Historical Costume Movie/TV Trailers: Quarantine Edition


We’re always trying to track what historical costume movies and TV shows are coming up. I always feel like we’ve Just Posted one of these, and then I go check and it’s been months. So, yay, we get some new stuff! As always, you can keep an eye on what’s forthcoming on our Upcoming Movies page!  Editor’s note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, some theatrical releases are being rescheduled and some theater chains are temporarily closed, so please be patient as we update our Upcoming Movies page.

DEAR GOD HOW HAS IT BEEN FIVE MONTHS SINCE WE RAN ONE OF THESE WHEN WILL THEY LET US OUT pantpant* (Side note: Stay inside! Wear masks! We’re just ranting!)



The Secret Garden (Aug. 7)

Colin Firth stars in the Frances Hodgson Burnett story. Costumes by Michele Clapton.



Waiting for the Barbarians (Aug. 7)

“A Magistrate working in a distant outpost begins to question his loyalty to the empire.” With Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, and Robert Pattinson. Costumes by Carlo Poggioli.


Tesla (Aug. 21)

Biopic of Nikola Tesla as a young man in NYC. Costumes by Sofija Mesicek.


The Personal History of David Copperfield (Aug. 28)

Dickens adaptation with Tilda Swinton, Gwendoline Christie, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, and more. Costumes by Suzie Harman.


The King’s Man (September 18)

Ralph Fiennes in an Edwardian secret service/Marvel movie. Costumes by Michele Clapton.


No U.S. Release Date

A Suitable Boy (TBA 2020 on Netflix)

A six-part series about a university student coming of age in North India in 1951. Costumes by Arjun Bhasin.


The Book of Vision (TBA 2020)

“Eva, a mysterious doctor, is searching for an answer to her urgent dilemma, as she unravels the secrets of 18th-century physician Dr. Anmuth and his patients through studying his Book of Vision.”


De Gaulle (TBA 2020)

Paris, June 1940. The de Gaulle couple is confronted with the military and political collapse of France. Costumes by Sergio Ballo & Anaïs Romand.


The Last Vermeer (TBA 2020)

An artist is suspected of selling a valuable painting to the Nazis, but there is more to the story than meets the eye. Costumes by Guy Speranza.


The Luminaries (TBA 2020)

“Adventure mystery set in the midst of New Zealand’s 1860’s gold rush. Costumes by Edward K. Gibbon.


Mulan (TBA 2020)

A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action film based on Disney’s Mulan. Costumes by Bina Daigeler.


Radium Girls (TBA 2020)

“In the 1920s a group of factory workers advocate for safer work conditions after some of their colleagues become ill from radium exposure.” Costumes by Sylvia Grieser.


The Spanish Princess (TBA 2020 on Starz)

Season 2 shows Catherine of Aragon & Henry VIII married, happy, & ruling England. Costumes by Phoebe de Gaye.


The War of the Worlds (TBA 2020)

“In London during the Edwardian era, George and Amy’s attempt to start a life together is interrupted by a Martian invasion of Earth.” Costumes by Howard Burden.


Blithe Spirit (TBA 2021)

A spiritualist (Judi Dench) accidentally summons the spirit of a writer’s (Dan Stevens) deceased first wife. Based on the Noël Coward play.



Janelle Monáe stars in a thriller/horror film that appears to bridge the present day with pre-Civil War slavery. Costumes by Mary Zophres.


Casanova, Last Love

Aging Casanova goes to London, falls in love. Costumes by Pierre-Jean Larroque.



Season 4: an African American crime syndicate goes to war with the Italian mafia in Kansas City, Missouri during the 1950s. Costumes by J.R. Hawbaker.


Which of these films/TV shows are you most excited about?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

43 Responses

  1. susan l eiffert

    Excited about some of these, thanks for posting! However some look preposterous and The Secret Garden looks way overproduced. It’s such a charming story and doesn’t need a ginormous manor house, huge gardens and weird special effects and lighting! Loved the second one with Margaret O’Brien and Herbert Marshall.

