CW’s 4400 is a sci-fi look at modern issues
People often praise science fiction works for being “made for our times” when they feature futuristic dystopias or heavily-altered presents that elevate a collective anxiety about global or national issues. Although the CW’s 4400A reboot 4400, which ran for 4 seasons in the mid-2000s) isn’t a show about the current Covid-19 pandemic, there’s a plan to address it in the story, which focuses on lost souls displaced out of time.
Sunil Nayar and Ariana Jackson are executive producers. Actors: Joseph David-Jones, TL Thompson (Dr. Andre), Autumn Best(Mildred), Brittany Adebumola (“Shanice”), Khailah John (Ladonna), Cory Jeacoma “Logan”, Ireon Roach [Keisha], Jaye Ladymore” (Claudette), Derrick A. King (Rev Johnson), Amarr Hayden (Hayden), and Brittany Adebumola (Shanice) visited the 2021 New York Comic Con virtually to discuss their characters.
The CBS Paramount Network Television Sci-fi, 2004 CBS Paramount Network Television was reimagined and rebooted by Scott Peters and Renee Echevarria. 4400More than 4,400 people disappear from various times periods without any trace. The disappearances are mysteriously forgotten and they miraculously return to Detroit in 2021. The time-displaced 4400 discover that they have “upgrades,” or special powers. In an unfamiliar era, they try to connect with others and find meaning.
The cast and crew are hush-hush about which specific powers — or not — their characters will have. Nayar complimented the cast for their performance, “The way that you are playing these characters isn’t that you’re suddenly superheroes. These characters have real consequences for humans. [the powers].” Then he seemed to hold back and said, “Well, those of you With powers. Those who don’t I can’t spoil.”
The 4400 are present and challenge the current day. Jharrel is a present-day Detroiter who advocates for those trying to live under the government’s rules. “I feel like I rarely get to see someone for the people navigating a system that’s not for the people,” David-Jones said. “But seeing someone navigate that also gives you the chance, and a different perspective on what that’s actually like. A lot of us do want to find ways and solutions for a lot of the issues that we have, but things get tied up in bureaucracy.”
Also from the present-day, Keisha is “like Jharrel, doing her best to hold it down in 2021,” Roach said. She added, “She’s a huge advocate for the 4400.”
Cory described his Logan as “a plebeian” living in 2021. He admires Logan’s commitment to empathy, but “it bites him on the chin once in a while. However, he is very sensitive to his chin. Me reading the script, I thought, this guy got a steel chin.”
Ladonna is one unwitting traveler from time, and she was only five years away from 2021. Johnson said that Ladonna’s “life is struggling with balance.” As a person in her 20s, Johnson relates to the struggles of Ladonna. “She heightens one part of herself to feel control.”
King portrays Rev Johnson. He is a man from the 90s who comes from a wealthy and powerful family. “He’s divided,” said King. “Then all of a sudden, he’s taken from that internal battle then put into another internal battle to be reacting to this new time and new era. He’s battling how he feels versus how he’s supposed to feel. By description, he emerges into a natural leader of the 4400.”
Travelers can go back to many centuries. Ladymore shared that Claudette, a preacher’s wife from the ‘50s, “has a fierceness and a fire within when she was in her own time. She has an intense loyalty to the people that she loves and cares about.”
Hayden was a 1930s chess master. Amarr said, “He really underestimated himself by far. He begins to realize more of the things he is capable of. He isn’t shy, he’s more reserved, thinks before he speaks. He’s operating on a different level than anybody else but he doesn’t know how to express it.” Hayden will face tribulation: “When something happens to his mom, he learns to fend for himself. His family isn’t necessarily the best and he’s institutionalized as a test subject.”
A majority of the cast is Black. Both the commercial and the premise hint at the diverse dynamic that will take place among Blacks from various periods. Thompson, who plays the character Andre from 1924, said, “I’ve never seen sci-fi with this much melanin.” They continued, “I’ve never seen sci-fi based on our current time. Sci-fi often involves worldbuilding. It is so beautiful that this is our world.”
Episode 1 of 4400On the CW, it will air its premiere on Oct. 25,