“Everybody got God on their side in the war,” Joshua Caleb Johnson, who portrays the enslaved boy Onion, says in the trailer. “Trouble is, God ain’t telling nobody who he’s for.” The series is from the perspective of Onion, as he teams up with Brown for the Bleeding Kansas confrontation in 1856. He eventually helps fight the raid on the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry three years later, an event that was a catalyst for the Civil War.
“Whatever he believed, he believed,” Onion says of Brown. “Didn’t matter if it was true or not. The old man was nuttier than a squirrel turd.” Brown was the first person convicted of treason in the United States; he was hanged in 1859.
The Good Lord Bird was executive-produced by Hawke and Jason Blum and based on the 2013 novel by James McBride. It also features Hawke’s co-star from Boyhood, Ellar Coltrane, as well as his daughter, Maya Hawke.
Other cast members include Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs stars as Frederick Douglas, as well as Steve Zahn, David Morse, Wyatt Russell, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Beau Knapp, Nick Eversman, Jack Alcott and Mo Brings Plenty.