    • Luanna

      The Secret Garden was a favorite book of mine growing up, and agreed. I’m personally a big fan of the 1993 version.

      (That said, it could just be a case of bad trailer?)

      • Eronn

        I adore the 1993 version. The Secret Garden was the first “real” chapter book I ever read and I saw the movie a year or two later. I thought it captured the spirit of the book.

    • Roxana

      Well it needs a ginormous manor and gardens but the Yorkshire moors aren’t noted for their mysterious ancient forests.

      I like the 1949 version too.

      • Frannie Germeshausen

        It’s my favorite book of all time, hands down, bar none, so I will watch. I think the Margaret O’Brien one is the truest to the book that I’ve seen. (I saw the musical version, and sobbed loudly through a lot of it. Fortunately, I was seated next to a nice couple from Sacramento who were touched by how much I was moved by the play). So, I will watch, but I will have my critical eye on it every second!

    • The Scrivener

      Yeah, the whole point of The Secret Garden is that when you are a very lonely and imaginative child, an overgrown Yorkshire walled garden really is the most magical place in the world.

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    Vive de Gaulle, Vive La France. And Last Vermeer. Also Secret Garden and Tesla.

  3. Brittaney B

    Ooh, I’m very excited about the remake of Blithe Spirit. I’m curious to see how they update it for modern audiences. The original is so cheeky.

  4. Nzie

    Definitely feeling the WWII vibes with the de Gaulle flick and The Last Vermeer, which looks kind of like what Monuments Men might’ve been if it had been more serious (it was fun but I think it didn’t hit the fun but also profound about culture goal it was trying for).

      • Frannie Germeshausen

        I looks kind of fun. And, there’s a fluff pup, my favorite kind.

        • Kim

          I saw DC a few weeks ago in the cinemas here in Australia! It was so delightful and I loved it! Very funny, interesting production and editing and fantastic acting by all. I highly recommend it. :)

  5. Shashwat

    “God save the Queen” before The Spanish Princess made me chuckle.Save from whom?P*G’s butchering of history?
    I don’t think Disney’s Mulan is strictly historical(there are way too many choices in the trailer alone which seem less like anachronisms and more like cReAtIvE_lIbErTy),even though it fares better than its animated couterpart in the cultural aspect.And Liu Yifei takes the take for being most similar to the character Disney Princess face wise,but I HATE the fact that they gave Mulan wavy hair.It just doesn’t look right for the period aesthetic,nor does it look similar to the sleek hair of animated Mulan(but even Lily Evans lacked “burnt orange”locks,Elle lacked Aurora’s bouncy blonde curls,Emma Watson lacked Belle’s widow peak and Naomi did not have the physically unattainable amount of hair as Jasmine).
    This year looks like it has very limited colour to offer.Anyways we can always rely on FF to serve snark as a side dish.

  6. Boxermom

    The green dress in that first photo reminds me of Scarlett’s “curtain dress” in GWTW. :)

  7. Lee Jones

    Will all of these movies be released on streaming? Because that seems like the best choice to me.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      A lot of them will be streaming (often video on-demand, so you have to pay). It’s hard to get specific info, sometimes until right before the date, & sometimes it changes. The pandemic is really screwing with the upcoming flicks.

  8. Charity

    So the pandemic didn’t even kill / delay the hellfire that is The Spanish Princess? DAMN, I CANNOT GET A BREAK THIS YEAR.

  9. mmcquown

    Fargo. Their stories are always quirky and give roles to actors that they might not get elsewhere.

  10. Sarah

    “Waiting for the Barbarians”–Rylance, Depp, Patinson, how can it go wrong? Looks great.

    Absolutely loved “the book “Suitable Boy”, please, please release it in the USA soon. Looks gorgeous.

    “Casanova”–probably the same old story that is in every French film–seething desire set against gorgeous scenery, clothed in fabulous clothing, taking place in the witty and elegant 18th century. But I can watch every movie like this a 1,000 times.

