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The Passage pilot overhauled with new cast and director

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Feb 8, 2018, 5:35 PM EST

It's been a while since we last heard anything about the pilot based on Justin Cronin’s epic horror novel The Passage, but now there's news and it's not exactly inspiring.

When we last checked back in August 2017, a pilot had been shot for the series that the network, Fox, wasn't totally pleased with. Retooling was called for, and now we've gotten word from Deadline about just what that overhaul will entail.

While Mark-Paul Gosselaar remains the star of the series, three characters introduced in the pilot — Alicia Donadio, Peter Jaxon, and Sarah Fisher — have been eliminated completely and the actors playing them — Genesis Rodriguez, BJ Britt, and Jennifer Ferrin — are no longer involved.

A trio of new characters, named Dr. Tim Fanning, Dr. Major Nichole Sykes, and Dr. Lila Kyle, are coming onboard instead, although they have yet to be cast. Reshoots for the pilot have been set for March in Atlanta, this time with a different director: Jason Ensler, who was the executive producer and director of Fox's acclaimed but likely-to-be-canceled series The Exorcist (Marcos Siega helmed the original version of the pilot).

How these changes will affect the overall story and whether the pilot will deviate substantially from the book remains to be seen, but the revamped storylines were the result of a new series bible and script created by a writers' room that Fox commissioned to work on the project.

The show will still focus on a dangerous scientific experiment conducted in secret by the government involving a virus that can possibly prolong life. The main characters are a 10-year-old girl named Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney), chosen as a test subject for the experiment, and Brad Wolgast (Gosselaar), the FBI agent tasked with delivering her but who soon becomes her protector. Of course the experiment goes sideways, spelling potential doom for the human race.

If Fox likes what it sees once the pilot is redone, The Passage will still be in consideration for the latter part of the network's 2018 schedule. The good news is that Fox still believes enough in the concept to go to all this trouble; the bad news is that The Passage still might not end up working as a TV series.

To fans of the book (and its sequels) out there: Would you like to see the process go forward with the pilot or stop here?

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