YouTube sci-fi series Origin debuts new trailer and extended clip at NYCC

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Oct 4, 2018, 6:15 PM EDT

YouTube's impressive-looking new sci-fi series Origin debuted a new trailer (see below) and gave fans a glimpse at an extended sequence from the show during its NYCC panel today.

Origin is a sci-fi thriller starring Tom Felton and Natalia Tena (both Harry Potter alumni) and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (the Resident Evil films) involving strangers stranded on a spaceship forced to work together to survive. But of course, one of these passengers isn’t being thoroughly forthcoming about who they are.

The vessel is a massive generation-type ship, traveling at an undefined point in the future with the aim of colonizing a new world for humans. But as we found out today, a small group of passengers wake from hypersleep to find that the rest of the colonists have abandoned the ship, leaving behind only these survivors and — as they soon discover — a monstrous, unknown presence.

The teaser trailer debuted at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, but now a full trailer unspooled to kick off today's panel:

The series, written and created by Mika Watkins, will be co-produced by U.K. company Left Bank Pictures (the company behind Outlander and Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) and Midnight Radio. Watkins will also executive produce.

The panel, moderated by People's Breanne Heldmann, featured Watkins, Felton, Tena, and fellow cast members Sen Mitsuji and Philipp Christopher. Watkins talked about how she conceived the show: "I grew up watching a lot of sci-fi and horror, but I don't like being scared. I like scaring people." 

The cast members across the board praised Watkins' writing and characters, with Felton saying, "I'd never read or seen anything like it." He added that his character, an American named Logan, was a "petty criminal back on Earth who sees a chance at a new life" by getting himself aboard the spaceship.

Tena described her character, Lana, as an American Special Forces operative suffering from PTSD. The character "feels she's done something irredeemable on Earth and wants to go into space to try and redeem herself," according to the actress, who's also logged time on Game of Thrones.

German actor Philipp Christopher said that his character, Baum, was "kind of the outcast antagonist of the bunch and not the nicest fella." Mitsuji described his role, Shun, as a member of the yakuza (Japanese organized crime) who "develops a conscience, of all things."

In fact, it was Shun who was the focus of a lengthy clip from the series that debuted during the panel. As the remaining members of the ship's manifest struggle to find out what happened, Shun and Lana set off to search for other survivors — triggering a flashback to the tragic incident that may have sent Shun out into space. 

Watkins promised that several of the other characters will have their back stories filled in the same way, but neither she nor the members of the cast were ready to discuss the sinister-looking black substance that also found its way into the clip. "It's space goo," was all that Watkins would offer.

One horrific moment had Lana and Shun coming across a still-living member of the crew who is clearly not well — his body begins to twist and distort into agonizing new positions while his eyes nearly pop out of his head. "That's not CG," said Christopher about the grisly scene. "That's a real contortionist doing that."

Watkins also spoke about populating her interstellar vessel with a diverse crew. "It's about a global colonization project," she said. "Which makes it so much richer (with a diverse cast)."

Whatever Origin turns out to be, the show is definitely tapping into the same sci-fi/horror hybrid territory mined so extensively in the past by films like Alien, Anderson's Event HorizonPrometheus, and others. The visuals, from what we could see, look striking and elaborate, and now it's a question of whether Watkins, Anderson, and the cast can put an interesting new spin on this type of material.

The new 10-episode series is set to launch all at once via YouTube Premium on Nov. 14.

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of NYCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.