Last month at the virtual San Diego Comic Con, Amazon dropped the first teaser for Utopia, a reboot (adapted by Gone Girl and Sharp Objects author Gillian Flynn) of the controversial 2013-2014 British black comedy/conspiracy thriller. Now the streaming platform has released the official full trailer, and the series looks like it's going to be quite the wild ride.
As we reported previously, the series is about online fans of a dystopian graphic novel called Utopia that seems to have the power to predict the real-world future. The fans are obsessed with tracking down the sequel (which supposedly also predicts future world events). This makes them targets of a secret organization called The Network.
The British version received critical praise for its originality and visual style, offset by strong reservations about its extreme violence, which struck many as unnecessarily gratuitous. (The most famous scene involved a torturer using a spoon to gouge out a victim's eye). It remains to be seen if Amazon's Utopia will match the same scale of violence, although Flynn recently told Deadline Hollywood that it wouldn't be as prominent.
"I'm more 'less is more' as far as violence goes," Flynn said. "I'm the person who loves that moment in Rosemary's Baby where we're only seeing part of the conversation whereas the whole audience is trying to look around the corner to see what's happening, or obviously Jaws. I'm a big believer in that. I don't want it for a cartoon effect or for shock value. I think we as an audience are past most of that as pure shock value. I want to use violence when it's effective and appropriate."
And unlike the sleek, Britpop-influenced tone of the British original, Flynn found inspiration for her take on the series in 1970s conspiracy thrillers like The Parallax View and Marathon Man. "In fact, when I was pitching this, I called it The Goonies meets Marathon Man," she said. "I took this idea of a group of ragtag, unlikely heroes who get caught in this incredibly dark conspiracy."
Per the official premise: "When the conspiracy in the elusive comic Utopia is real, a group of young fans come together to embark on a high-stakes twisted adventure to use what they uncover to save themselves, each other and ultimately humanity." Ian (Dan Byrd, Easy A), Becky (Ashleigh LaThrop, The Handmaid's Tale), Samantha (Jessica Rothe, Happy Death Day), Wilson Wilson (Desmin Borges, You're the Worst) and Grant (Javon "Wanna" Walton, Euphoria) are the conspiracy-minded uber-fans, intent on teasing out the hidden meanings they believe are hidden within the pages of Utopia. When the dangers depicted in the comics begin manifesting in the real world, they decide to take action.