'A.D.: Beyond the Bible' Series Official Trailer, Cast, Release Date Revealed (Video)

( [email protected] ) Nov 27, 2014 08:13 PM EST

Actress Roma Downey and producer Mark Burnett have released the first trailer for the upcoming NBC series A.D.: Beyond the Bible on Thanksgiving Day.

The TV series, which is scheduled to air on Easter Sunday 2015, takes on a dramatic lens in interpreting events following the crucifixion of Jesus as depicted in the Bible. The trailer, which is now up on YouTube, looks at the lives of King Herod's family, various Roman politicians, temple priests, and Jesus' disciples and family in the aftermath of that event.

"The tomb has been opened and the Nazarene is now gone," an informant tells an official at the end of the clip.

According to the ShareADTheSeries.com, A.D. tells its story through the eyes of the Apostles, Pilate, Caiaphas, the Jewish Zealots and the Herod family. With the Book of Acts and Paul's letters as its foundation plus some artful use of history, A.D. shows why little has changed in two thousand years, but the church continues to change the world.

The sneak peek of A.D. also reveals Christ's return to His disciples. The mother of Jesus, Mary, also plays a major role in this series.

Pictured: (l-r) Babou Ceesay as John, Greta Scacchi as Mother Mary, Chipo Chung as Mary Magdalene

"These disciples, after Jesus dies and resurrects, the Holy Spirit comes upon them and there is only one way for them-that's spreading the good news of Jesus," Burnett explained to Forbes back in June. "What a drama."

Burnett then told Forbes that the show "could become NBC's biggest series in many, many years," adding that it could be on the same level with popular shows such as HBO's Game of Thrones and Netflix's House of Cards.

According to Downey in a video posted on the show's website, A.D. takes a look at the birth of the church. In fact, the events depicted in the series come from the first ten chapters in the Book of Acts, which explore the aftershock of Christ's death and its impact.

A.D. picks up the story where the 2013 History Channel miniseries The Bible left off, which ended with the crucifixion of Jesus. The success of both The Bible and film Son of God, which used footage from the miniseries and grossed $60 million domestically according to Forbes, convinced NBC to make a deal with the Hollywood power couple to create a show based on the lives and work of the apostles after the death of Jesus.

Pictured: Adam Levy as Peter (NBC)

For NBC's president of late-night and alternative programming, Paul Telegdy, the decision to sign on was a no-brainer.

"There are not a lot of books being read these days," Telegdy said. "But there is one that's being read and reread, and that's the Bible. Mark and Roma's relationship with that text as a television spectacle is intensely personal, and I believe them when they're talking about it."

Downey, who is best known for her role in Touched by an Angel, highlighted the diversity of the cast, which hails from over 10 different nations, in a statement.

"Christianity is among the most diverse movements in history, so when Mark and I looked to bring this epic story of A.D. to life on NBC, it was important to us to find a cast as diverse and beautiful as the church is around the world," she explained.

Downey added that she and Burnett "look forward to sharing these amazing performances with our audience, and in them we hope that people see themselves."

Like The Bible Series, A.D. comes with faith resources, including church kits & sermon series, viewer guide & study, that can be used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They can be found ShareADTheSeries.com, 

Christian leaders across the nation - Joel & Victoria Osteen, Bishop TD Jakes, Rick Warren, Francis Chan, Max Lucado, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Luis Palau, and many others - have endorsed the highly-anticipated release of A.D. 

A.D. will premiere on NBC Easter Sunday on April 5, 2015, and is scheduled to run until Father's Day, June 21, 2015. 

Tags : Roma Downey, Mark Burnett, A.D., A.D.: Beyond the Bible, NBC, Easter Sunday 2015, The Bible, Jesus, Biblical TV