Underground, Season 1, Episode 105 Photo Credit: /Sony Pictures Television

Aldis Hodge and Jurnee Smollett-Bell in “Underground” (Premieres March 9 on WGN)

*In March, actor Aldis Hodge premieres in WGN’s ambitious new series “Underground,” which follows a group of slaves who plot an escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad.

Hodge, last seen on the big screen as MC Ren in “Straight Outta Compton,” plays their brave leader Noah, who takes it upon himself to inspire and lead the group 600 miles north of their Georgia plantation.

At least that was the original plan.

Not only are slave catchers just waiting to make fast money by snatching up runaways, but Noah must also deal with the stress of knowing whom among his fellow slaves he can trust with the escape plan.

“Many times, mental slavery is the real cage. And when you look out into the wilderness and nothingness, the first thing you think of is defeat,” Hodge said during WGN’s portion of the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour Friday in Pasadena, Calif. “You think of all the things that can kill you. If it’s not the heat exhaustion, it’s gonna be the snakes, it’s gonna be the alligators, it’s gonna be the slave catchers.

Actor Aldis Hodge speaks onstage during the WGN America Winter 2016 TCA Press Tour for "Underground" at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 8, 2016 in Pasadena, California.

Actor Aldis Hodge speaks onstage during the WGN America Winter 2016 TCA Press Tour for “Underground” at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 8, 2016 in Pasadena, California.

“If you run and you succeed, they’re gonna come back and make your family pay for it. So the fact that these people found the power within themselves to actually do it surprised me the most.”

Below, Hodge asks himself if he would have the courage to run away like his character Noah:

“Underground,” also starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Amirah Vann, Christopher Meloni, Alano Miller, Jessica de Gouw, Marc Blucas, Adina Porter and Mykelti Williamson, premieres March 9 on WGN.

Watch the trailers below: