The First Sean Penn Hulu
Sean Penn stars in the new Hulu series The First. Photo by Hulu

While House of Cards soldiers on with a new president over at Netflix, show creator Beau Willimon has cooked up something entirely different for Hulu with the somewhat futuristic new series, The First. Here's everything you need to know about the Willimon's latest.

 

What is The First about?

Sean Penn stars as Tom Hagerty, one of five astronauts chosen to be the first-ever human being to colonize the planet Mars. Not only has Hagerty been selected for the mission, but Laz Ingram (Natascha McElhone) and others in charge of the program want him to lead the expedition. The weight of this responsibility, which Hagerty is reluctant to accept, is almost too much to bear, especially since it would mean leaving behind his wife Diane (Melissa George) and their daughter Denise (Anna Jacoby-Heron).

 

The other four astronauts include Kayla Price (LisaGay Hamilton), Nick Fletcher (James Ransone), Sadie Hewitt (Hannah Ware) and Aiko Hakari (Keiko Agena). Instead of simply following Hagerty and their efforts to mount the mission to Mars, however, The First will focus more on what it means for these five individuals to possibly leave Earth behind for good. For like the Hagerty family before them, Willimon’s joint American-British production will follow the ins and outs of the astronauts’ home lives, and whether they survive the trip.

 

The First Sean Penn Hulu Cast release date trailer

 

The First cast

The rest of the near-futuristic series’ cast includes Rey Lucas, Brian Lee Franklin, Oded Fehr and many others, all of whom play various members of the astronauts’ families or the earthbound team that’s preparing for their departure.

To be fair, even without all the attention paid to the drama outside of the Mars colonization efforts, a show like The First would probably sound like yet another dose of science fiction or genre fare on television. Yet with Willimon’s success at adapting the original British House of Cards, and transforming it into a more dark and complex version of The West Wing, perhaps the series will do the same for more recent popcorn odysseys like Netflix’s Lost in Space.

After all, he and his team did manage to attract Sean Penn with a regular television role, something the film actor hasn’t had or pursued since the ‘70s. Our so-called era of “Peak TV” has performed casting feats like this on many occasions, but considering the ensemble that comprises The First, it seems Willimon has gone a step further.

The First release date

The First premieres Friday, September 14 on Hulu.

The First trailer