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Station Eleven - What We Know So Far

There's perhaps a strange comfort to be found in apocalyptic pandemic stories while living in the midst of a real pandemic. Over the course of the last year and a half, people have revisited the best and worst pandemic movies, seeing them in a new light. The newest entry to the post-apocalyptic pandemic genre is a lot less interested in the grim telling of the spread, and more into the aftermath, decades in the future.

The upcoming HBO Max series "Station Eleven" is based on a novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel, which was written well before the word "pandemic" described the current state of the world. Mandel's speculative story about a flu that took out nearly the entire planet's human population mostly takes place 20 years later, when everyone is living in a post-apocalyptic world with nothing but small bands of people. At the center of it is a traveling acting troupe, intent on doing more than just surviving.

The TV adaptation of "Station Eleven" is due soon, so here's everything we know about it.

When is the Station Eleven release date?

"Station Eleven" is set to premiere on HBO Max before the end of 2021, according to Collider, but there is no specific release date yet. Barring any altogether too ironic pandemic-related delays, "Station Eleven" should be released soon. In the meantime, the novel is already on shelves.

While the series has nearly suspicious timing, considering the world has its very own, very real global pandemic right now, "Station Eleven" has been in the works since before COVID-19 made pandemics a current affair. WarnerMedia announced the series in 2019, according to Collider, while the novel itself was first published in 2014. It has since sold over a million copies (via Vulture.)

Writer and executive producer Patrick Somerville, who's known for "Maniac," is the showrunner for the series. Among the series' directors are Hiro Murai ("Atlanta," "Childish Gambino: This Is America") and Jeremy Podeswa ("Game of Thrones"), who are also executive producing. According to Deadline, the miniseries will have 10 episodes.

Who is in the cast of Station Eleven?

Leading the series is Mackenzie Davis, who plays Kirsten, a member of a traveling Shakespeare troupe. Davis has previously starred as Yorkie from "San Junipero," the unequivocally best episode of "Black Mirror," and as Harper in 2020's "Happiest Season." Alongside her is Himesh Patel ("Yesterday"), who plays Jeevan, a former paparazzo who was training to be a paramedic.

Additionally, Danielle Deadwyler ("The Devil to Pay") plays the graphic novelist Miranda, David Wilmot ("Black Sails") plays post-apocalyptic museum curator Clark, Nabhaan Rizwan ("1917") plays Jeevan's brother Frank, Lori Petty ("Orange Is the New Black," "Tank Girl") plays The Conductor, and Daniel Zovatto ("Penny Dreadful: City of Angels") plays the Prophet. The cast list is extensive, also including the likes of Gael Garcia Bernal ("Mozart in the Jungle") and David Cross ("Arrested Development"), among others (via Collider).

"When we started this whole project, it was a complete fiction. Now, there are elements of the story that have become far closer to reality, but no one has changed anything, in order for it to feel more relevant," Patel said in an interview with Collider. "People who read the book will know that it's a story about how we hold onto the best things while we have to rebuild."

What is the plot of Station Eleven?

While at the grandest scope, "Station Eleven" is about the post-apocalyptic world 20 years after a pandemic destroyed nearly all of society, it's also about a little mystery, a cult, a long lost movie star, and a traveling Shakespeare troupe. The novel begins with the death of Hollywood actor-slash-theater-performer Arthur Leander, which is quickly subsumed by the large-scale catastrophe of the pandemic.

The characters at the center of "Station Eleven," however, haven't forgotten him even two decades later. Kirsten Raymonde (Mackenzie Davis) was just a young girl in the play Arthur died in while performing, but now she's grown up in a new world, and is still acting. "What I was really interested [in] writing about was what's the new culture and the new world that begins to emerge," author Emily St. John Mandel said to NPR. She centered on the acting troupe because they're a spark of hope.

In a review of the book for Masters Review, Kim Winternheimer wrote, "For a book about the world's collapse, 'Station Eleven' is remarkably quiet. Its interests seem more aligned with examining ideas of nostalgia, memory, and art than thrilling with knife fights (though there are those, too)." It's too early to say what creative choices the TV show will make that differ from the book, but audiences can expect it to follow the same premise. Perhaps the "Station Eleven" series will become a staple of the post-apocalyptic genre.