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Those About to Die: First Look & Premiere Date for Anthony Hopkins' New Gladiator Series on Peacock

Hollywood's legendary master of disaster brings his storytelling talents to the bloody Colosseum of Ancient Rome.

By Josh Weiss
Those About To Die Keyart

Director Roland Emmerich — Hollywood's legendary master of disaster behind such blockbusters such as Stargate, Independence DayGodzillaThe Day After Tomorrow10,000 BC2012, and Moonfall — brings his talents to Ancient Rome in the debut teaser for his new gladiator television series, Those About to Die, scheduled to make its debut on Peacock this July.

The first-look footage below, which premiered during WrestleMania Sunday evening, features voiceover from Roman Emperor Vespasian (played by Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins), who states that history has always been defined by humanity's violent tendencies. A rather apt summation of our species, especially since the sword and sandals epic is all about the bloody battles fought within the Colosseum for the enjoyment of the masses. The show's title is derived from the famous Latin phrase (one oft-associated with gladiators about to lay their lives on the line), "Ave, Imperator: Morituri te salutant." If you're not well-versed in dead languages, don't fret, here's the English translation: “Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you."

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"I have always been fascinated by the history of the Roman Empire," Emmerich said in a statement. "So much still seems relevant for our society today — from the entanglement of politics and sports to the disciplines of the competitions, which haven’t changed much either over the last 2000 years. The most electrifying spectacles for the masses still involve two men in an arena, beating each other up, and the chariots of today are called race cars whose drivers still crash and often pay with their lives."

Watch the Teaser Trailer for Roland Emmerich's Those About to Die

What Is Those About to Die About?

Based on Daniel Mannix's non-fiction book of the same name, Those About to Die is "an epic drama set in the corrupt world of the spectacle-driven gladiatorial competition, exploring a side of ancient Rome never before told — the dirty business of entertaining the masses, giving the mob what they want most… blood and sport," reads the official synopsis. "The series introduces an ensemble of characters from all corners of the Roman Empire who collide at the explosive intersection of sports, politics, and dynasties."

Who Stars in Those About to Die?

Those About To Die Keyart

The cast of Those About to Die includes Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Sara Martins (Citadel), Tom Hughes (Infinite), Jojo Macari (Morbius), Moe Hashim (Ted Lasso), Johannes Haukur Johannesson (Vikings: Valhalla), Rupert Penry-Jones (The Batman), Gabriella Pession (Crossing Lines), Dimitri Leonidas (Centurion), Emilio Sakraya (One Night Off), David Wurawa (Project 2030), Pepe Barroso (Gran Turismo), Gonçalo Almeida (Monte Clérigo), Eneko Sagardoy (Irati), and Romana Maggiora Vergano (Cabrini).

When Does Those About to Die Premiere on Peacock?

All ten, 60-minute episodes of Those About to Die will drop onto Peacock Thursday, July 18. 

Emmerich directed Episodes 1-3 as well as Episodes 9-10 — all of which were penned by Robert Rodat (Academy Award-nominated writer of Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan). Marco Kreuzpaintner (Bodies) helmed the rest. Both directors serve as executive producers with Harald Kloser, Gianni Nunnari, Stuart Ford, Lourdes Diaz, Miguel A. Palos Jr., Robert Rodat, Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, Oliver Berben, Jonas Bauer, Charles Holland, and Namit Malhotra. 

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NBCUniversal's streaming platform, Peacock, currently offers two monthly subscription plans: Premium ($5.99 a month with ads) and Premium Plus ($11.99 a month with no ads and download access for certain titles). If you're a student, you can enjoy the Premium plan for just $1.99 for an entire year!

Want more Peacock Originals in the meantime? Be sure to check out The Continental From the World of John WickPitch Perfect: Bumper in BerlinAngelyneDr. DeathKilling ItBel-AirA Friend of the FamilyPoker FaceJoe vs. CaroleMrs. DavisMacGruberHart to HeartBased on a True Story, and so much more!

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