YouTube continues its foray into the scripted television world with its new science fiction thriller, Origin. Origin is a 10-episode series about a group of people who find themselves abandoned on a spaceship that is headed toward a distant planet. These people, who are fleeing from their past and looking for a new future on a distant planet, must work together to survive. Unfortunately for them, one of their members is not who they claim to be.
Members of the cast and crew enthusiastically greeted members of press during roundtable interviews at San Diego Comic-Con where they discussed the series. Origin was created by Mika Watkins, who also wrote and executive produced the series. Watkins told the roundtable that she wanted to write a horror story in space because she felt there is something naturally scary about the vast unknown of space. She also said that she wanted an international cast since it would represent that the spaceship is a global effort. A review of the cast shows that they are a truly international cast with familiar faces from fantasy and science fiction.
- Tom Felton (Harry Potter Franchise) – Logan
- Natalia Tena (Harry Potter Franchise) – Lana
- Sen Mitsuji (International Model)
- Nora Arnezeder (Mozart in the Jungle) – Rey
- Fraser James (Resident Evil-The Final Chapter) – Henri
- Nina Wadia (Bend It like Beckham) – Venisha
- Wil Coban (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) – Max Taylor
- Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Atomic Blonde) – Eric Carlson
- Madalyn Horcher (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back)
- Philip Christopher – Baum Arndt
Along with Mika Watkins at the table was Paul W.S. Anderson, the director. He talked about how he was delighted to have YouTube as the platform for this series as it is the most popular medium used by his children. He explained that with the freedom he had in making the series, he was able to “put on his moving making hat.” He felt that YouTube Premium did not apply any more restrictions than if he was making a full-length film.
In the current age of television and streaming services, viewers are reluctant about committing to a new series if they do not have faith that the series showrunners have an endgame in mind. Or at a minimum, the showrunners have mapped out the series for more than one or two seasons. Watkins told the roundtable that when she had pitched the series to YouTube she had mapped out four seasons comprising approximately ten episodes each. She explained that she needed to know where the series is going if she is to help the actors in their character development.
Nora Arnezeder, who plays the character of Rey, talked about what drew her to the series. She gave us examples of how the story mirrored her own life. She talked about how filming it in France reminded her of her childhood home. She felt very close to her character.
Fraser James who plays the part of Henri on the series worked with Paul Anderson on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. James was drawn to the series because he truly loves science fiction. He did let slip a major reveal but fans will have to watch the series to find out what he revealed.
Natalia Tena, Fraser James, and Nora Arnezeder all mentioned that they liked the fact that the series allowed for the full development of all the characters and that historically marginalized characters (women and minorities) are at the forefront of the story. Tena talked about how it helped to draw her to the story. All of the actors had nothing but compliments for Watkin’s writing of their characters.
All of the actors were excited by the fact that the production company used very few visual effects and instead built an extensive and, more importantly, realistic set. This helped the actors believe they were on a spaceship where they had to work together to live through their ordeal.
Origin promises to be a great science fiction thriller. If the trailer is any indication, fans will find Origin to be a thrilling ride for several seasons into the future. Both the cast and crew are exceptional with a wonderful fantasy and science fiction pedigree. It will be worth your time to watch it.
Here is the teaser trailer for the series: