On Monday, the BBC dropped a trailer for its ambitious adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel, The War of the Worlds. The book was first published in Pearson’s Magazine in 1897.
The series, like the novel, is set in Edwardian England. It will be told in three parts. Although the English county of Surrey during the 20th century might seem like an unlikely backdrop for an alien invasion, Wells’ story defined the science-fiction genre.
The television adaption will star Rafe Spall (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark), Rupert Graves (Sherlock) and Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty). These actors will all portray humans who must resist the urge to panic when a meteor carrying hostile aliens lands in the English countryside. Spall’s character, George, has recently fled a failing marriage with the hope of beginning anew with his love Amy (Tomlinson) in spite of societal disapproval. Meanwhile, Graves portrays George’s brother, an astronomer. Craig Viveiros is the director.
This production is not the only television adaptation of The War of the Worlds. There is one other from Studio Canal-backed Urban Myth Films and Fox Networks Group Europe & Africa and AGC Television that spans eight episodes. This version departed from the origin material and is set in present-day Europe. It stars Gabriel Byrne (Hereditary), Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey), Léa Drucker, Natasha Little, Daisy Edgar Jones, Stéphane Caillard, Adel Bencherif, and Guillaume Gouix.
In addition to the other television adaptation, Wells’ story was famously adapted for radio. The radio show, broadcasted by Orson Welles radio, led to a historic misunderstanding when American listeners actually believed that they were under attack from Martians. It has also been adapted for film multiple times, once by George Pal in 1953 and again by Steven Spielberg in 2005.
The War of the Worlds will air on BBC One in the fall. But viewers from abroad do not have to worry about having access to the show. ITV Studios has sold The War of the Worlds to many major countries within Europe and in African territories.
Watch the trailer below.