‘The Man In The High Castle’ Reminds Us What We May Have Lost In An Alternate Reality [Video]

The Man in the High Castle

Warning: This article may contain spoilers for The Man in the High Castle.

The Man in the High Castle is an alternate reality tale from Philip K. Dick, the same writer to bring us the stories upon which the films Total Recall (1990), Minority Report (2002), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011) were all based. This new adaptation, The Man in the High Castle, might remind some science fiction fans more of an episode of Sliders than anything else with its dark and sometimes dismal what-if tale, but there seems to be no escaping this alternate world with or without the ease of slipping into an instant wormhole.

What’s The Man In The High Castle All About?

The Man in the High Castle flag

In The Man in the High Castle, World War II had a much different outcome with the Axis Powers overcoming the Allied forces and, as Nazi Germany and Japan had won the war as a unified force, the two countries divided up the North American continent. While the Hitler-led Nazi administration never held any interest in developing the atom bomb in our reality, The Man in the High Castle tells a different story with the Nazi forces using a nuclear weapon to destroy Washington D.C.

The Man in the High Castle tells the story of Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos), who’s life in Japanese-controlled San Francisco is uprooted, when she is handed a package and told to deliver the envelope, which contains film canisters, to the man in the high castle. As she arrives in the neutral territory of Nevada, Juliana teams up with Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), who reveals that he’s from Nazi-ruled New York, reports Newsweek.

The Man in High Castle also gives a look at Nazi-controlled America, using John Smith (Rufus Sewell) and his hunt for this man in the high castle as a way of introducing the East coast into the story and also to give the story better action sequences. Smith conspires with his Japanese counterpart, Chief Inspector Kido (Joel de la Fuente), in the hunt for the man in the high castle, but the men are also searching for the films carried by Juliana and Joe, which reveals yet another alternate version of history.

Contrary To What Philip K. Dick Thought, This Is The First Adaptation Of The Man In The High Castle

The Man in the High Castle

When Ridley Scott screened Blade Runner for Philip K. Dick, the author believed he was watching an adaptation of The Man in the High Castle.

“He said, ‘Have you read The Man in the High Castle?’ And I said I hadn’t,” Scott said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “He said, ‘Good lord, this seems to be very derived from High Castle.’ ”

Admittedly, the settings of both novels are similar, but The Man in the High Castle has always required a greater attention to detail than has previously been possible. Even now, the creative forces behind The Man in the High Castle have been nervous about adapting the novel for television with showrunner Frank Spotnitz, renowned for his work on The X-Files, feeling most of the pressure to do Dick’s book proper justice.

“I was afraid to touch it,” Spotnitz admits. “I was like, ‘I love this book, but it’s not a TV show. What am I going to do?’ ”

Fans of the book will quickly recognize the answer to that question as they watch The Man in the High Castle, because there can be no missing the characters that should be present in some scenes, while completely new characters appear conspicuously.

“We depart from the novel, but we only did it to try to be more faithful to the ideas, to try and find ways to dramatize them more clearly.”

Did it work? The answer will come as The Man in the High Castle makes its premiere on Friday, November 20, via Amazon Prime.

[Image via Amazon Prime]