SDCC 2019: Amazon Introduces Us To The Fantastical World Of Carnival Row

Credit: Amazon Prime Video

It’s time to travel to a whole new world of mystique and magic. Amazon’s Carnival Row did not only take over San Diego’s Gaslamp district with a spectacular activation, the cast and creators also joined audiences in Ballroom 20 to premiere exclusive content and offer an insight into the creation of the series.

The creator of the series, Travis Beacham was joined on stage by producer Marc Guggenheim, Orlando Bloom (Rycroft Philostrate), Cara Delevingne (Vignette Stonemoss), David Gyasi (Agreus) and Tamzin Merchant (Imogen Spurnrose).

Carnival Row invites us into a fantastical world of mythical immigrant creatures. The series, a mix of fantasy and crime/noir, will dip into mysterious crimes happening on the titular street, while exploring the deeper underlying tensions between the immigrant creatures and the humans. Beacham first wrote Carnival Row as a final project in film school over 15 years ago, and has since transformed the script from a movie to series.

At San Diego Comic Con the panel debuted two teasers, each introducing one of the leading characters of Carnival Row. They offer an insight into the history of the magical land, where humans and creatures lived in peace alongside each other for years, until the city and the minds of the people started to change. The teasers tell us more about the war that tore up the world, and caused creatures to now live in fear.

Delevingne’s Vignette, born a fairy, has experienced the cruelty and discrimination of the immigrant creatures first-hand, be it for sexual purposes or labor. “They don’t care if we live or die. They can blame us for their problems, strip us of our rights, lock us up if they like. But our land is gone. Carnival Row is our home now, where darkness lurks and I am the light.”

At the panel, Delevingne described her character Vignette as a “fighter for love”. “Nothing ever knocks her down, she’s a warrior”, she continued.

Bloom’s “Philo” is a very complex and empathetic character, so the actor. The character-centric teaser reveals that Philo is a human detective, born an orphan who went off to fight in the war where he met Vignette and fell in love with her. They were separated after the war, but seem to reunite once returned to Carnival Row.

Both leads are no newcomers to the fantasy genre, with Bloom’s claim to fame through the Lord of Rings trilogy, and Delevingne having previously entered the world of fantasy in Luc Besson’s Valerian.

The teasers look beautiful in scope, with details so intricate you might miss them if you blink. But a stunning set design and extraordinary costumes do not make up for the lack of chemistry evident in these teasers between Bloom and Delevingne. This is especially disappointing considering the show’s unique selling point seems to the be the forbidden romance between the two.

We shall wait and see whether the full series is able to deliver on that end, but we can’t wait to find out what secrets Carnival Row hides …

Carnival Row premiers on Amazon Prime Video on August 30.

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Verena Cote

4YE's lead events editor. london-based tv enthusiast with a passion (but not necessarily the budget) for traveling and exploring the world. prefers dogs to humans. current obsession: getting into the good place.
Verena Cote
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