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‘The Underground Railroad’: Everything You Need to Know About Barry Jenkins’ Amazon Series

The "Moonlight" director's first television series will premiere on Amazon Prime Video.

"The Underground Railroad"

“The Underground Railroad”


The years-long wait for “The Underground Railroad,” the first television series from acclaimed filmmaker Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) isn’t quite over, but new details are beginning to emerge about the highly-anticipated project.

“The Underground Railroad,” which is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video, is an adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Whitehead’s novel took place in an alternate history where the 19th century Underground Railroad was a literal railroad that American slaves used to flee the South and find freedom.

Amazon’s synopsis for Jenkins’ adaptation reads:

“The limited series chronicles young Cora’s (Thuso Mbedu) journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.”

Mbedu (“Is’thunzi”) stars in the series alongside Chase W. Dillon (“Little America”), Aaron Pierre (“Krypton)”, and Joel Edgerton.

There’s still no firm release date for “The Underground Railroad,” but production on the long-awaited series finally wrapped in September. Production on the series was a 116-day endeavor and was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic; there were only three days of production left on the show before the pandemic forced production to halt in Georgia. Jenkins, who directed every episode of the show, told IndieWire in an April interview that working on the series made for one of the greatest challenges of his career.

Though few details about the show were released in the years following the show’s announcement in 2016, Jenkins has begun teasing snippets of the project over the last few months. Jenkins unveiled a handful of first look photos in September, which boasted visually impressive backdrops and costumes, as well as a first listen of Nicholas Britell’s original score in October.

Jenkins shared the latest teaser for the show on his birthday, November 19. The director tweeted a link to a new video of the show and, though the teaser lacks new plot details, it more than makes up for what’s missing with all manner of powerful imagery and music.

“Appreciate the birthday well-wishes, I’ve been more fortunate than anyone deserves,” Jenkins said on Twitter. “Feels like a moment to share a bit — in the words of Sojourner Truth, to ‘speak upon the ashes.’ Much love.”

The latest teaser for “The Underground Railroad” can be viewed below. This story will be updated as more information is released.

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