Amazon Prime Video launched over a decade ago, but it didn’t start making waves in the streaming wars until recently. Their first instance of original content arrived back in 2013, with two exclusive web-series, Betas and Alpha House. Six years later, the streaming service is booming. Expensive original content and a ginormous catalog of movies and television shows make up the profitable service. They’ve recently announced another upcoming addition to their repertoire with the fantasy series Carnival Row, presented to the world at SDCC 2019. Well, an official trailer for Carnival Row finally dropped, and we’re starting to get excited. Despite the still-upcoming release status, this is a series that’s been in the works for quite some time. So, let’s explore the history leading up to Carnival Row, and then talk about its new trailer.
Leading Up To Carnival Row
The creator, Travis Beacham, gave plenty of insight into the development of Carnival Row at SDCC. The most impressive piece of information is that he first wrote the script way back in film school, 17 years ago. The script was originally for a film, not a series. However, when it sold to Legendary Entertainment around 2015, the company decided that it would do better in an episodic format. Though this was different than Beacham imagined, it meant that there’d be more time to properly develop his characters and give the backstory that he knows they deserve.
In early 2015, Amazon officially announced development of the series. Originally, it was Guillermo del Toro, a now Oscar-winning director, attached as a co-writer, executive producer, and director. Beacham, del Toro, and Rene Echeverria worked on writing the script together. That creative team, including del Toro and Beacham, earned a pilot order in a year later. Then, in 2017, production began. But by this time, del Toro stepped away from the project. Paul McGuigan stepped in to fill his large shoes. A difficult task, since McGuigan wound up replaced by Jon Amiel. Series leads Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne joined the cast shortly after and filming began. By early 2018, filming was complete and this fantasy show became a reality.
What We Know From The Carnival Row Trailer
The trailer immediately introduces protagonist Philo, played by Bloom. He lives in a city inhabited by faeries and other magical creatures. They all live alongside one another “in relative peace”. Eventually, war breaks out, and Philo meets and falls in love with Vignette, played by Delevingne. Though, Delevigne is a faerie, and thus subject to discrimination and capture. Destined to change the way things have become, Bloom sets out to make things right, and restore peace to his world.
Based on the trailer for Carnival Row, we can tell that it’ll be visually beautiful and emotionally captivating. It seems to be both a tragic tale of love, and a war story all at once. Playing with fantasy themes gives plenty of liberty to tell stories about oppression. Many faerie tales go the way of peace and beauty, but we’re seeing something akin to the original Brothers Grimm tales with this creation. Think Game of Thrones, but with better technology and set in Narnia.
High Hopes For The Series
Carnival Row represents a huge gamble for one of the streaming wars’ original contenders, but the one lagging furthest behind in original content output. The budget for this show isn’t public, but Beacham joked at Comic-Con they had “all the money.” He told Deadline this week that the reshoots undertaken for the series “were a gift” from the streaming giant. Amazon Prime plans to lean heavily into fantasy, spending reportedly $250 million for their multi-season Lord of the Rings adaptation. This comes as numerous other original Amazon productions are on hold or shelved indefinitely.
While we trust Amiel’s directing, especially after watching the trailer, I’d still like to imagine what beautiful creations del Toro could have made with the concept. We’ll be seeing del Toro in August, too, with his upcoming film, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. So, no matter how Carnival Row‘s production gives us, we can rest happy knowing that plenty of fantasy tales are coming. For now, we’ll be patiently waiting for Carnival Row to release on Amazon Prime Video on August 30th.
Featured image via Amazon.
Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.