Syfy wants you to take a trip in time with 12 Monkeys.
On the network's new sci-fi series, which premieres Friday at 9/8c, a viral outbreak has decimated the majority of the earth's population. In the year 2043, scientists discover a way to send a survivor named Cole (Aaron Stanford) back to 2015 in order to stop the virus before it's released. With the aid of virologist Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), he must track down the mysterious Army of the 12 Monkeys and a mental patient named Jennifer (Emily Hampshire) who may be the key to help Cole's cause.
The series is inspired by the 1995 film of the same name that starred Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt as the mental patient. But there's no need to go back in time to watch the film (or find it online). "It's a chance to expand and explore the universe of 12 Monkeys on a much larger scale, a much more epic story," Stanford told reporters on a call. "The film 12 Monkeys was based on a short film called La Jetée by a filmmaker named Chris Marker in 1962, and it was basically the same plot line but... it was a small bite-sized chunk, and then 12 Monkeys took that and they expanded it. Now what we've done is the same thing."
Want to know more? Writers and producers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett (Nikita) answer TVGuide.com's 12 burning questions about 12 Monkeys:
1. Any there any homages to the original 12 Monkeys film?
Terry Matalas: There are several homages. Stay tuned.
2. But without Brad Pitt, why should I tune in?
Travis Fickett: Emily Hampshire specifically. If you miss Brad Pitt, you won't miss him anymore when you see Emily in this role. We change the role to a woman.
3. You worked with Aaron Stanford on Nikita, where he played the team's nerd, Birkhoff. Why was he the perfect guy to play a time traveler?
Fickett: You believe everything he does. He does not have a false note as an actor. We always knew that about him on Nikita. We used him as a crutch on that show because anything he said, no matter how ridiculous the exposition, you believed it. It helped us bridge that story.
Matalas: When we were on the show, we would fight to write the Birkhoff episodes because we wanted to put words in his mouth.
4. You worked with Amanda Schull on one episode of Nikita. What was it you liked about her that stuck with you?
Matalas: She had a great everygirl quality. You instantly related to her. She's like the all-American girl who would be fun to corrupt.
Fickett: In her episode of Nikita, she starts off a little like the protagonist, a CIA hero, and then she turned out to be a villain. She did that turn really well. We were always impressed by that.
Matalas: Amanda will be fun to watch throughout the season. She goes from a "do no harm" doctor to a "do anything it takes to save the world."
5. How difficult is it to follow the time travel?
Matalas: It's not at all confusing. It always makes emotional sense at the very least. We've tested the time travel pretty hard with die-hard time travel fans and novices, and everybody's on board.
6. How does the time travel work?
Fickett: There's a big machine that sends him back in time, and there's a process, something that goes on inside Cole that brings him back to the future.
7. That seems rather imprecise. Can he go to the wrong place and time?
Matalas: Viewers, like the characters on the show, will be learning the rules of time travel as it goes along. This is the first time that everyone has done time travel, and they're not good at it. They're not good at time travel.
8. Can you actually change history?
Fickett: Time can be changed. That's something that wasn't true in the movie. It is true in our series.
9. Will we ever see anyone get "erased" from time after history is changed?
Matalas: Stay tuned.
10. Will Cole ever see his younger self?
Matalas: Stay tuned. We do some of the La Jetee and original 12 Monkeys story but in a very different, but also tragic way.
11. What are the 12 Monkeys?
Matalas: They're a mysterious organization whose motivations will remain a mystery for some time.
Fickett: They're real, as opposed to a red herring created by Brad Pitt in the movie.
12. So wait, there aren't any actual monkeys? I like monkeys!
Fickett: No monkeys... oh wait, there are a few... of a sort.
Matalas: Emily Hampshire is our monkey.
12 Monkeys premieres Friday at 9/8c on Syfy.
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