It’s been a minute since we heard from “Gone Girl” writer Gillian Flynn, though that’s maybe not entirely accurate. She also wrote Steve McQueen’s “Widows,” but that film failed to make a splash in the same way that David Fincher’s movie did. Speaking of Fincher and Flynn, they tried to have another go at collaboration after their successful pulpy relationship thriller. Fincher and Flynn tried to make “Utopia” with Fincher’s muse Rooney Mara in the lead role and it was all set up and ready to go at HBO. That relationship soon fizzled for Fincher, his “Videosyncrazy” show was canceled after shooting several episodes, and then HBO pulled the plug on his expensive version of “Utopia” (not to mention another HBO 1950-set noir show, “Shakedown” with James Ellroy). So, “Utopia” died and that was 2015.
Cut to five years later, “Utopia” is now finally coming to the small screen, Gillian Flynn is still at the center of it, but Fincher and Mara are long gone. Now, “Utopia” is set up at Amazon, but the details and premise remain the same. Created by Dennis Kelly, and based on his 2013 U.K. series of the same name, “Utopia” follows a group of young adults who meet online and are mercilessly hunted by a shadowy deep state organization after they come into possession of a near-mythical cult underground graphic novel. They discover the conspiracy theories in the comic’s pages may actually be real and are forced into the dangerous, unique, and ironic position of saving the world.
The center of the series is the titular comic called Utopia, and Ian (Dan Byrd), Becky (Ashleigh LaThrop), Samantha (Jessica Rothe), and Wilson Wilson (Desmin Borges) are geeks who bonded online by analyzing the first book in this Dystopia series. The group discovers hidden meanings within its pages and soon find themselves pursued by violent assassins attempting to stop anyone from reading the story.
They find much-needed survival help from Jessica Hyde (“America Honey” star Sasha Lane) who happens to be the very protagonist of the comic-book they’re obsessed with. And yes, Jessica is real, hoping to save her missing father and believes “Utopia” the comic, may hold the key.
“Utopia” also includes John Cusack as a billionaire philanthropist who might be connected to a new disease being studied a doctor played by Rainn Wilson.
The addition of Cusack’s “billionaire-as-celebrity” character is one of Flynn’s inventions to make the series appear fresh. “How do I make this new?” Flynn said, recalling conversations she had with herself about the project with EW this week. “I’m a huge fan of all those conspiracy thrillers that came out after Watergate. All of [the British Utopia] plays very sleekly. I wanted mine to play bumpy, dirty, raw, real—like you’re walking on the gum on the sidewalk and smelling the garbage in the alley.”
“Utopia” premieres on Amazon Prime this fall, but following the first look photos EW provided this week, Comic-Con audiences are finally getting the first real taste of the series in the new teaser just released. Watch it below and let us know what you think.