YouTube Originals ‘Origin’ plays on fears of space and starting over

Not much was known about YouTube Originals’ sci-fi space thriller Origin, other than the actors that had been cast in the roles. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, YouTube Premium did reveal a little bit more about the story.

Created by Mika Watkins, Origin follows a group of strangers, who are in search of a new beginning, stranded on a spacecraft bound for a distant planet. The passengers find themselves abandoned and must work together to survive, but quickly realize that one of them is not who they claim to be.

Watkins grew inspiration from her own fears of the unknown – space. She knew when she began writing the script, she wanted the story to be set in space.

“There is this expansive interstellar space that we really don’t know anything about,” said Watkins during Comic-Con press interviews. “It’s the fear of the unknown. Things that could exist that we don’t know about. Also, being trapped in the space you cannot escape from. There’s the fear that is within people and the fear within the universe.”

Anderson, known for the Resident Evil films, came on board to film several episodes and attributed it to Watkins’ writing.

“I read her script and read the idea for the show,” Anderson revealed. “I thought this was fantastic. Having done Event Horizon, I was the guy who always got offered the out of space movies. I never wanted to go back into outer space. It felt I’ve done it. I thought this was the opportunity to do something different.”

The film is set sometime in the near future and showcased a diverse group of people, including a futuristic look of Japan. Watkins, a woman of color herself, wanted it to reflect the people of Earth today.

“It was important that we got all walks of people from real life,” said Watkins. “We were very vigilant about making sure the character is speaking their language – the German character will speak German and so forth.” Anderson praised YouTube for making use of subtitles instead of having the characters speak English when it was not their native tongue.

French actress Nora Arnezeder fell in love with the script immediately when she read the role of Rey.

“The fact that each character will have their own story [is what drew me],” Arnezeder shared, “It was not just a pure science fiction show.”

British actor Fraser James, who previously worked with Anderson on Resident Evil, was a fan of Star Trek, so he knew he had to be a part of this.

“As an actor, you occasionally get lucky to work in an environment you truly love,” James said. “We get to work on a spaceship!”

As for their character roles in the series, the actors kept mum about their parts. Arnezeder did share some hints about her character, Rey. She shared Rey was from the south of France and has a complicated relationship with her father, which could be the reason she’s on the ship.

Natalia Tena, who plays Lana, was drawn by the strong female roles. Tena was so impressed with Watkins’ writing of the characters and the entire theme of the series.

“The theme I got from filming was ‘can people actually start again?,’ Tena revealed. “A lot of times, when personal things happen – I make big changes in my life where I moved somewhere or I’ve done something, but the actual problem is you. So, it’s like ‘can you be a new person?’ I don’t know.”

Origin stars Natalia Tena, Tom Felton, Sen Mitsuji, Nora Arnezeder, Fraser James, Phillipp Christopher, Madalyn Horcher, and Siobhán Cullen. It premieres this fall on YouTube Premium.

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