Is Earth prepared for the War of the War of the Worlds?

Two very different interpretations of the classic H.G. Wells invasion novel will play out on screens in late 2019...

Oh, isn’t that just bloody typical. The chance of anything coming from Mars were a million-to-one, they said. .. then two come along at once.

Yes, in two very different ways, the Red Planet will be making its influence felt on television screens over the next few months. The BBC has formally released the trailer for its version of the famous science-fiction classic by H G Wells. This is the first version of the story for some time to stick with the late 1800s setting and the main beats of the original text – a ‘shooting star’ falling to Earth and the experiences of a man (un-named in the novel but called George in the BBC version)  as he witnesses some of the key events as the Martians rise in tripods from the craters left and seek to subdue mankind and the planet for its resources with their machines and ‘death-rays’. The BBC‘s mini-series features Rafe Spall as George, Eleanor Tomlinson as his beloved Mary, Robert Carlyle as the astronomer  Ogilvy, Rupert Graves as George’s elder brother Frederick and Harry Melling as the Artilleryman.  Though there isn’t a specific date for broadcast, several other territories have seemingly started noting their plans for a 2019 transmission and it seems it will be on British screens before X-mas.

The second story inspired by the title and themes is another version set in the modern era,also  boasting another impressive cast. The eight-part series, set in the UK an Europe,  is being co-produced by FOX and Urban Myths and looks to have a November broadcast in some regions. It features the likes of Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern, Lea Drucker, Natasha Little and Daisy Edgar Jones. It deals with the aftermath of receiving a signal from Mars that is quickly followed by a massive cosmic assault that leaves only pockets of humans left alive and fleeing for their lives.  A trailer has been released for the production, though not in the English territories as yet. For the moment, though, you can see the tone and effects in the trailer below from the Netherlands with English dialogue…

Previous versions of the invasion story have inspired the likes of the now infamous 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles which made thousands of Americans believe the faux-reportage of events was real, the acclaimed 1953 version with Gene Barry,  the 2005  Steven Spielberg / Tom Cruise feature of the same name, the 2012 animated steampunk War of the Worlds: Goliath  film (featuring the voices of Adrian Paul, Peter Wingfield, Elizabeth Gracen and Jim Byrnes and penned by Highlander series-runner David Abramowitz) which looked at how the first invasion would have influenced humanity and technology in the immediate years that followed and the preparations against a second invasion) and, of course, the timeless  famous musical / concept album by Jeff Wayne released in 1978 and still something of a favourite for many.