Based on the graphic novel series by the same name, Snowpiercer will follow a group of survivors on a train, left forever circling the globe, seven years after the world plummeted into an ice age. During the panel, viewers were treated to a first look at the trailer, which can be seen below.
In the press conference, it was revealed that the series will be another iteration of the Snowpiercer saga, although it will largely be based on the graphic novels, not the film. When questioned as to whether the series will follow the film in any way, creator and showrunner Graeme Manson stated that, while he wanted to keep relentless pace of film and the “simmering sense of injustice,” he also wanted to delve deeper into the stories of other characters on the train.
All classes will be presented as equal concerning their humanity and relatability. Manson added that while the movie presented the other classes of train car passengers as “almost flat,” the series will flesh them out into relatable characters.
“We really are striving for internal lives for these characters. There are no villains on this train,” he added, stating that they worked on creating complex characters that were relatable “shades of grey,” full of guilt and the struggle for survival. “We needed to tell the story of all classes at the same time,” Manson explained. “Our heart might be with the tail, but we are telling stories that we can relate to, to characters that we are not saying, you know, we’re not saying the first class people are evil,” they just have different concerns and fears from the end of the train, or the “tail.”
He went on to say that “the physical aspect of the film, in terms of the physical action, the fighting, the adventure, we really kept that, but we chilled. The show has time. Some of my favorite scenes are just between two characters, especially later in the season when we really got to know them.
Regarding the appearance of cows in the first look footage shown at Comic Con, Manson claimed that the train was “an ark of sorts,” and that the team had done extensive research on closed ecosystems.
Manson also revealed not much will be shown regarding flashbacks of the characters’ lives prior to their train experience. However, some revelations will be made through Lena Hall’s character, Ms. Audrey, who is the madam of the night car. Ms. Audrey has unique empathic abilities that she uses in order to help train passengers through their grief. Manson stated that in this way, viewers will glean an understanding of the characters’ backstories, albeit in a “more ethereal quality” than through a flashback, which Manson admitted he disliked.
Another departure from the film will be that children will be featured less prominently in the series, although there will still be great stakes as to having children and who is allowed to reproduce.
Concerning the political aspects of the show, with each train car featuring a different class of people, Daveed Diggs, who plays Andre Layton, commented: “if you’re dealing with class, I think there is a responsibility to look at ourselves in a different way.”
Jennifer Connelly’s character, Melanie Cavill, who will be featured prominently in the series, claimed her character’s heart is in the right place, although through somewhat distorted means. “To survive… they find themselves doing things they never felt possible,” stated Connelly. “She kind of has her back up against the wall and she does what she can.” Connelly described her character as a hostess of sorts, mediating relations and communications between the cars, conveying “the wishes and desires of the passengers to the front of the train” and vice versa.
Manson concluded the press conference by answering whether the series would be a prequel to the film or a retelling of the graphic novels. Manson replied that the series stands alone from both the graphic novels and the film, quoting from the preface of one of the graphic novels: “There are as many stories to tell on Snowpiercer as there are trains to circle the earth,” adding, “I like that, that sounds like a franchise.”
Produced by Tomorrow Studios and CJ Entertainment, the production company of the original film, Snowpiercer is set to premiere on TBS in Spring 2020.