'The First' trailer: Sean Penn joins humanity's first excursion to Mars in new Hulu thriller

Created by 'House of Cards' creator Beau Willimon, 'The First' follows the journey of the first humans to step foot on Mars

                            'The First' trailer: Sean Penn joins humanity's first excursion to Mars in new Hulu thriller

'The First,' Hulu's upcoming drama about a team of astronauts who become the first humans to visit Mars, is scheduled for a September 14 premiere. The first teaser trailer for the Sean Penn-starring thriller is out and shows the Academy Award-winning actor in a contemplative mood as a few brave souls prepare of an excursion into the unknown.

The trailer unfolds with a gorgeous still of Earth from space, the sun's resplendent rays casting a yellow hue over the oceans and the clouds and a shot of Aurora Borealis, with Penn's voice proclaiming: "At that altitude, you can touch it." The brainchild of 'House of Cards' creator Beau Willimon, the series has already been tipped to be a hot contender at the year's Emmy awards.

Sean Penn, Natascha McElhone, and Tom Hagerty in 'The First' (Source: IMDb)
Sean Penn, Natascha McElhone, and Tom Hagerty in 'The First' (Source: IMDb)

"I always think of [Carl] Sagan's words. Every human being that ever was lived out their lives on a mound of dust suspended in a sunbeam," Penn muses as we get our first glimpses into the bits and pieces that will make up the show's first season that will see Natasha McElhone (Ronin, The Truman Show) starring in a supporting role.

It closes out with an ominous message: "Any time people venture into the unknown, it comes with a cost." A combination of the music and imagery used gives one the creeping feeling that these astronauts have a surprise waiting for them as they make their way on to the red planet and the subsequent comparisons to Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' had a feeling of inevitability as well. 

An official description for the series reads: "Set in the near future (2030), this groundbreaking story explores the challenges of taking the first steps towards Mars. Viewers will get an intimate look at the dedicated characters trying to reach the unknown while dealing with the psychological and physical toll it takes to achieve the impossible."

Besides Penn and McElhone, 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) also feature prominently. Anna Jacoby-Heron has also been cast in a co-starring/recurring role.

Sanctioned on a budget of $54.6 million, Willimon spoke highly of his upcoming project to Deadline. "It’s a story about the human spirit," he said. 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."

Willimon Westward Productions' Jordan Tappis are executive producing. Westward owns and will produce the series, which is co-financed by Hulu, Channel 4, IMG and AG Studios. IMG will handle all international rights.

Watch the trailer for 'The First' below.