Jenkins directs and showruns the Amazon Original limited series, based on Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

By Rachel Yang
April 15, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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The Underground Railroad
Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Amazon Studios

Newcomer Thuso Mbedu shines in the stirring, intense first trailer for The Underground Railroad, released Thursday. The Amazon Original limited series hails from the Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk) and is based on Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

The Underground Railroad chronicles Cora Randall's (Mbedu) desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.

In her journey, Cora is pursued by Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), a bounty hunter bent on bringing her back to the plantation, especially since her mother Mabel is the only runaway slave he's never caught. As she travels from state to state, Cora contends with the legacy of the mother who left her behind and her own struggles to realize a life she never thought was possible. 

The Underground Railroad
Credit: Amazon Studios

Edgerton, William Jackson Harper (The Good Place), Will Poulter (Midsommar), Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), and more also appear in the trailer. Rounding out the cast are Chase W. Dillon, Aaron Pierre, Sheila Atim, Amber Gray, Peter De Jersey, Chukwudi Iwuji, Damon Herriman, Irone Singleton, Mychal-Bella Bowman, Marcus "MJ" Gladney, Jr., and Peter Mullan.

Jenkins, who serves as showrunner and directs all 10 episodes, released four teasers for the series beginning in October 2020.

Jenkins also executive produces alongside Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt, Richard Heus, Jacqueline Hoyt, and Whitehead. 

Amazon Prime Video will premiere all 10 episodes of the limited series on May 14 in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

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