AMC+ has released the first trailer for Anne Boleyn, the buzzy period drama that generated no small bit of controversy when it aired in the U.K. on Channel 5 earlier this year. Like many series before it, the show aimed to reexamine the final five months in the life of King Henry VIII's most infamous wife, but this particular version of the tale is quite a bit different from your standard Tudor fare.
For starters, Anne Boleyn aims to treat the infamous queen's final months before her execution in 1536 as a sort of psychological thriller. In it, Anne is tormented and gaslit over things she cannot control: Namely, her inability to produce the male heir she promised the husband who had essentially broken the world (at least as far as England was concerned) to marry her. And there's also the fact that the series cast a Black woman, actress Jodie Turner-Smith, in the role of the doomed queen.
This casting choice, as you probably have already guessed, generated no small bit of controversy across the pond, despite the fact that Turner-Smith's performance was frequently cited as a highlight of a series that otherwise garnered fairly mixed reviews. (We'll have to see how American audiences react next month.) For what it's worth, the trailer itself seems to lean fairly heavily into the idea of Anne as an early proto-feminist icon, with plenty of voiceovers encouraging her daughter - the future Elizabeth I - to reject limits on who or what she can become.
Watch for yourselves below.
The series' official synopsis reads as follows.
The drama shines a feminist light on the final months of Boleyn's life, re-imagining her struggle with Tudor England's patriarchal society, her desire to secure a future for her daughter, Elizabeth, and the brutal reality of her failure to provide Henry with a male heir.
Besides Turner-Smith in the titular role, the drama features a fairly impressive ensemble cast, including Mark Stanley (Sanditon) as Henry VIII, Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) as Anne's doomed brother, George Boleyn; Barry Ward (The Capture) as Thomas Cromwell; and Lola Petticrew (Bloodlands) as Henry's eventual third wife Jane Seymour. West End star Jamael Westman (Hamilton) plays Jane Seymour’s ambitious brother Edward (who eventually served as Lord Protector of England); Thalissa Teixeira (Ragdoll) as Anne’s confidante and cousin Madge Shelton; and Anna Brewster (Versailles) as Lady Jane Rochford, George Boleyn's wife and the woman who eventually served as a key witness against her sister-in-law.
The three-part series premieres December 9 on streaming platform AMC+, with the remaining episodes airing over the next two Thursdays. There's no word yet on whether we can expect to see the show eventually broadcast on the network's linear channel, but given that has happened for several formerly exclusive AMC+ Originals, including Gangs of London and A Discovery of Witches, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility here in future.