    “Secret Garden” looks overwrought and overdone. It doesn’t need to be done like that–a realistic approach works fine. Costumes look good, however.

    “Blithe Spirit” looks FABULOUS and has FABULOUS costumes!!


    • The Scrivener

      I’ve been watching A Suitable Boy. Haven’t read the book, so can’t comment on how true it is, but it is indeed gorgeous. I am giving some MASSIVE side-eye to the heroine running around small-town India circa 1951, wearing pants, though. (Not just a kameez and a kurti top, which is an early 2000s city fashion that she definitely also wears. No, Western-style trousers. NOPE.)

  11. Lmaris

    I cringed when I first heard they were going to squeeze “A Suitable Boy” into just 6 episodes. Unless they’re each 8 hours long they will have to cut at least 80% of the story.

  12. Eronn

    My other comment might have gotten caught in the spam filter as I linked a YouTube video, but fun fact – Colin Firth played a very bit part in a 1987 TV movie version of The Secret Garden. You can find his two-minute scene via google.

  13. Lily Lotus Rose

    I’ve been chomping at the bit to see Ralph Fiennes in The King’s Man forever. I also can’t wait to see The Last Vermeer (as well as Claes Bung’s contemporary-set film, The Burnt Orange Heresy). From what I’ve seen of The Last Vermeer, I’m wondering if it’s based somewhat on the life of the ballet dancer Serge Lifar.

    Until this post, I had never heard of The Luminaries, and that’s the newest one I’m excited about. I LOVE Eva Green, and I lament that her projects are not more widely seen in the states. I think she’s one of those talented international actors whose sensibilities guide her to projects that don’t (and never will) match up with American sensibilities.

  14. Nzie

    Back to say Mulan just got a release date–Sept. 4th I think, for $30 on Disney+ (some premium purchase option).

    • Melanie

      That’s based on the assumption that 2 or more people will be watching it at once, and technically you could watch it multiple times. I watched Emma back in February and split the cost with a couple of friends–it was wonderful.

  15. Lynne Connolly

    The Luminaries was incomprehensible. I struggled through it, but until the last half hour I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
    A Suitable Boy is just lovely. I’ve seen the first two episodes. I’m really enjoying it. And the clothes are beyond gorgeous. It has some big Hundi Cinema actors in it. The actress playing Lata is new, and she is fresh, and pretty and has that air of intelligent innocence.
    Why remake Blithe Spirit, when it was so perfect the first time? I can see the point of a stage play, but another movie? It’s like remaking Casablanca (please God, no!)
    Looking forward to David Copperfield.

  16. LisaS

    “Dickens adaptation with Tilda Swinton, Gwendoline Christie, etc etc etc….” not to mention Dev Patel as the title character…

  17. Nzie

    This trailer from A Call to Spy just came up in my YouTube recommendations–focused on female operatives for the SOE in WWII… hit the festivals last year, supposed to come out later this year (who knows how), and looks promising.

    • Heather Ripley

      Thanks Nzie for the trailer above… it looks good but a bit similar story to a book I read recently called “The Alice Network” based on true female spies but during WWI not 2. And with flash forwards to the 1950s. Now that would be an interesting film for someone to produce!

  18. LE

    My favorite secret garden has always been the vhs cut of the bbc version. After that trailer … I really don’t think that is about to change any time soon.

  19. Carolyn

    Looking forward to Radium Girls. The book was heartbreakingly good, felt so sorry for these women!

    • Frannie Germeshausen

      It’s such a fascinating and horribly sad story. In the trailer, they look way too healthy – I thought some of the cancers were disfiguring? Maybe they do that in the moving but not the trailer. I’ll seek this out for: story and 20s.

  20. RLB

    CANNOT WAIT for A Suitable Boy. Always wanted a sequel to that book. But it was not to be. Yay for the series!

  21. Stella

    So is ‘the Book of Vision’ the Outlander midquel about Geillis’ further adventures? :P