Everything We Know

Everything We Know About Citadel

Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas are elite spies reactivated to save the world in an ambitious, global-spanning franchise run from producers Anthony and Joe Russo.

by | March 6, 2023 | Comments

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This week, Amazon Studios began to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding its upcoming sci-fi espionage series Citadel. Developed by Captain America and Avengers directors Joe and Anthony Russo, it aims to be more than just a spy series with action, amnesia, emotional turmoil, and a global stage; it seeks to make that stage a very key component of the series and its international spinoff programs. But as the trailer released Monday indicates, it all begins in a rather intimate way — or, at least, with as much intimacy as one can muster while being shot at by enemy agents.

Despite the trailer, the mission objectives are still on the far horizon, so let’s take a look at the intelligence gathered about Citadel thus far.

What’s Citadel About?

Richard Madden in Citadel

(Photo by Prime Video)

Citadel was an independent intelligence agency owing fealty to no country on Earth and dedicated to the safety and security of all people everywhere. Eight years before the series begins, it was destroyed by a powerful syndicate known as Manticore (and a traitorous agent, as the trailer reveals). At the time of Citadel’s collapse, two agents received mindwipes and developed new cover identities, seemingly safe from any further Manticore activities. But when one of those former operatives, Mason Kane (Richard Madden), runs into an old associate from Citadel, he agrees to help stop Manticore from achieving its aim to control the globe. To succeed, he will also need to reactivate another Citadel operative: Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas).

The pair must then scour the world to stop the syndicate, all the while piecing together who they used to be as Citadel agents and contending with what Amazon Studios says is “a relationship built on secrets, lies, and a dangerous-yet-undying love.”

Where Does Citadel Take Place?

Richard Madden as Mason Kane, Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Nadia Sinh

(Photo by Prime Video)

The program has its share of high-tech toys and scenic vistas. Production went to places like Atlanta, London, Morocco, and Spain to capture the scope of a secret spy war, according to a recent Vanity Fair article about the show. Miami is also on the itinerary, Joe Russo revealed at a press conference supporting the trailer premiere.

“Part of the fun is the globe-trotting aspect,” he added. “You’re going to travel to every corner of the world, [and] Valencia is exciting.”

The vistas, of course, offer a picturesque backdrop to the program’s action scenes, which the producer claimed will rival “cinematic explorations” of action set pieces.

Madden added, “Often, we see shows that are 80 percent drama and 20 percent action or vice versa, and we aim to be 100 percent both.”

Anthony Russo thinks the international aspect of the series is a key part of its appeal as it capitalizes on two trends: interconnected fictional universes (more on that later) and travelogues.

And as for the technology, he teased it is “very forward-thinking” with an exploration into “sophisticated tools and systems” that allow the Citadel operatives to do things conventional people cannot.

Who Stars in Citadel?

Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Citadel

(Photo by Prime Video)

Series’ co-leads Madden and Chopra Jonas star as Kane and Sinh, with the production working hard — the Russos made clear in Vanity Fair — to ensure they maintained equal footing and a competitive edge throughout the season.

Sinh is cold and steely, while Kane evokes a James Bond air, but also faces the reality of his more timid cover identity, Kyle Conroy, who has no memories of Kane or his spy life. As showrunner David Weil explained, the Conroy persona is “living with a wife and daughter” and is hapless thanks to the mindwipe — at least until he is reactivated.

“They are the same man, but each version allows different aspects [to appear],” Madden explained. “One carries scars and trauma. The other doesn’t.”

And while the trailer and press materials rely more heavily on Sinh’s slicker spy persona, Chopra Jonas said the character “carries a lot baggage, and she has to navigate thick waters.”

“She has to stay centered because of the burdens she carries,” she continued. “Every choice is laden by so much pressure.” Nevertheless, her spy persona is a “badass” who comes from “a place of trusting her body.”

The pair have a history, as suggested in the trailer, that will be explored throughout the season.

