Amazon's Comic Book Conspiracy Thriller 'Utopia' Debuts First Trailer

The cast and showrunner Gillian Flynn debuted their series in a virtual Comic-Con@Home panel Thursday.
Elizabeth Morris/Amazon Prime Video

The first trailer for Amazon's Utopia, which debuted in the series' Comic-Con@Home panel  Thursday afternoon, reveals that the meta series — about a group of comic book nerds who inadvertently discover that their favorite graphic novel might be real — is even more prescient than a self-referential series debuting on a Comic-Con panel already would've been.

Ian (Dan Byrd), Becky (Ashleigh LaThrop), Samantha (Jessica Rothe), Wilson Wilson (Desmin Borges) and Grant (Javon "Wanna" Walton) obsess over hidden meanings in their cult-favorite comic, uncovering threats to humanity that are actually real — including a viral pandemic. Also real: the main character, Jessica Hyde (Sasha Lane). Together, they team up to fight a vast government conspiracy and save the world. The series also stars John Cusack as a philanthropic billionaire, Dr. Kevin Christie; Rainn Wilson as scientist Dr. Michael Stearns; Farrah Mackenzie as Alice; Christopher Denham as Arby; and Cory Michael Smith as Thomas Christie.

"Even though I started this project almost seven years ago now … it never feels more resonant than now," said Flynn, who said she was inspired by '70s paranoia thrillers that came out in the wake of Watergate more than anything else, where "no one trusted anyone and there was a breakdown in what society, governments, the world was feeling. I wanted that paranoia to feel very real and to be able to access that through each different character. I would say each character has a different attitude toward this conspiracy, whether it is really a conspiracy at all, as we as we can often argue with our own relatives."

While the plot specifics are still under wraps (the cast promises the series is both tense and darkly funny, and filled with fun hints and Easter eggs), star Byrd teased that he and his castmates on the Chicago-set (and Chicago-filmed) series "all perfected our reactions of 'just having figured out something.'"

Teased Flynn, the series is "dark, chilling, resonant, frightening, charming and occasionally touches the heart." Added Cusack, "I can probably honestly say you've never seen anything like it before."

Amazon ordered Utopia straight to series in 2018 after Flynn inked an overall with the streamer. The eight-episode drama is based on Dennis Kelly's British show of the same name, and takes plenty of visual cues from the two-season series. Utopia will premiere this fall on Amazon Prime Video.