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‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ Prequel Lands New Home On AMC

Photo Credit: MoviePics1001 / Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: MoviePics1001 / Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStillsDB

After announcing in 2021 that it would be developing a prequel series to the 1954 film adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Disney+ axed the project, citing cost-cutting measures. A few months after its cancellation, the series has found a new home at AMC, with it slated to premiere on the network’s streaming service in 2024.

Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas and Kirk Douglas as Conseil, Ned Land and Prof. Pierre Arronax in '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1954. (Photo Credit: emesvau / Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

The series was slated to star Shazad Latif as Captain Nemo, an Indian prince who escapes the custody of the East India Company and plots his revenge on his captors. While in the same world as Jules Verne‘s original story, Nautilus is an original story, written by James Dormer and directed by Michael Matthews. It spans 10 episodes, which were meant to premiere exclusively on Disney’s streaming service.

Along with Latif, it stars Ling Cooper Tang, Georgia Flood, Tyrone Ngatai, Andrew Shaw, Thierry Frémont, Céline Menville, Arlo Green, Pacharo Mzembe, Kayden Price and Ashan Kumar. The series was filmed in Australia in early 2022.

While 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is set in 1866, when Captain Nemo is already the head of Nautilus, a high-tech submarine, the prequel series was intended to offer fans a look at how he began his life exploring the depths of the ocean.

At the time Nautilus was announced, Johanna Devereaux, director of scripted original content for Disney+, said it was “a huge privilege to bring the Nautilus and her crew to life again in such a bold, exciting way, with a diverse team of creative talent and on-screen characters. The series will be breathtaking, action-packed and a huge amount of fun.”

James Mason, Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and Paul Lukas as Captain Nemo, Ned Land, Conseil and Prof. Pierre Arronax in '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1954. (Photo Credit: MMfan / Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

In February 2023, Disney announced it would be cutting $3 billion USD in non-sporting content spending across the company. Recently, CEO Bob Iger discussed pullbacks on new content for Disney+ – in particular, series related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and Star Wars and original films.

Along with Nautilus, the series adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles was also axed from the streaming platform. It, like the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea prequel, was already completed, with Disney+ working with both production teams to help them find new homes for the series. The former series has since found a new home on The Roku Channel.

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Nautilus is a big, sweeping drama that is sure to appeal to fans of our Anne Rice Immortal Universe and other buzzy and fan-forward series like Orphan Black: Echoes,” Ben Davis, executive vice president of original programming for AMC Network and AMC Studios, told Deadline. “We are looking forward to bringing it to AMC+ and AMC as a special television event next year.”

Aside from a 2024 premiere date, not much else has been revealed about Nautilus‘ release.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News