Joe Russo praised the two actors during the press conference, because they “play multiple versions of themselves.” The task is a tightrope because the “old personalities come into conflict with their new personalities; multiple characters dealing with a crisis of personality” inside one body.

Anthony Russo added that the roles feature “the highest degree of difficulty” at both the physical and emotional levels.

Stanley Tucci in Citadel

(Photo by Prime Video)

Amazon Studios provided the following character descriptions:

Richard Madden is “Mason Kane,” a highly skilled Tier-One agent for Citadel. After the fall of Citadel at the hands of Manticore, Kane narrowly escapes by having his memory wiped. When a trusted colleague from his past resurfaces with news of Manticore’s new deadly plot, Mason sets off to find his former partner, Nadia Sinh, to stop the nefarious spy agency.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas plays “Nadia Sinh,” an elite spy for Citadel, who is also a part of the Tier-One program alongside her former partner Mason Kane. When Kane reconnects with Sinh eight years after the fall of Citadel, the two spies embark on a mission that takes them around the world in an effort to stop Manticore.

Stanley Tucci (pictured above) plays “Bernard Orlick,” Citadel’s tech genius, who has developed systems and new technology to ensure the organization’s supremacy worldwide and to take down terrorist organizations and nefarious state governments. Later in his life, Orlick grew close to Kane, forming a father/son bond with the younger spy.

Lesley Manville (pictured below) plays “Dahlia Archer,” the British Ambassador to the United States, whose loyalties may lie elsewhere. She’s highly cunning and ambitious, making her both a valuable asset and a formidable foe.

The program also features Osy Ikhile as Carter Spence, Ashleigh Cummings as Abby Conroy, Roland Møller as both Anders Silje and Davik Silje, and Caoilinn Springall as Hendrix Conroy, among others not yet announced.

Lesley Manville in Citadel

(Photo by Prime Video)

Tucci’s Orlick is the old Citadel colleague who reaches out for Kane/Conroy’s aid, while Manville’s Archer is the acknowledged villain of the piece — although her aims form part of the mystery Sinh and Kane must unravel.

Of course, the descriptions of the two characters are just things we know about them right now. “Duality is part of every character,” Chopra Jonas warned. “Don’t believe everything you see.”

“Spies traffic in lies and murder and deception,” Joe Russo added. “[The cast] has to encapsulate characters who traffic in those things, but also characters who have zero connection to that world and connections to their current lives. It’s a difficult idea for actors to play.”

“We all wear masks in our lives,” Weil said.  “To see characters who embody that is always exciting.”

Who Is Producing Citadel?

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

(Photo by Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Weil serves as showrunner with Anthony and Joe Russo (pictured above) are on board as executive producers, as are Mike Larocca, Angela Russo-Otstot, Scott Nemes, Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Newton Thomas Sigel and Patrick Moran.

Citadel’s ambitions reach further than a single Amazon streaming series with Weil and Russos crafting a world bible for more locally crafted spinoffs to be produced in international territories. Italian and Indian Citadel programs are already in the works. The former stars Matilda De Angelis and has already wrapped production. The latter, currently filming, stars Varun Dhawan and Samantha Ruth Prabhu and will connect more directly into Chopra Jonas’ Sinh.

“Everyone we invite into this has a key position in the show,” Joe Russo explained. “We could not have done that with a theatrical release.”

Interconnectivity across regions is an integral part of the concept; an idea first floated to the Russos by Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke when the idea was first proposed. For the two Avengers veterans, building story on that scale was part of the challenge.

As Joe Russo told Vanity Fair, “Anthony and I have reached a point in our careers where the ambition is the compelling part of the approach for us … We’re looking for new ways to tell stories.”

How the various Citadel spin-offs will actually tie together remains to be seen, but Chopra Jonas said the “cross-pollination of cultures is so exciting to me.”

When Does Citadel Premiere?

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Citadel

(Photo by Prime Video)

The six-episode first season of Citadel debuts with two episodes on April 28. New episodes will premiere every Friday through May 26.

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