12 Monkeys showrunner reveals the 'big question' behind the new Syfy series

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Jan 19, 2015, 12:20 PM EST (Updated)

The first season of Syfy’s new series 12 Monkeys started off with a bang, taking some major turns from what fans of Terry Gilliam’s movie might’ve expected. So what’s next?

Spoilers ahead for the debut of 12 Monkeys!

The Syfy (which is the corporate owner of Blastr -Ed.) series took several cues from the 1995 film that served as its inspiration, but by killing off apparent big bad Leland Goines (Zeljko Ivanek) in the opening hour, the writers have tossed in a twist that sets the season's arc off in a different direction.

Unlike that of the film, the Army of the 12 Monkeys in the series is definitely out to cause some trouble. This is not the fakeout activist group of yore. In the film, the group (which has nothing to do with the virus) is led by Leland’s son. As for film Leland? He was locked away in a cage for experimenting on animals.

Up to this point, it seemed they were taking the red herring and making it a real(?) herring, and setting up Leland as a major player within the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Heck, it’s his name in the warning message sent from the past that sets Cole (Aaron Stanford) on his entire time-travel mission to begin with. Plus, with Ivanek (The Event, Revolution) in the role, you’d think they’d have kept him around a while.

Showrunner Natalie Chaidez opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about their vision for the season, noting that the mystery surrounding the Army of the 12 Monkeys will be the big question that drives the entire series. It seems we’re in the opening salvo of a much bigger conspiracy, and Cole’s splintering through time has put him right in the thick of it:

“Who the 12 Monkeys are, what they are trying to accomplish, how they relate to time travel is the big question of the series. Unraveling that mystery is our series journey. Knowing where Cole fits in their plan is a big part of it … In the series, we have the time to explore what was around those dark corners that we couldn't peer around in the movie. We really get to dig into how people survive in the future and how they are living. 

We have a group of people called Scavengers. They are the people who have survived but not always with the best morality. They've done what they've had to do … Are there other evil forces at play? Are there other collaborators? Certainly, but the 12 Monkeys are definitely the mysterious force that Cole wrestles with and battles against over the course of the series.”

12 Monkeys airs Friday on Syfy. What did you think of the series?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)