The new trailer for Hulu’s original adaptation of Stephen King’s 11.22.63 has everything an early ’60s buff could need – fedoras, James Franco in a Mad Men-era suit, romance, a pink Cadillac (or something close to it) and, for some reason perhaps known to the readers of King’s novel, a bunch of roaches. The trailer, released during Hulu’s TCA panel presentation today, lays out the series’ premise pretty efficiently: Franco’s Jake Epping, a high school teacher, goes back in time via a rabbit-hole closet (with the assistance of Chris Cooper’s Back to the Future-esque mad scientist) in order to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Series premieres on Presidents Day, Feb. 15, and costars Daniel Webber, Sarah Gadon, Josh Duhamel, Cherry Jones, among others. Exec producers are J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk. Check it out above.
Meanwhile, it was revealed during the panel that, much like the source material, the way the series came together really depended on circumstances that could easily have gone either way. Abrams and Franco detailed the history of the show, revealing that Franco himself tried to option the King novel after reading it, only to discover that The Force Awakens director had got there first. It turns out that Abrams and King had become friends during the Lost Era and King asked Abrams personally if he’d like to be involved in bringing the novel to television.
Franco ended up getting his role after writing a piece on the novel for Vice, which Abrams read and liked enough to bring him onboard to star. Probably for the best that time travel doesn’t exist, but if it did, perhaps there’s another timeline in which Franco is executive producer and Abrams is starring in the series.
As for Abrams, after the session was over he was asked about the current controversy stemming from Hasbro’s decision not to include Daisy Ridley’s character Rey as a figurine in the Star Wars themed Monopoly playset. Hasbro claimed the decision was made to avoid spoilers in the game, which came out before the film was released. As Abrams told multiple outlets however, he was as surprised as fans were when he learned of the omission.
Admitting his understanding of merchandizing is still small, he said “I will say that it seems preposterous and wrong that the main character of the movie is not well represented in what is clearly a huge piece of the Star Wars world in terms of merchandizing.”