'The First,' Hulu's upcoming drama series about a team of astronauts which becomes the first humans to visit Mars has been scheduled for a September 14 premiere in the United States. The series will star Academy Award-winner Sean Penn alongside Natasha McElhone, known for her roles in 'Ronin' and 'The Truman Show.'

Also featuring in supporting roles are LisaGay Hamilton (The Practice, House of Cards), Oded Fehr (The Mummy franchise, Resident Evil franchise), James Ransone (The Wire, Generation Kill), and Hannah Ware (Boss, Betrayal). Anna Jacoby-Heron has also been cast in a co-starring/recurring role.

According to an official description for the show, 'The First' will follow "the first human mission to Mars while exploring the challenges of taking the first steps toward interplanetary colonization. The story focuses not only on the astronauts, but also on their families and loved ones, as well as the ground team on Earth."

The series was sanctioned on an eye-watering budget of $54.6 million and creator Beau Willimon spoke highly of his next venture.

"It’s a story about the human spirit," he said, according to Deadline. "About our indomitable need to reach for unknown horizons. About people working toward the greatest pioneering achievement in human history."

He continued: "[The First] is about the cost of that vision, the danger, and sacrifice – emotional, psychological, and physical – that’s required to achieve it. How ordinary, imperfect people band together and overcome a myriad of obstacles to grasp the extraordinary."

There were reported delays in the production. The drama was set to finish pre-production and enter principal photography by September of last year, with the shoot scheduled to last 85 days, but the team was said to have been filming in New Orleans even in March 2018. 

This past June, Willimon had appeared at the annual ATX Television Festival to discuss the series and even debuted a 'first look' of the much-awaited show through a short teaser-trailer featuring narration from Penn. Fans will have to wait longer for a proper trailer, even though the release is now less than two months away, but some of the recently-released stills should provide an inkling of the things to come.

A co-production between Hulu and British television network Channel 4, 'The First' was written by Willimon, best known for creating and serving as a showrunner for Netflix's 'House of Cards' which has earned 33 Emmy nominations. Willimon will serve as executive producer alongside producing partner Jordan Tappis. Joe Incaprera serves as producer.

The series is owned and produced by Westward Productions, founded by Willimon and Tappis, and co-financed by Hulu, Channel 4 and IMG.