Barry Jenkins has unveiled another The Underground Railroad teaser, and like the two teasers released before this, it’s gorgeous, haunting, and affirms that this is going to be the very definition of must-see TV. The series is set in an alternate history where the Underground Railroad was a real, physical secret railroad, with actual tracks and tunnels tucked away underground. Watch the latest teaser, subtitled Speak Upon the Ashes, below.
The Underground Railroad Teaser
Man oh man do these Underground Railroad teasers do a great job. So far none of them have been heavy on plot, or even specific details. They’re mostly mood pieces, featuring various cast members of the show gazing into a camera that pushes in on them, all scored to Nicholas Britell‘s gorgeous music. Sometimes, vagueness like this can be maddening. But here, it works, and it works well. It’s impossible not to become entranced by the footage here – it’s beautiful and haunting, and makes you want more. For reference, here are the previous two teasers.
The subtitle for this latest teaser – Speak Upon the Ashes – is taken from a quote by Sojourner Truth. Truth, a Black woman who escaped slavery and became an abolitionist, was set to deliver a speech at a townhouse in 1861 in Angola, Indiana. When whites threatened to burn the townhouse down rather than let her speak there, Truth said, “Then I will speak upon the ashes.”
In The Underground Railroad, “Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape.”
And in the universe this show exists in, the Underground Railroad is “no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a network of tracks and tunnels constructed in secret beneath the very Southern soil upon which they’ve been enslaved. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, a relentless slave catcher of mythic origin, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state-by-state, seeking true freedom in a heroine’s journey carved through the soil and soul of America.”
The series is based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, and comes from Barry Jenkins, who directed all 10 episodes. There’s no premiere date yet.
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