The Passage ended its first season with an action-packed two-part finale that rocketed the show into the future.
Season 1 was all about the buildup to the apocalypse, which began in Episode 9, "Stay in the Light," when the nearly unkillable vampiric former humans called "virals" escaped from Project NOAH, and continued through Episode 10, "Last Lesson," as America was overrun by the vampire pandemic. Then, in the final moments of the season, we jumped forward in time to the post-apocalyptic future, with Amy (Saniyya Sidney) — still looking the same age nearly a hundred years later — arriving at the gates of a desert fortress that's one of the last strongholds of humankind.
Along the way, we lost Dr. Nichole Sykes (Caroline Chikezie), saw Clark Richards (Vincent Piazza) become Shauna Babcock's (Brianne Howey) resentful eternal lover/servant, watched Dr. Jonas Lear (Henry Ian Cusick) try to redeem himself for creating this plague by attempting to recreate the cure from memory, and saw the family of Amy, Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), and Lila Kyle (Emmanuelle Chriqui) break apart. As Lila set out for the CDC in Atlanta, Amy saved Brad with the last dose of vaccine after he was bitten — killing some humans in the process — and then fled, heading out into the world alone.
The Passage has not officially been picked up for Season 2, but creator Liz Heldens is proceeding as if it will. She talked to TV Guide about the process of making Season 1, which went through extensive reimagining and pilot reshoots, as well as her plans for Season 2. She revealed some fun behind-the-scenes tidbits, like the fact that the writers call the psychic scenes "mindscapes" — "When we started the Season, I was like, 'Well, since the virals can't talk, we gotta find a way for them to talk to each other,'" she said. "So we came up with this idea: There'd be mindscapes where they could be their human selves." Heldens also dropped some hints about who survives the 100-year time jump. Read on for the conversation.
I know in the original vision for the show up through the first pilot, there was going to be stuff in the future as well as the Project NOAH story that actually turned into Season 1. Was your plan for the season always going to end at this point?
Liz Heldens: Yeah. We had originally thought we would tell the story in two timelines, and when we shot it and looked at it, it just felt really sprawling, and it was hard to sort of get attached to characters in the pilot. So we decided to consolidate, and make this season all about the run-ups to the viral breakout, and kind of have the season be about the good intentions and the bad decisions that lead to the end of the world as we know it. And so, then we have this 10-episode order, so we thought we could make a pretty tight, action-packed season.
But it was always building to this time jump, where we see Amy in the future.
Heldens: Yeah, it was always building to the time jump. It was a little scary, to jump into the future like that, but I feel like it worked out great. And just seeing [Amy/Saniyya Sidney], from the little girl that we started working with in 2017, to now, when she's standing on that ridge with that bow and arrow in her hands, she looks so fierce, and so grown up. And so much has happened to her, it took my breath away. Saniyya continues to amaze me. There is nothing that we have thrown at her that she can't do. She's so honest and in the moment, and her performance never feels false, or cute. I just think she's great.
I imagine it was frustrating at the time, to have to go back and do so much over. But do you think the show is stronger for having done it now?
Heldens: I think so. Since Project NOAH was going to be a place that we were gonna live for longer, we put a lot of resources into making that great. I think we're investing in characters who are going to survive the time jump, which is a different thing than the book. We are letting some characters go on, and you saw the last episode, you saw why. And so, I think to invest in everybody in that way is really cool, before you send them out into future and scatter them into the wind.
My personal favorite story is Richards and Babcock. And I think that's a story completely created for the show, right?
Heldens: Oh, yeah. Babcock was a man in the books. But when I looked at how to tackle this adaptation, I just wanted it to feel a little more inclusive at Project NOAH, because there's just all dudes there. And I also thought it was really interesting to put some women on the bench of the bad guys, and to make some of the virals women.
And then we cast Brianne Howey, who I just adore. I just think she's the best. She's so great. And she did so much with that part. I'm so happy with that piece of casting. And the two of them are really funny together. They just ... I mean, not funny. They're sexy and there's a lot of heat, but when they fight, it's really entertaining. I mean, at least to me. So I can't wait to tell the next chapter of that. 100 years in the future, what's happened to them? Have they broken up a bunch of times and come back together? So I think that's a really deep story well for us.
I know you haven't officially been picked up yet, but obviously you have a plan. Can you talk a little bit about who will be back for Season 2, or is it too early to say?
Heldens: Well, I don't want to spoil it, but Wolgast, and Lear, and Lila all got the inoculation, some version of it. And so the door is open for them all to survive. And then, about the rest of the cast, I'm not sure. We'll see.
But I mean, a character like Grey, Jason Fuchs — you know, the guy who opened the door and ruined the world? — in the book, he is Fanning's (Jamie McShane) familiar. He is kind of Fanning's guy, and he does go into the future. So there's a lot of possibilities. And I thought he was the person who did so much with that part. I thought he was really great.
Yeah, he was great. And it was very pointed that he did not die. So, yeah. Maybe we'll see him again. And so Season 2 would follow the second part of the first novel, right?
Heldens: Yeah. Season 2, we're gonna get to the colony, you saw that at the end. And it's time to meet Peter, and Alicia, and Michael, and Sara, who are big favorites of book fans. So we'll meet those characters, and then it will be about kind of bringing people back together. You know, letting Amy and Wolgast maybe find one another again. It's going to be about people finding one another, and unlikely allies coming together to beat a common enemy.
So do you have an idea for how long the show goes?
Heldens: Have you seen these books? They're huge!
Right, right. This season was only like 200 pages or something, right?
Heldens: Yeah. I mean, we built upon what was there. We expanded on the 200 pages that's devoted to Project NOAH, and kinda dug out, spent some time with more characters than Justin Cronin was able to do. We got in the point of view of the virals, which Justin Cronin did not have the opportunity to do in the books.
But there is a ton of material in these books, and it's all really rich and action-packed. And I think what's so nice about Season 2 is, the whole tables have been turned. It used to be there were 300 million people in the United States and 12 virals, and when we catch up with them, it's really reversed. Human beings are almost extinct, and we're fighting for our lives now. You know? I mean, it's their world now, not ours, and so I think Season 2 is gonna be really action-packed... I mean, there's a lot of more big vampire action coming.
The Passage Season 1 is available to stream on Hulu.