Within days of a transmission from another galaxy, mankind is hit by a devastating alian attack. Here's a quick guide to those fighting for their lives in this new vision of the classic H.G. Wells story, set in present-day Europe.
Bill Ward (Gabriel Byrne)
A Professor of Neuroscience, Bill’s unwavering dedication to the subject has taken a toll on his personal life. Divorced from his wife Helen and desperate to get her back, he sees the alien attack as a second chance to right the wrongs of his past no matter what it takes. But as their relationship blossoms, how long can Bill hide the choices he has made to get close to the woman he loves?
Helen Brown (Elizabeth McGovern)
Divorced from Bill after 25 years, Helen has remarried and moved on with her life. She seems to be happier, on the surface at least. But when the aliens attack, Helen is forced to reconsider what, and who, really matters to her. The answers to these questions will take her by surprise, proving that love is rarely simple, especially when looking death in the eye.
Dan Ward (Michael Marcus)
Assistant to the British Home Secretary, Dan is Bill and Helen’s son. Frustrated by his father’s cynicism, Dan has a more trusting outlook. He places confidence in governing institutions and the rules that uphold them. When the aliens attack, however, Dan must decide what is more important: loyalty or saving lives.
Catherine Durand (Léa Drucker)
A dedicated and focused astrophysicist, it is Catherine who first discovers the alien signal. It is a huge, well-earned break for her career. But when details about the aliens begin to emerge in the aftermath of the attack, Catherine is forced to confront some harsh truths about the role she had to play in what has come to be.
Colonel Mustafa Mokrani (Adel Bencherif)
A colonel working for NATO, Mokrani is at the end of his tether with the military and on his way out. But when the aliens attack and he is called into service, Mokrani finds himself tethered to exactly the situation he wanted to avoid: a bloody war, ridden with horror and loss. When Mokrani discovers a ray of light in the darkness it proves to be a double-edged sword. He is happier than he has been in years, and yet the more he invests, the more he risks losing.
Sarah Gresham (Natasha Little)
Sarah’s carefully constructed middle-class existence is torn apart by the attack, revealing flaws she has worked desperately hard to paper over. But in the wake of the attack, as her children (Emily and Tom) look to her for support, Sarah must rediscover an inner strength that years of buried guilt have obliterated.
Emily Gresham (Daisy Edgar-Jones)
Bright, confident and independent, 18-year-old Emily lost her sight to a genetic disorder when she was thirteen. But she refuses to be mollycoddled as a result. When the aliens attack, this bravery and open-mindedness sees Emily forge her own path. It becomes clear she has a vital role to play in this new world, as she notices the strange impact the attack has had on her. Unravelling what is happening to her and why should be the driving force of the series and keep us hooked to the very end.
Tom Gresham (Ty Tenant)
Tom is Emily’s younger brother. In the aftermath of the attack, he is frightened and missing his dad Jonathan. But then he makes an unlikely friend and unravelling the mystery of the attack becomes a welcome distraction.
Jonathan Gresham (Stephen Campbell Moore)
Loving father to Emily and Tom, Jonathan is abroad when the aliens attack. He fights desperately to make his way back to them in the aftermath. But he has been avoiding other problems at home and returning isn’t easy. It is his journey to England, and the people he meets along the way, that forces him to reckon with painful realities he has been avoiding for years.
Kariem Gat Wich Machar (Bayo Gbadamosi)
A refugee fleeing civil war in South Sudan, Kariem has seen the worst atrocities humanity has to offer. Unphased by the desolate carnage left in the wake of the attack, Kariem’s main concern is with staying alive, and he is used to doing it on his own. But then someone reminds him he doesn’t have to be alone.
Ash Daniel (Aaron Heffernan)
A hospital porter, Ash is kind and upbeat with a good sense of humour. Lightening the mood in the darkest moments, he puts on a good show of being ok. That is until the realities of life in the aftermath of the attack force him to confront what he has lost.
Chloe Dumont (Stéphane Caillard)
Having singlehandedly brought up her son Sacha from the age of fifteen, Chloe is used to doing things alone. But her strong and self-assured façade masks a dark and troubled past which, try as she might, she cannot escape.
Sacha Dumont (Mathieu Torloting)
Sacha has an unusually close bond with his mother, Chloe. But when he uncovers a devastating truth at the heart of their relationship, it threatens to pull them apart just when he needs her most. The aliens’ presence is affecting Sacha in strange and unique ways, and this solitary - and at times volatile - teenager is desperately ill-equipped to cope with it.
Noah Dumont (Guillaume Gioux)
Police officer and brother to Chloe, Noah and his sister haven’t seen each other in years. Noah is charming enough when he needs to be, but we sense something darker beneath the surface. As he attempts to forge a relationship with Chloe and Sacha, we come to understand what this dark truth might be.
See the Australian premiere of War Of The Worlds Season 2 on SBS and SBS On Demand from August 18. Episodes will be available at SBS On Demand each Wednesday, and also air on SBS at 9.30pm. Season 1 is streaming now at SBS On Demand. The series is also subtitled in Simplified Chinese and Arabic for SBS On Demand. Here's where it all began in season one: