Imagine, if you will, an artist bold enough to take on a new version of Rod Serling’s signature creation, The Twilight Zone. Others have certainly tried in the decades since Serling’s 1975 death. Steven Spielberg oversaw a notorious feature film version in 1983, followed two years later by a TV revival that ran for three seasons and enlisted such writers and directors as Wes Craven, John Milius and George R.R. Martin. Another reboot premiered on the now-defunct UPN network in 2002, but despite featuring Forest Whitaker in Serling’s old emcee spot, it ran for only a single year.
On April 1, Jordan Peele becomes the latest creator to enter the Zone. The Get Out mastermind is executive-producing and hosting CBS All Access‘s latest original series and shared a glimpse of his vision in an appropriately eerie teaser trailer that dropped last week.
Here’s everything we know about Peele’s Twilight Zone so far.
This ‘Zone’ is packed with stars
Made in the Golden Age of Television, Serling’s Twilight Zone was a platform for rising stars and industry veterans: Buster Keaton, Burgess Meredith, Burt Reynolds and Cloris Leachman were just some of the famous faces and soon-to-be-famous faces that made memorable appearances on the series. Peele is using his pull in Hollywood to attract a similar mix of big names and emerging talent. Adam Scott, John Cho, Allison Tolman, DeWanda Wise, Ginnifer Goodwin and Greg Kinnear were among the first actors who were announced as appearing in one of the first season’s 10 episodes. And more stars are being revealed as the Apr. 1 premiere date draws nearer: Chris O’Dowd and Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz are among the newly announced recruits. We can only hope that Peele’s old pal Keegan-Michael Key has booked a top-secret cameo too.
Your favorite comedians will get to show their serious side
Speaking of Key & Peele, that Comedy Central classic defined Peele as a formidable comic talent — and then Get Out redefined him as a master of suspense. He’s about to give other funny guys and gals the chance to make a similar transformation. Kumail Nanjiani, Jessica Williams, Tracy Morgan and Ike Barinholtz are going to be showing off their spooky side. And we swear this isn’t a joke: Sausage Party funnyman Seth Rogen has booked a starring role in an episode penned by Rick and Morty scribe, Alex Rubens.
A new ‘Nightmare’ is coming
While details about individual episodes are sparse, at least one of them will be an updated version of a stone-cold Twilight Zone classic. Originally airing on Oct. 11, 1963, the Richard Matheson-penned, Richard Donner-directed “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” became an instant touchstone for generations of aviophobics. William Shatner starred in the episode as a nervous passenger who becomes increasingly convinced his airplane is about to be the victim of a gremlin-caused crash landing. “Nightmare” made such a lasting impression, it was remade by George Miller for Twilight Zone: The Movie with John Lithgow in the Shatner role. Now, Big Little Lies star Adam Scott has booked his ticket for “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet,” turning the terror up by 10,000 feet.
There may be more than one remake
Sanaa Lathan will be headlining an episode called “Rewind,” which — maybe coincidentally, maybe not — is the title of a story from the UPN series. That earlier version was written by James Crocker and featured American Pie‘s Eddie Kaye Thomas as a gambler who has the power to turn back time courtesy of a tape recorder. Based on the trailer, it looks like Lathan’s version will involve a similarly retro time-travel device … but with much bigger stakes.
Look for clues in the titles
Besides “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” and “Rewind,” some of the episode titles that have leaked out so far include “The Wunderkind,” “The Traveler” and “Point of Origin.” So what do these names imply? We’re guessing that “The Traveler” refers to either stars Kinnear or Steven Yeun and involves a journey of some kind. Meanwhile, the presence of child actor Jacob Tremblay in “The Wunderkind” implies that the Wonder star is playing a prodigiously talented youngster — something that’s confirmed by the teaser, which shows Tremblay possibly being elected to higher office. But there are certainly more surprises in store. We know how much thought Peele puts into his titles; there’s a good reason his latest film is called Us, after all.
The Twilight Zone premieres April 1 on CBS All Access.
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