Debuting as one of Peacock TV’s new original series comes a reimagining of Aldous Huxley’s groundbreaking novel. The cast and creator David Wiener (Homecoming, The Killing) got together for a Brave New World panel this year for Comic-Con at Home hot off their season one release on July 15th. Featured cast members include Alden Ehrenreich, Jessica Brown Findlay, Harry Lloyd, Hannah John-Kamen, Nina Sosanya, Kyllie Bunbury, and Joseph Morgan.
Published in 1932, many of the themes of Huxley’s novel are still relevant today. Wiener called Huxley prescient in the panels, saying, “[Huxley] could really see the future and was concerned about how humans would use technology to prevent themselves from being uncomfortable, and he worried that that tendency would cause people to be so stimulated, so sexually sated, so pharmacologically numb, that they would stop existing in the now. They wouldn’t look inside themselves in an uncomfortable way, and they wouldn’t look outside themselves and consider history in an uncomfortable way or the systems and hierarchies around them.”
He continued, “And I think you could argue that now it’s probably more important than ever for people to be able to do that. Huxley was, I guess, to some extent right about us. Because we have a lot of technological ways to keep ourselves from confronting ideas that don’t align with ours, and we’re pretty good at entertaining ourselves. So, I think it’s one of those really, really rare books that becomes more resonant and relevant as time goes on and now’s quite a moment to have a show on the air.”
Although Huxley’s novel has gained international renown and tops “must-read” and “greatest novel” lists all the time, it is probably a story that is more often referenced than truly read. This is evidenced in the panel where many of the cast had heard of the concept of the novel, but only Wiener had studied it in high school.
“I preferred the scripts,” Joseph Morgan confessed with a laugh. “I’ll be honest with you, as controversial as it may sound. [B]ecause I thought they were more accessible, although the book was great and obviously was this imagining of a world which we’d never seen before. The scripts were the gateway to the book for me so they grabbed me more.”
And while the series has been well received by audiences, some have criticized it for being a shallow adaptation. But in regards to adapting based on an existing property, Alden Ehrenreich had some thoughts about being too devoted to the source. “The feelings that you can convey through literature, you can’t just then show those events and expect those same feelings to be communicated. So I think, what was really wonderful is David and the writers doing what I think is the most important thing, which is finding the essence, or finding the emotional experience of the source material, and finding a way to get those feelings across.”
The panel also discussed the adaptation of characters, some who are from the book and some who are original creations. Characters like Bernard Marx (Harry Lloyd), John the Savage (Alden Ehrenreich), Lenina Crowne (Jessica Brown Findlay), Henry Foster (Sen Mitsuji) are much closer in concept to their book counterparts. Though the adaptation diverges with the introduction of hypothetical technologies. John’s arrival into society acts as a revolutionary and dissonant voice to a controlling system.
Others like Mustapha Mond (Nina Sosanya) and Helmholtz Watson are gender-swapped, with Helmholtz renamed as Wilhelmina “Helm” Watson (Hannah John-Kamen). Fanny renamed Frannie Crowne (Kylie Bunbury) diverges more as the character becomes a spyglass into Lenina’s personal friendships. And as a totally original creation, CJack60 (Joseph Morgan) represents the repressed and essentially enslaved class of citizens who are cleaners and manual laborers.
The panel offers a spoiler-free dive into this new series and is great for those interested in starting the show but want to keep the surprises for the series alone!
Catch all of season one of Brave New World streaming now on Peacock TV!
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