UNDERGROUNDIf you’ll be attending the 2015 Essence Festival in New Orleans, this week, here’s some news you might be interested in knowing…

The cast and creators of WGN America’s upcoming original series on the Underground Railroad, titled “Underground,” will unveil a first-look trailer at the series, as well as participate in a panel discussion about the show, at the 2015 Essence Festival in New Orleans.  

Series’ stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Jessica de Gouw and Alano Miller will join creators, writers and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski on the Center Stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Friday, July 3 from 12:45 pm to 1:15 pm in a "not-to-be-missed ‘Underground’ experience for  Essence Festival attendees," says the press release.

We also now know with certainty what character each actor cast in the series is playing: Jurnee Smollett-Bell stars as Rosalee, a shy house slave with a powerful inner strength and courage; Aldis Hodge plays Noah, a brave, driven and insanely clever field slave; Christopher Meloni is August Pullman, a mysterious figure who walks a tightrope between morality and survival; Jessica de Gouw is Elizabeth Hawkes, a socialite who shares her husband’s abolitionist ideals; Alano Miller plays Cato, a cunning, charismatic man despised and feared by his fellow slaves; Adina Porter plays Pearly Mae, a strong-willed wife and mother; Amirah Vann is Ernestine, a fiercely devoted mother and head house slave; Marc Blucas is John Hawkes, a lawyer whose ideals clash with the legislation he’s sworn to uphold; Mykelti Williamson plays Moses, a fiery preacher; Reed Diamond is Tom Macon, a plantation owner and political candidate; and finally Johnny Ray Gil as Sam, Rosalee’s brother and a talented carpenter.

Logline: "In ‘Underground,’ bravery, ingenuity and power take center stage as slaves band together in the fight of their lives for their families, their future…and their freedom."

The project hails from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, and is set for a 2016 premiere on WGN America.

“Underground” is created and written by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, who serve as Executive Producers alongside writer Akiva Goldsman of Weed Road Pictures, and Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold of Safehouse Pictures.  

Anthony Hemingway directs and serves as Executive Producer for the first four episodes. 

Follow the series @UndergroundWGN — #Underground2016

I’m sure the trailer will be released online after it premieres at the Essence Festival later this week.