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Why NOS4A2 author Joe Hill thought the show needed to diverge from the books

By Justin Carter
NOS4A2 Season 2

If you're a fan of Joe Hill's horror book NOS4A2 and notice the AMC adaptation diverging in some respects, don't worry, Hill thinks it's all part of the plan. In fact, he finds it more exciting than its predecessor. 

During NOS4A2's Comic-Con@Home panel featuring Hill, showrunner Jami O'Brien, and star Zachary Quinto (Charlie Manx), the author said he felt like the show's veering choices are sorely needed. As was the case with HBO's Game of Thrones, not only does it keep readers of the book from getting too comfy, it allows the show to explore its own ideas,  "like a horror movie Rashomon." In the panel discussion below, Hill brought up the example of the second season's fifth episode. 

Giving context was key during the development of Season 2. Providing such context to Charlie's backstory before he became a child-abducting vampire was something Quinto was grateful for. In displaying his childhood traumas and abandonments over the years, plus his relationship with his wife, the actor finds it a good thing.

"He didn't start out that way," Quinto defended. "He had some unfortunate circumstances that befell him over the years."

Similarly, the choice to do more with Jonathan Langdon's Lou was a no brainer. "He's just a good-hearted dad," O'Brien said, pointing out that if Lou wasn't a good dad to Wayne, Manx would've stolen him in the season's third episode.  

Some of the changes from book to screen came courtesy of the collaboration between Hill and O'Brien, such as exploring Charlie's daughter, Millie Manx. Though she shows up towards the end of the book and is in the comic miniseries Wraith, the show allowed them to flesh out her character, particularly following Charlie's death at the end of Season 1. His death gives her room to think beyond Christmasland, O'Brien explained, and her internal struggle has led to her questioning her choice to being such a daddy's girl. 

Still, for as many changes or additions as there've been to the show, there are still sequences from the book that have made it into the series perfectly, such as the sequence where Charlie finally takes Wayne in the fifth episode. Quinto thought filming that moment from the books would be miserable, but now he considers it one of the most fun episodes of the season to shoot. O'Brien admitted to thinking the scene would have to be cut, but a call thankfully never came. And in Hill's words, the final two episodes of the season will have sequences that he's wanted to see since learning his book would be adapted.

"As bad as things seem, they can always get worse," Hill teased for future episodes. If that doesn't get you excited, then maybe you are cold-blooded.

NOS4A2 premieres Sunday nights on AMC and BBC America. 

Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2020.