Rafe Spall and Eleanor Tomlinson star in the new trailer for The War of the Worlds, a three-episode BBC miniseries based on the classic science fiction tale by H.G. Wells. Unlike other adaptations, such as Steven Spielberg's 2005 film or the upcoming modern-set TV adaptation, BBC's War of the Worlds is a period drama, set a few years later than Wells' book, in Edwardian England.
The story of War of the Worlds has been adapted so many times that most are probably familiar with the premise. Earth is invaded by aliens from Mars, who crash-land on the planet and then assemble enormous three-legged war machines to do battle with the native humans. Wells' story is told from the perspective of a protagonist living in Surrey, England, who fights to stay alive as chaos and war break out around him and the Martians begin to massacre the Earth's population so that they can take the planet for their own.
BBC One's The War of the Worlds was adapted for TV by Peter Harness (Doctor Who) and directed by Craig Viveiros (Silent Witness), with Spall and Tomlinson playing a young couple called George and Amy. Just as they are trying to plan out their lives together, the Martians arrive on Earth and they are forced to try and survive as Britain's armed forces attempt to hold off the invasion.
This particular adaptation of The War of the Worlds has had a long road to the screen, having been originally put into development back in 2015. The reason for the wait (and the reason that there's more than one War of the Worlds TV adaptation on the cards) is that Wells' works didn't pass into the public domain until 2017, at which point The War of the Worlds and other stories became copyright-free and ready for anyone to adapt.
The War of the Worlds also stars Rupert Graves (Sherlock) as George's older brother, Frederick, and Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) as the astronomer Ogilvy, who played a key role in the original story. Both can be seen in the above trailer, which promises plenty of action and human drama as the humans go to war with the Martians in the hope of protecting their planet. Of course, as anyone familiar with the story will know, the Martians' Achilles heel proves to be something a lot smaller than a gun.
The War of the Worlds doesn't have an official release date yet, but is expected to premiere late in 2019.