‘Station Eleven’ Release Date, Cast, and Everything Else You Need to Know About the New HBO Max Series

We’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, which either makes it the best time or the worst time to watch Station Eleven, HBO Max’s new post-apocalyptic series about people dealing with the fallout of a devastating flu pandemic. From the episode release schedule to the star-studded cast, here’s what you need to know about the new show. 

‘Station Eleven’ premieres Dec. 16  

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RELATED: ‘Station Eleven’: First Look at the HBO Max Series About a Fictional Flu Pandemic, Which Halted Production Amid the Pandemic

Station Eleven premieres Thursday, Dec. 16 on HBO Max. The first three of 10 episodes will be available to stream that day, with additional episodes releasing Thursdays through Jan. 13. 

The limited series is based on the acclaimed 2014 book of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel. It tells the interconnected stories of the survivors of a global pandemic and their attempts to rebuild after the disaster.  

The title refers to a graphic novel, titled Station Eleven, that is one of pandemic survivor’s prized possessions. 

The ‘Station Eleven’ cast includes Mackenzie Davis and Gael Garcìa Bernal 

Gael Garcia Bernal in profile in 'Station Eleven'
‘Station Eleven’ | Sandy Morris/HBO Max

A teaser for the show opens in Chicago. Jeevan (Himesh Patel) helps a young child actor named Kirsten (Matilda Lawler) find her way home after actor Arther Leander (Gael Garcìa Bernal) collapses during a performance of King Lear

Soon, it becomes clear that a pandemic has broken out and society is falling apart. Twenty years later, we see Kirsten again. She’s now an adult, played by Mackenzie Davis, who is roaming the Midwest with a group called the Traveling Symphony. Their motto: “Because survival is insufficient.”

In the trailer, the Symphony members receive an invitation to visit the Museum of Civilization. They also receive a warning about a mysterious (and possibly threatening) figure called the Prophet (Daniel Zovatto). Lori Petty plays the leader of the Traveling Symphony.      

Other Station Eleven cast members include David Wilmot, Philippine Velge, Nabhaan Rizwan, and Danielle Deadwyler. Patrick Somerville is the showrunner and writer and Atlanta’s Hiro Murai directs two of the episodes. 

What are the differences between the book and the movie? 

Himesh Patel and Matilda Lawler standing at a counter in 'Station Eleven'
Parrish Lewis/HBO Max

Fans of Mandel’s book will notice a few differences in the HBO Max adaptation. Somerville talked about some of the changes they made during a Television Critics Association panel (via SyFy Wire). 

To start, the circumstances surrounding Kirsten and Jeevan’s meeting at the start of the pandemic are not quite the same. That’s partly because Somerville wanted to spend more time exploring Jeevan’s characters. 

“It always felt like in the novel there was room for more Jeevan and to lean more into why it was special between those two people on the day the world ended,” he said. 

The TV adaptation also approaches the Prophet’s cult in a slightly different manner. (The prophet’s real name is Tyler.)  

“Tyler seemed to me to be an opportunity for a complicated, real story of another person who’s been making it through the pandemic, who is not a monster, but complicated,” Somerville said. “So our cult is quite different, and the way it all comes together is quite different, but the spirit of that book, to me, was always about what’s gentle and human inside of us before and after, and how do we get back to the people that we love?”

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