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Lovecraft Country, showrunner Misha Green's HBO adaptation of Matt Ruff's novel, has already been rattling some especially pertinent doors through its first few glimpses of footage. The series, a monster- and metaphor-filled trip through the '50s Jim Crow south, is going to be especially relevant due to both current events and the bevy of pop culture flexing the same allegorical muscles (like HBO's Watchmen or Jordan Peele's Get Out). On Saturday, during its Comic-Con@Home panel, the show took fans behind-the-scenes on the way from page to screen.
The show deals with a man (Jonathan Majors), his friend (Jurnee Smollett), and his uncle (Courtney B. Vance) as they search for the former's missing father (Michael K. Williams). Obviously the "Lovecraft" part of the title makes this even harder than white America already would have. Smollett, Majors, Williams, and Vance sat down with cast members Aunjanue Ellis, Wunmi Mosaku, and Abbey Lee to talk all things Lovecraft Country — and left fans with a detailed clip of some intense supernatural lore.
You can watch the full panel below... if you dare:
The sneak peek, which aired at the end of the panel, showcased Williams, Majors, and Smollett investigating a very suspect statue. Surrounded by stone gators and inscribed by mysterious writings, it's no wonder that Williams' character warns the group to turn off their flashlights — even if, no especially, if there's a secret door hidden there. The moonlight beam goes full Indiana Jones, lighting a location a la Raiders of the Lost Ark. They even go down a long and spooky rope. Thankfully, no snakes at the bottom. But the words they find are maybe even worse: "Beware all ye who tread the path. Ever the tide shall rise." Yikes.
The rest of the panel mostly featured the cast giving context for the series. Smollett described the show as "a family drama" about "who we were as a nation, who we are now, who we were in Jim Crow America in 1955." Vance added that it's also about how "the themes of what happened back then are still going on today." Part of that is structural racism in a police force, Smollett said, and on a more meta level, the rarity of a genre project that focuses on a full Black cast — especially one that involves a family.
"I think I read it twice, back to back, when I first got [the script]," Majors said, "because I was amazed how well it was written. You know I was like 'And he's a Black guy? Alex is Black? That's the guy? The guy we're following?"
On top of all that, Lee teased some ominous plot points for later in the show, saying that her character is a "leader of a secret order called the Sons of Adam" and "the white antagonist." Blending "white privilege" with a need for a woman to liberate herself during the '50s, she's a complicated "Karen" type. Worse than Cthulhu for sure.
Lovecraft Country hits HBO on Aug. 16.
Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2020.