandor - Ivan - Ilona - Casmir Janosh - Covasha family - Malvina - Ulrik - Lucian's Mother|
|Weaponry of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - Silver - Shurikens - Swords - Crossbow - Knives - Whips|
|Vampire - Lycan - Immortal - Human - Werewolf|
|Castle Corvinus - Elders' Ship|
|Corvinus Strain - Vampire Council - Death Dealer - Vampire Elder - The Chain - Blood Memories - Budapest Coven - Moon Collar - Vampire-Lycan War - Vampire-Werewolf War|
|Items - Soundtrack - Score - Novel - Comic - Quotes - Videos - Images|
|Selene - Lucian - Sonja - Viktor - Kraven - Nicolae - Soren - Leyba - Brother Ambrose - Grushenka - Ilona - Leonid Florescu - Marcus Corvinus - Yoshio - Diego|
|Vampire - Lycan - Immortal - Human|
|Silver Mine - Castle Corvinus - Crypts - Strasba - Keep - Ördögház - Budapest|
|Death Dealer - Vampire Elder - Budapest Coven - Blood Memories|