It’s taken several years for the TV adaptation of Snowpiercer to reach the air. TBS finally showed the trailer at Comic-Con, so now we know what the show looks like. In a frozen future, the last human survivors are protected in a speeding train where all cars are not created equal. Daveed Diggs plays a father in the ghetto of the rear of the train, with Jennifer Connelly speaking for the 1% up front.
TBS, TNT and TruTV president and WarnerMedia Head of Content Kevin Reilly was at WarnerMedia’s party for the Television Critics Association. Reilly spoke with /Film about how faithful the show is to the movie, why the original pilot had to be redone, and what new surprises the show can reveal. Snowpiercer premieres in 2020.
It’s a Spaceship, Only Narrower
Bong Joon-ho’s movie dealt with the wealthy abusing the poor and explored the different worlds that could exist in a single car of a train. Reilly said the show treats the train as a spaceship, with all the various stories that can be told in a space show.
“Class warfare, the same kind of stories you would tell on a spaceship where people are thrown together in an adverse circumstance,” Reilly said. “There’s no aliens coming aboard but character drama in mini worlds within these cars and mini subcultures. Humanity plays out in a compressed way.”
The film certainly suggests a lot of potential in each car that could be explored further in a show. Maybe they’ll do a bottle episode with a whole hour taking place only in the aquarium car.
It’s Not as Faithful to the Movie as It Looks
The trailer for the show could be the trailer to the movie, just replacing Chris Evans with Diggs and Tilda Swinton with Connelly. Granted, the trailer only has a few minutes to explain the world of the show, which is based on the premise of the movie. Reilly said the show diverges from there.
“It’s faithful in the DNA ,but it doesn’t track the movie or the characters per se,” Reilly said. “It tracks the world. It’s inspired by [it].”
Faithfulness to the Movie Wasn’t the Issue With the Original Pilot
Scott Derrickson directed the original Snowpiercer pilot and Josh Friedman was set to be the showrunner. When TBS ordered reshoots, both left the show. If the trailer we see now indicates a rather faithful adaptation of Snowpiercer, was their version drastically different?
“It was,” Reilly said. “That was not the issue with it. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, you’re diverting from the movie.’ There was just a difference of creative opinion, if you will.”
Friedman in particular took to Twitter to complain about the compromises he was asked to make and why he was unwilling to do so.
“He’s not the easiest fellow,” Reilly said.
Since Reilly was so frank about his creative differences with the former showrunner, I want to be fair to him and explain that he said that with a good-natured smile. Reilly’s attitude was that these things happen and he was content to move on with show runner Graeme Mason, not to slam Friedman. Reilly even added, “He’s quite talented.”
There’s an Ongoing Mystery
One new element the trailer suggested is that the Snowpiercer is scheduled to ride for about six and a half years. The passengers are waiting for some event in the future. There was no such deadline in the movie, and Reilly said what that six year event is won’t be explained right away.
“That’s to be revealed,” Reilly teased.
Hopefully, it will be revealed sooner than what was in the hatch in Lost, and more satisfyingly.
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