James Franco stars in "11.22.63"Hulu

President John F. Kennedy's assassination had a profound affect on American history, plunging a nation into mourning and spurring conspiracy theories that continue until today.

But what if it had never happened?

RELATED: 'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee' will be a feminist, not feminine, show

Avoiding the shooting at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on a Friday afternoon in November 1963 is the subject of Stephen King's best-selling book, "11.22.63," which has been made into a miniseriespremiering Feb. 15 on Hulu. The project, executive produced by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams, examines thequestion of how different America would be had Kennedy avoided an early death.


"The Kennedy assassination is a specter over this country that is a constantly argued, divisive conspiracy theorist obsession. It feels like it is as unanswered now as ever," Abrams says.

The story follows Jake Epping (James Franco), a recently divorced schoolteacher from the present day, whose friend Al Templeton discovers a time-travel portal to 1960.

A frail Templeton tells Epping to go back in time to prevent the assassination of Kennedy in hopes of ensuring his vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, would not ascend to the top office and escalate U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

"You save Kennedy's life, you make a better world," Templeton says.

RELATED:10 Super Bowl commercials you need to see

Epping time-travels to Dallas in 1960, where he follows key people and events in an effort to stop the assassination.

The eight-episode series from one of America's most popular authors is the most ambitious effort yet from Hulu, which has so far struggled to get the critical and audience recognition enjoyed by Netflix and Amazon for its original programming.

Abrams, fresh off the directorial success of "The Force Awakens," said the show touches on the nostalgia of the 1960s when both men and women were immaculately dressed and meals cost just a few cents.

Beyond the politics of the era, the series also showcases the darker side of American society, such as racial segregation.

"That idea of where we have been and where we are in race relations, I think in a lot of ways, it's heartbreaking and unfortunate that it's still an issue and how little progress in many ways has been made," he said.

RELATED: Megan Mullally plays 'a psycho with a heart of gold' in 'You, Me and the Apocalypse'

While dealing with the past, producers hope the show resonates with audiences today because "history is reflective," executive producer Bridget Carpenter said.

"This is piece of history, a historical truth and historical scar on our country, and it is not something that we shy away from," she said.

—Piya Sinha-Roy

Most Popular From ...