After nearly two years of production, Amazon Prime Video has finally pulled back the curtain on “Citadel,” the wildly ambitious new spy series starring Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, with the first trailer released Monday.
The show is meant to serve as the mothership for several planned spin-offs based in local countries and performed in local languages: “Citadel” series set in Italy and India are already underway, with another Mexico-based show also in the works. It’s a gigantic and expensive bet on an original concept that had remained, up until this month, shrouded in mystery. As Variety previously reported, “Citadel” boasts a $185 million budget.
As executive producers Joe and Anthony Russo explained in a press conference in late February, “Citadel” originated from Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke, who approached the Russos and their independent studio AGBO about producing a global spy show. AGBO originally partnered with Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, of the screenwriting collective Midnight Radio, to produce the series. But Appelbaum and Nemec exited the show at the end of 2021 well into production, and David Weil (“Hunters”) took the reins as the new showrunner, which included overseeing extensive reshoots in 2022.
The result is a six-episode first season that premieres on Prime Video on April 28 with the first two episodes. (A new episode will debut every Friday.) Madden and Chopra Jonas play Mason Kane and Nadia Sinh, respectively; they’re former members of the independent spy agency Citadel, which was brought down by a crime syndicate called Manticore. Eight years later, Mason and Nadia have no memory of their time at Citadel and lead anonymous lives as totally different people — until their old colleague Bernard (Stanley Tucci) recruits them once more.
“The new personalities come in conflict with their old personalities,” Joe Russo said of Madden and Chopra Jonas’ characters during the press event. “That was the idea that I think most excited us, because I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that before, where you have multiple characters dealing with a crisis of personality and a crisis of conscience.”
The trailer includes flashbacks of Mason and Nadia’s time at Citadel, including an encounter on a train that results in an explosion. (That crucial plot point led to Amazon’s decision to delay the originally scheduled March 1 release of the trailer, due to a devastating train crash in Greece that has reportedly killed at least 57 people.)
Madden and Chopra Jonas said the show’s varying time frames mirrors both the experience of watching the show and the experience of making it.
“The show is completely non-linear,” Chopra Jonas said. “We had to remind each other of the story. It was like a big jigsaw to remember.”
Added Madden: “Sometimes, you’re like, ‘What character am I now? What do I know? What do I not know?’”
As the trailer makes clear, Madden and Chopra Jonas went through the gamut of on screen spycraft, from glamorous locations and fashion to hardcore action set pieces.
“The mission here was to was to bring large scale spy storytelling to Amazon,” Joe Russo said.
The experience of making the first season definitely made its mark — quite literally.
“Well, I have a scar on my eyebrow — that’s courtesy of ‘Citadel,’” Chopra Jonas said with a laugh. “I don’t even cover it anymore!”
Watch the trailer below.
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