‘The Changeling’ (2023) Plot, Story, Cast, Release Date & Where To Stream

Fantasy fans, pay attention! AppleTV’s new series The Changeling, labeled as a “fairytale for adults,” stars incredible actors like LaKeith Stanfield and Clark Backo, along with many other talented performers. Based on Victor LaValle’s novel, the fantasy drama series promises to give you a taste of the horror genre in its own unique way. So, what do we know about this series so far, apart from the genres it falls into? The series is not to be confused with some other films with the same title. This is a completely unique experience. A tale about parenthood infused with a sense of mystery and fantasy Creator Kelly Marcel has focused on producing a genre-defining series with cultural commentary weaved into its structure.


Story And Plot

From the trailer, we can surmise that the story revolves around a couple, Apollo and Emma. They meet in modern-day New York, and after a lot of rejection, Apollo succeeds and starts to date Emma. Somewhere along the line, they end up getting married and having a baby. Emma had a trip to Brazil, which seems to be her native place. Something absurd happened, and after she had her baby with Apollo, she disappeared, leaving poor Apollo to look for her. Nothing remained the same. There is talk of ‘portals’ that the characters will go through. Now, whether these portals are real or metaphorical will be revealed only when the episodes come out. But in all likelihood, some kind of fantasy world will be introduced.

Fantasy films and series always have this capacity to be filled with mystery and violence, which in turn gives them a capacity for horror. Some fairytales are sweet, telling us about the right and wrongs of life through a very low-stakes adventure. The Changeling seems to be a merger of horror and fantasy with just the right amount of psychological drama weaved in. As it’s a ‘fable about parenthood,’ the struggles of parenting a child will surely be one of its major themes. Apart from that, the individual struggles of dealing with a traumatic past and an equally disturbing upbringing can also be explored.


The African-American perspective would also be an interesting part of the series, as the couple would represent their own ideologies and perspectives about the world as people of color. There is a lot that the characters ‘don’t see,’ as mentioned in the trailer. It may be talking about us, the audience, who are totally unaware of this particular point of view, and it may be fully explored in the series. Being based on a novel, the approach might be to tell the story in a non-linear way, focusing on the characters’ backstories and subplots, which might be given more importance as compared to a film. We are already intrigued, so let’s see what The Changeling has to offer us.

Cast And Characters

As stated, there are two primary characters: Apollo and Emma. They are played by Academy Award Nominee LaKeith Stanfield and Clark Backo, respectively. They are both solid performers, although Stanfield has a wealth of performing experience behind him and has been excellent in recent years. It would be a challenge for him to make a foray into the fantasy world, especially one that’s taken on the task of being an extremely intense emotional drama about parenthood. Stanfield has proven himself to be an excellent performer in films like Sorry to Bother You and the series Atlanta. As for Backo, she was seen in the acclaimed series The Handmaid’s Tale and has been doing steady work ever since.


Apollo and Emma end up getting married and having a baby together, so the challenges of parenthood will be the first thing that they have to face. The setting is 2010’s New York, but due to the talk of portals, the characters’ portrayal might not stay true to current-day New York. It might be an impression of a completely different reality, which might dictate how the characters behave.

Apart from Apollo and Emma, there are many other characters, like Apollo’s mother, Lillian Kagwa, played by Alexis Louder, and Emma’s sister, Kim Valentine, played by Amirah Vann. Their role in the story is not known yet, but it’s safe to say that they will have a considerable impact on the plot. There was also an old lady who tied a red string to Emma’s wrist, which was cut by Apollo himself. What she wanted in the story and how her introduction impacted the plot are two of the most exciting things about the series. It is she and some other characters that create the aura of the horror-fantasy genre that the makers are trying to evoke. Performers like Jared Abrahamson, Malcolm Barrett, Adina Porter, and Christine Spang are also present in the series. Such an overload of talent surely makes me excited to see what each of them brings to the table.


When And Where To Watch

Produced by Megan Ellison, David Knoller, and Andrew G. Munro, and The Changeling will be released on AppleTV+ on September 8, 2023. The anticipation is huge, and it is expected to receive rave reviews considering the novel material and the eclectic bunch of performers in the cast. Hopefully, it will be as well received as the novel it’s based on. Victor LaValle, the author of the novel, will be heard as the narrator in the series, and fans will get to hear what the author sounds like.

Final Thoughts

The Changeling is promising to be a one-of-a-kind show. Although there have been many television series and films, especially by makers like Guillermo Del Toro, that play with the ideas of fantasy and horror, to see a full-fledged eight-episode series about a ‘fairytale for adults’, which is also a ‘fable of parenthood, would be very interesting. It’s just the first season, and if this one does well, the story might get extended for another season. There are many directors involved in the project who surely must have brought their own sense of visual style, and how they tell this twisted tale involving parenting troubles and alternate realities is really the thing that could make or break the series. The writing obviously has a guiding light in LaValle’s novel, and the casting looks great. The series is well set to enthrall audiences, and it just might prove to be one of the best AppleTV+ streams this year.

Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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