The Underground Railroad release date, cast, trailer, synopsis, and more

The Underground Railroad horizontal teaser art - Courtesy of Amazon Studios
The Underground Railroad horizontal teaser art - Courtesy of Amazon Studios /

The Underground Railroad is Amazon’s series based on the Colson Whitehead novel of the same name. Here’s what we know about the series so far.

Can you believe it’s been four years since Amazon officially gave The Underground Railroad a script-to-series order? It took a year from that point to get the official greenlight on the series, and then took years to film.

Good things come to those who wait, though. This historical fiction series, based on Whitehead’s novel of the same name, is finally on its way. We also have a teaser trailer of what to expect, with the hope of a full trailer coming soon.

This is set to be a limited series with 11 episodes. It will cover the novel with no plans to extend the story past that. Of course, we know limited series can be renewed, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for any changes to those plans.

Here’s what we know about The Underground Railroad so far, with updates as they happen.

The Underground Railroad release date

There is still a little bit longer to wait for the series. The alternate history series is arriving on Friday, May 14, 2021. At least it’s this year, and it is something to look forward to in 2021.

The Underground Railroad cast

Barry Jenkins has adapted the novel and directed all 11 episodes of the series. Thuso Mbedu will play Cora Randall, who is the main focus of the story. As an escaped slave, she heads for the underground railroad, surprised to find out that it is a real railroad and not a figurative one.

However, she’s followed by those who want to recapture her. One of those views this as personal as Cora’s mother has been the only slave to escape his hands.

The rest of the main cast are:

  • Chase W. Dillon as Homer
  • Aaron Pierre as Caesar
  • Joel Edgerton as Ridgeway

The following have recurring roles:

  • Justice Leak as James Randall
  • Damon Herriman as Martin
  • William Jackson Harper as Royal
  • Amber Gray as Gloria Valentine
  • Jim Klock as Tom Hardman
  • Lily Rabe as Ethel Wells
  • Lucius Baston as Prideful
  • Fred Hechinger as Young Ridgeway
  • Owen Harn as Chandler

The Underground Railroad trailer

You can check out the teaser trailer for the new series. It certainly sets the tone of the story:

Update (April 15): The full trailer for The Underground Railroad is now available. You’ll certainly want to check out the beautiful cinematography within it. It also gives more of an idea of the story without giving anything away.

The Underground Railroad synopsis

Set in an alternate timeline, Cora escapes her master’s land and makes her way to the Underground Railroad. She realizes that this is a real network of underground tunnels and railways full of conductors and engineers to help the runaway slaves escape north.

Cora and newcomer Caesar attempt to ride the subterranean train to claim their freedom. Of course, there are people out there who don’t want them to achieve that.

Here is the official synopsis from Amazon:

"The Underground Railroad chronicles Cora Randall’s (newcomer Thuso Mbedu) desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Over the course of her journey, Cora is pursued by Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), a bounty hunter who is fixated on bringing her back to the plantation she escaped; especially since her mother Mabel is the only one he has never caught. As she travels from state to state, Cora contends with the legacy of the mother that left her behind and her own struggles to realize a life she never thought was possible."

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The Underground Railroad is coming to Amazon Prime Video on May 14, 2021.