Station Eleven first look glimpses the world before and after a devastating flu pandemic
In Patrick Somerville's Station Eleven miniseries, the global pandemic starts quietly. A rumor here, a whisper from a doctor in an inundated emergency room there. One person panic-buys a half-dozen carts full of groceries and barricades their apartment, another person isn't quite sure what this new flu is. The situation escalates quickly and devastatingly, and the world begins to go dark.
EW is exclusively debuting the first teaser for the new show, which offers a glimpse into the destruction of society and the ways in which the flu's survivors begin to rebuild.
Launching Dec. 16 on HBO Max, Station Eleven is an adaptation of Emily St. John Mandel's best-selling 2014 novel, which was a finalist for both the National Book and PEN/Faulkner awards, in addition to being EW's pick for Best Book of the Year. The literary version — which include Atlanta director/executive producer Hiro Murai as one of the directors and EPs — opens with a staging of King Lear, during which the famous actor Arthur Leander drops dead of what is believed to be a heart attack; he's later understood as one of the early victims of the flu. The constellation of characters branch out from there, as Mandel flashes between life before, during, and after the pandemic's onslaught: There's Kirsten, the child actor working on Lear; Jeevan, a struggling journalist in the play's audience; Miranda, Arthur's ex-wife who in her spare time creates the space-themed comic book that the novel is named after; and the many members of the Traveling Symphony, a Shakespearean troupe that forms after the collapse of society.
The teaser opens on Jeevan, played by Himesh Patel, and the young Kirsten (Matilda Lawler) as they gather supplies for the pending apocalypse. The elder Kirsten is played by Mackenzie Davis, with Danielle Deadwyler as Miranda and Gael Garcia Bernal as Arthur. Fans of the book will recognize a good portion of the voice-over from the pages of the fictional Station Eleven comic, a talisman of sorts that travels through the tale's different timelines.
Though the teaser looks chillingly familiar 18 months into a real-life pandemic, the series began filming before COVID-19 turned the world upside-down, underscoring the story's eerie prescience.
"There is no before," the narrator says in the teaser. "Only now."
Watch the Station Eleven teaser above, and check out three first-look photos below.
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