4400, the reboot of the cult-favorite series The 4400, has officially hit The CW and is sure to gain the same type of following…perhaps even greater. The pilot episode, which aired Monday, gave a solid introduction to the series, which pretty much follows the premise of the original — with the big change for this series being the primarily Black lens with mostly Black characters.
The Detroit-set series stars Brittany Adebumola as Shanice, Joseph David-Jones as Jharrel, Ireon Roach as Keisha, TL Thompson as Andre, Jaye Ladymore as Claudette, Derrick A. King as Rev. Johnson, Khailah Johnson as Ladonna, Cory Jeacoma as Logan, AMARR as Hayden and Autumn Best as Mildred.
As depicted in the pilot, over the course of 100 years, 4400 people who were “who were overlooked, undervalued, or otherwise marginalized, vanished without a trace” vanished before showing back up. The government is trying to figure out what happened, while those who just returned are realizing what happened while they were gone and how they’re now different…literally and physically.
Ahead of the series premiere, Shadow and Act spoke with Adebumola about the events of the first episode and what’s soon to come in the show. She plays Shanice, a “lawyer and resilient young mother from the early aughts, whose unexpected reunion with her estranged husband and suddenly-teenaged daughter is immediately rocky.”
Breaking down Shanice in the pilot, which focuses on her backstory, the actress told us, “Shanice as a character is just so fierce and bold and she’s really driven. She’s not afraid to take up space. It’s her first day back to work after being on maternity leave and she knows her boss isn’t too fond of her. And [when] she shows up, she’s planning on showing up to work in a bright red suit and I admire that so much. I want to do more of that in my own life. So I’m trying to have my life imitate the art that I’m creating in that way. And I think also the part of her storyline where she’s just trying to juggle being a career woman and being a new mom and dealing with postpartum depression really hit me because that’s just not a sort of story that I see very often.”
At the end of the episode, the audience is left with a lot of questions, and Adebumola teased some of the dynamics that will come into play between the “refugees.”
“You’ll definitely see her get closer to a couple of different characters,” she said. “As a group, they sort of band together to fight for their freedom [and] for their rights, but she gets sort of close to Andre, [as] he is also very much trying to be in service of the 4400 as much as he can much like Shanice, except Andre is a doctor. So he’s trying to make sure that they have the medical resources and are taken care of in the way that they should be physically, whereas Shanice is trying to make sure that their rights aren’t stepped all over and that the government is held accountable in that way.”
As for what makes the new series different, the actress said the biggest difference has to do with the way 4400 fleshes out the backstories of the characters before they disappeared.
“You’re going to get to see a lot more of the backstory of each of these characters and in each episode, we sort of go more in-depth into the lives that these characters left behind before they vanished,” she continued. “And it’s just really grounded in the relationships that these characters build with each other and that could be the show just by itself. That itself is really intriguing and interesting and thrilling.”
She also previewed things to come later in the season, including a much-teased heist.
“You can expect to see love triangles that you wouldn’t expect to,” she continued. “You can expect to see a heist…reading about the heist and the script is really exciting for me. So I’m excited for everybody else to see it. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that goes on, but at the end of the day, the show is really about these human beings trying to connect with each other and also find connection with these government agents and the society who just out of, I guess, fear and ignorance looks at them as aliens.”
4400 airs Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on The CW.
Trey Mangum contributed to this report.