Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Snowpiercer Showrunner Reveals How TV Show Will Be Different From the Movie

It's full-steam ahead for this new train ride

Amanda Bell

The stars of TNT's upcoming Snowpiercerseries converged on New York Comic-Con Saturday to discuss what's ahead on this crazy train ride of a show. Actors Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Lena Hall, Steven Ogg, and showrunner Graeme Manson all appeared at the event to usher in some new details about the series -- which, like the 2013 Bong Joon-ho film of the same name, is based upon the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige -- and discuss how they're going to make their show distinct from the environmental and social calamity story we've already seen.

"The film begins in the tail and it's just linear," Manson said of the difference between his take on Snowpiercer and the 2013 film, the tone and intensity of which still inspired the show. "We have that same sort of desire to get to the engine, but we bounce around the classes, and we're telling a really interesting drama, a class story ... It's about class. It's about immigration. It's about detention. It's about climate change. It's a beautiful existential tapestry we get to work with here." Instead of focusing just on the characters who are oppressed by the train's class barriers in the tail, it'll introduce perspectives from throughout the train, the extensive length of which gives rise to a lot of new faces.

"The train is 1,001 cars long -- it's 10 miles long. We have a map of the train. It goes all the way around the room. ... It's quite a monster, the train. It's a character in itself," he said. Connelly, whose character is the literal voice of the train, is one of the few characters who gets to explore the entire thing as she wishes, and the actress admitted to being "stupefied" by how much life was contained in such a small space.

The series will also diverge from the film by introducing a murder mystery which will draw Diggs' character Layton -- a homicide detective, pre-freeze -- out of the tail. "The murder mystery is a convenient and gruesome way into the heart of the story," Manson explained. Layton will use the opportunity to escape the tail to search for some key intel that might be able to help those left behind, but his perspective might change along the way as he experiences more and more of the train.

"His vision of revolution is way more complicated than he imagined it was," Diggs previewed of Layton's journey. "It has to do with the way this version of telling this story is set up, not being linear like [the film]. The train is a linear class structure, but the machinations of how power dynamics work are bouncing all over the place. When he comes out of the tail and actually gets to see the rest of the train ... he's piecing together information as he goes, and I think realizes that the machinations of power are much more complicated than getting to the front of the train."

One thing that won't change in the new version? Bug bars. The folks in the tail will still be getting their protein from insects in the series, so, yeah. Steel your stomachs for the sight of that again.

The Snowpiercer panel also debuted the series' opening artwork, an animated and live-action hybrid which showed the climate calamity that led to the freeze and how those who caused it tried to escape to the train -- but a few additional survivors managed to slip past the armed guards and got into the tail.

Snowpiercer will premiere on TNT in 2020.